HEAD START AND ITS CONSULTANTS
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This study explored perceived agency/consultant differences, as reported by Head Start consultants, regarding the importance placed on eighteen specific consultative roles. Head Start's history with its consultants has been less than harmonious from its very beginning. Reviews of the literature show consultation to have demonstrated "positive change" in the majority of involvements. Success, however, has often been defined differently by consultants and consultees, and interventions to remediate this discordance in Head Start have failed. Difficulties cited by consultants to Head Start programs have included "racial undertones," "lack of professional structure," and the quality of the interpersonal atmosphere created by administrators. This exploratory study sought to examine which consultative roles showed the least consultee/consultant agreement as to importance, as perceived by consultants, and what consultant variables may effect those results.;The variables investigated were the consultants' professional discipline, sex, age, ethnicity, years of teaching experience, and years in title. The results were drawn from the responses of 45 consultants who responded to an eighteen-item questionnaire asking them to rate the importance of each role as perceived by themselves and by their agencies. Additional information was drawn from a demographic questionnaire and five forced-choice questions regarding such issues as who the consultant perceived as the consultee. The return rate of 41% of the consultants contacted represented 34 of the 63 Head Start programs operating in New York City at the time of this study.;The perceived differences in the importance attributed to specific roles were found to be statistically significant most often on the basis of the professional discipline, years of teaching experience, or ethnicity of the consultant. The roles perceived differently most often were "Attending Parent/Teacher Conferences," "General Classroom Observations," and "Consult with Administration About Program." The results are discussed in terms of how responses may have been better solicited from Head Start administrators and how differences may be anticipated and avoided.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 46-11, Section: A, page: 3318.