An assessment of legal knowledge of preservice teachers completing accredited teacher education programs in South Florida

Norman Allen Labush, Florida International University

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to assess the legal knowledge of preservice teachers completing their educational training at accredited South Florida universities. The population consisted of 372 preservice kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers completing their educational training in any area of public school education.^ The researcher selected areas of school law to assess based on nationwide studies of litigation involving teachers and school boards, the areas most pertinent to the teachers' daily activities and responsibilities. A forty-item instrument was developed and administered to preservice teachers at six South Florida public and private universities. The areas of school law surveyed were tort liability, teachers' rights as instructors and employees, and students' rights. The research questions asked if preservice teachers possess a fundamental knowledge of school law in any of the identified areas and if a significant difference of legal knowledge existed when comparing preservice teachers by university and comparing preservice elementary and preservice secondary teachers. The criteria for a fundamental knowledge of school law was established as scoring 80% or above on the total survey or any area of school law.^ Conclusions. (1) On the overall survey, the preservice teachers did not exhibit a fundamental knowledge of school law. The mean score was 64.2%, with 11.6% of the respondents scoring at or above the 80% level. (2) The preservice teachers did not possess a fundamental knowledge of school law in any of the three areas of school law, though the survey revealed a difference in the preservice teachers' knowledge in the specific areas. The scores were tort liability, 71.9%; teachers' rights, 65%; and students' rights, 52.3%. (3) A significant difference did not exist between elementary and secondary preservice teachers' knowledge of school law. (4) A significant difference did not exist among the preservice teachers' knowledge of school law when compared by university.^ The study suggested a need for increased instruction in these areas of school law to preservice teachers prior to the beginning of their teaching careers. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Teacher Training

Recommended Citation

Norman Allen Labush, "An assessment of legal knowledge of preservice teachers completing accredited teacher education programs in South Florida" (January 1, 1993). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI9411460.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI9411460

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