Information Sources Influencing Tennessee Legislators’ Decision Making on School Choice Legislation

Thresia E Pilate, Tennessee State University


This study applied quantitative research methods by employing a descriptive research design to collect data from Members of the House of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly regarding their use and perceived importance of information sources to detect the existence of potential controversy or areas of disagreement within the member’s environment or among reference groups that might accelerate or obstruct legislative movement towards consensus for a bill’s passage or defeat. Information sources were classified as originating internal to the legislative environment, originating external to the legislative environment, or originating from the social environment. Twenty-five sources of information were identified and investigated utilizing Kingdon’s Consensus Mode of Decision Model as the study’s theoretical framework. Of the three sources of information rated by the legislators, the internal information sources proved to be most compatible with the legislators’ “field of forces”, as six of the seven sources had correlation values between .54 - .85 and all were statistically significant at α < 0.01. Relative to the external information sources, legislators uniformly rejected the majority of external sources as only one of the thirteen sources, “Communication with Constituents”, yielded a positive correlation coefficient of .929 that was statistically significant at α < 0.01. Lastly, the data concluded that of the social sources of information, legislators valued the importance and use of “Communication via Email” and “Networks for Parents with Special Need Children” as being most compatible with their “field of forces”. The legislation under review by this research investigation was the Amended Tennessee Charter School Act which passed the General Assembly in March 2019.

Subject Area

Educational administration|Education|Education Policy

Recommended Citation

Thresia E Pilate, "Information Sources Influencing Tennessee Legislators’ Decision Making on School Choice Legislation" (2020). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI28414501.