Date of Award

December 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Education

First Advisor

Elise Frattura

Second Advisor

Razia Azen

Committee Members

Leigh Wallace, Aaron Schutz


Autonomy, Educational Leadership, National Center for Educational Statistics, Privilege


The purpose of this study was to evaluate work domains within the principalship to determine whether principals have greater perceived autonomy in some work domains versus others. In addition, this study identified the usefulness of several demographic factors as predictors for perceived autonomy in both curricular and budgetary decisions. To conduct these analyses, data from the 2015-16 National Center for Educational Statistics was used to complete a repeated measures t-test to compare the work domains the literature suggested principals have the most autonomy in as compared to the domains the literature suggested are areas of shared responsibility with district office. These data were then used to evaluate the demographic variable's value as predictors through a series of logistic regressions with both perceived autonomy in curriculum and school budget as outcome variables. Community type and region were found to be significant predictors for both curriculum and the school budget. Gender proved to be a significant predictor within the school budget and race was significant within curricular decision-making. Future research should continue to examine data from the NCES and other pertinent data sets to analyze the perceived professional autonomy of principals, who are the central decision-makers in the public school setting.