A Qualitative Vision of a Quantitative World: The Perceptions of Board Certified Behavior Analysts and Their Contributions to Texas Public Schools



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To evaluate student discipline in the state of Texas, leaders often rely on quantitative data, primarily the documentation of exclusionary consequences (Texas Education Agency, 2021). There are few professionals trained in the principles of behavior working in public education, therefore, an understanding of their perceptions and experiences could prove beneficial to the field (Syed, n.d.). To capture this narrative, a phenomenological study was conducted to gain insight from six behavior analysts employed in the Texas public school system. Data were synthesized into 10 themes; five themes described the culture of Texas public education including a culture of reactivity, a culture of burnout, a culture of ignorance, a culture of neediness, and a culture of limitations. Four additional themes captured the self-proclaimed identities of behavior analysts working in Texas public schools burnout, valueless, powerless, and hopefulness. The last theme covered behavior analysts’ experiences and challenges balancing multiple governing expectations. Viewing data through the lens of radical behaviorism helped to identify systemic concerns rooted in the reactive approach to behavior change still reflected in Texas public schools. The diffusion of innovation theory was used to better understand hurdles in innovation and barriers to momentum that currently impact the effectiveness and acceptance of behavior analytic practices in public education. Based on the data, recommendations for behavior analysts included consideration of employment in districts where their behavior analytic credentials were acknowledged and supported and where ethical and competent behavior analytic practices were iv promoted. In addition, behavior analysts were encouraged to bring awareness to the field of education by discussing their potential contributions to change socially relevant behaviors in K-12. Both district leaders and policy makers were encouraged to contribute to the dissemination of behavioral knowledge by hiring highly qualified staff, providing quality behavioral trainings, developing procedural and policy-based accountability protocols, and increasing fiscal support for behavioral staff, programs, and incentives.



Education, Administration, Psychology, Behavioral