National Patterns of State Education Policy Innovation and Three Deviant Cases.Reportar como inadecuado

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An examination of education-reform efforts in 50 states for the period 1983-87 found widespread adoption of reforms that were designed to increase state authority over education policymaking. The few decentralizing efforts contrasted sharply with the near universality of the centralizing reforms. This paper presents findings of a study that examined three "deviant" cases of decentralization reforms that occurred in the mid-1980s: the creation of school-improvement councils in Massachusetts; the establishment of citizen oversight in South Carolina; and the enactment of school-choice legislation in Minnesota. Data were derived from personal interviews with the Governor or his education policy advisor, the chief state school officer or a key aide, state legislators, and lobbyists for education interest groups. Two additional rounds of followup interviews were conducted by telephone. A hypothesis was that the theory of political conflict expansion would help to explain the enactment of education reforms. Findings indicate that: (1) strong, committed political leadership from within the political system was central to each reform effort; (2) policy entrepreneurs were important players in all three states; (3) reforms were enacted within the context of a significant expansion of political conflict from the subsystem to the macrosystem arena; and (4) the influence of policy entrepreneurs was mediated by shifts in political power. It is concluded that political leaders inside the system were responsible for molding the political system to create policy innovations. Twenty-nine notes contain bibliographic data. (LMI)

Descriptors: Decentralization, Educational Change, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Lobbying, Policy Formation, Political Power, Politics of Education, School Based Management, School Choice, State Action, State Legislation

Autor: Feir, Robert E.


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