Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Doyle Stevick


School legitimacy is the approval of principal and teacher authority that derives from the school community's trust (Erickson, 1987). When clients--the various stakeholders, including parents and students--recognize their school as legitimate, they trust that those in authority will help their economic future, protect their personal identities, and look out for their best interest. The concept of school legitimacy is applied to four case studies that involve poor and minority students to examine its role in a school's success or failure. The dissertation seeks to examine the process for constructing school legitimacy through reviewing literature, case studies, and surveys. Surveys are modified and taken from Forsyth, Adams, and Hoy's book, Collective Trust. The surveys, given to parents, students, and teachers, will reveal the level of trust the groups have for each other and in the school. The surveys will also reveal how each group feels about the three essential elements of school legitimacy. The data from the literature review and the surveys will be used to examine the process for constructing school legitimacy.