- This study was based on the assumption that urban
black students hold more positive attitudes and opinions
toward teachers, school, and education than urban white
students. The black students were from schools with a
high concentration of lower-to-middle-class students and
the white students were from schools with a high concentration
of middle-to-upper-middle-class students. Both
sets of students were from the metropolitan school district
of Portland, Oregon. The purpose of this study was to
compare differences in the educational attitudes and
opinions of these two groups of students.
In meeting this objective, it was first necessary
to construct an appropriate survey-instrument composed of
three separate scales of attitudes and opinions toward
(a) teachers, (b) school, and (c) education. The instrument
was comprised of thirty-three statements: eleven
items having to do with teachers, eighteen items having to
do with school, and four items having to do with education.
Based on Portland Public Schools' academic and demographic
data, eight schools were selected to participate in
the study. Four schools had a high concentration of black
students from lower-to-middle-class families and four
schools had a high concentration of white students from
middle-to-upper-middle-class families. A total of 213
eighth-grade students (100 black students and 113 white
students) completed the attitude and opinion questionnaire
during the week of April 21, 1975. Questionnaires were
scored, allowing one point for each positive response, and
no points for each negative or for no response.
Appropriate statistical tests were used: three Student's
"t" tests in testing differences of means between
the two groups were applied to total, teacher, and school
scores; and four Chi-Square tests in testing differences
between the two groups were applied to four items having to do with the concept of education. In all tests, the
.05 level of significance was used.
The findings of the statistical tests revealed that
these two racially- and socio-economically-different groups
of students held essentially the same attitudes and opinions
toward school and education. The tests, however,
revealed that "the white group" was more positive toward
teachers than "the black group," and that "the black group"
was slightly more positive toward the concept of education
than "the white group." Both sets of students responded
equally toward statements concerning school. The assumption
that "the black group" held more positive attitudes
and opinions toward the composite of the concepts of
teachers, school, and education was rejected.
Because these two sets of students were from different
racial and socio-economic backgrounds, the findings
that they both valued school and education positively and
almost equally is of importance. As pointed out by the
literature, social class is not a determining factor in
attitudes and opinions toward schooling. Based on this
study, at least for these two groups of students, it was
concluded that race does not influence attitudes toward
school and education.