Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Robert J. Hanny


The history of public education in the United States is replete with attempts to define the purpose, aims, or mission of K-12 public education at the local, state, and national levels. However, given the historical precedent of the local control of schools and the legal precedent of state-level governance of public education, this study sought to address the more limited question of the purpose of K-12 public education in the state of Virginia. Specifically, within the context of the contemporary educational planning theory of strategic planning, this study sought to determine what content characteristics concerning the mission of public education were shared among the school divisions in the state of Virginia. Through content analysis of division-level mission statements, the study identified not only the content but also the degrees at which such content was shared among division-level mission statements. The study further addressed the similarities and differences between the mission statements of school divisions and that of the state itself, a statement written by Thomas Jefferson some two hundred years ago. The findings illuminate the relative presence and absence of de facto consensus concerning the mission of K-12 public education in Virginia.



© The Author