Intro Policy Analysis
Next semester - 221 is
follow-up course to this with Linda Darling-Hammond.
This is more of a
"meta" course; 221 will focus more on policy in the classroom and the
4: Debate/problem framing: How we frame the problem often determines how we
focus expanded because of No Child Left Behind and increased involvement of the
Mike's degree is in political
economy. Worked on implementation of Title I. Google "Policy Analysis for
California Education" to see one of Mike's current projects.
Office hours: Appointments by email; Mondays and Tuesdays are best
for drop-in. 121 Cubberley.
School Reform Overview:
The most decentralized system
in the world…therefore extremely hard to do any centralized policy change from
federal or state level.
- Historical evolution of the System – 19th
- Formed by Protestant Social Movement 1820-1830,
ministers advocate publically funded public ed
i. Natural outgrowth of Protestant roots was private
Catholic system, formed in reaction.
- Built from Bottom Up – local property tax,
i. Now down to about 14,800 districts.
- Weak Federal/State role
i. Most countries' systems federally based & funded
ii. We are financed locally and controlled locally (school
iii. Education was a reserved power of the states in the
Constitution. States all (except HI) devolved education to district level.
iv. States all gave up control to district, but each
state's system is VERY different.
Q: What does
"Unified" mean for a school district?
A: K-12, not just elementary
- Creation of the One Best System 1900-1920
- Elimination of Ward-based Boards
- Expertise, Efficiency, De-politicize,
- The American School Board. When you're trying to change policy, the key
governing agency is the local school board.
- Charged by law with doing everything
- Make policy, approve textbooks
- Constituent service
- Approve expenditures, pay bills
- Judicial (expulsions, etc.)
- Oversee construction of buildings
Things the schools do other
- Art, Music
- Vocational Education
- Civics – transmitting a common civic culture
- Physical development
- Home economics
All these things are
cherished and nutured at the local level, and state focus on academics competes
with them for effort & priority. Local school boards have no powers not
granted by the states. States and feds use laws, regulations, and incentive
programs to try to change things at local level; successes are varied.
Teachers Unions, all these are new factors that change the school board setup
CA Education Department:
6.2 million pupils
1000 school districts (LEAs)
CDE has 1400 employees
- 70% of those are federally funded and administer
- 400 CDE employees deal with the state
- Federal Department of Ed has NO regional
education offices – they're in Washington, DC
Locals can exploit complexity
and confusion of policy to "wait it out until the next election."
Muddle along doing the minimum until the law changes
- Golden Era of School Superintendent 1920-1960
- No unions, closed system, local accountability
- 50% graduate, comprehensive high school
- Loss of Local control 1960-?
- Sputnik, Civil Rights
- 1965 Title I
- System opens to interest groups
- School Finance Reform
i. 1972 Serrano case – inequities in property tax funding
are illegal. Move from local financing to state.. CA controls 83% of the
ii. Now we have Williams – issue not of equity but of
- Teacher Unions
i. 96% of CA teachers belong to the teacher's union
ii. Teachers feel that union is last bastion of protection
against uninformed politicians trying to change policy; has LOTS of basis in
- Everyone and No One in charge
Alternative Education Reform Strategies
- 1900-1960 Local Control through Elected School
Boards and Professional educators and certified administrators.
- 1965-1980 Categorical programs for Special needs
pupils/Particular Purposes. Focus on inputs and services. (Curriculum
okay, special needs need more)
- 1980-1990 1980's "Nation At Risk" study
"Education is engulfed in a rising tide of mediocrity." US v
Japan. Panic, panic, panic. Intensification of existing system – More
time, required courses, teacher credentials (Basic curriculum poor)
- 1990- System Standards-Based Alignment, Test-driven,
Higher order skills, "Measurement-driven instruction". Change
the CORE to strong academics.
- 1995 – Markets, Vouchers, Choice, charters –
dabbling with alternatives.
These are not either/or, they
What is Policy Analysis?
- Solving problems in education
- Identifying questions
- Identifying roots of the issues
- Identifying areas affected by policies
- Examining/projecting effects of policies
Policy is bringing together
the resources of government – money and authority – into the service of
political objectives and by those resources influence the behavior of
institutions, organizations, and individuals.
Policy is an officially
accepted statement of objectives tied to a set of activities that are intended
to realize the objectives in a particular jurisdiction.
Substantive Policy Analysis
is concerned with the relationship between conditions considered problematic by
the individuals or groups affected and the means available for the collective
resolution of such problems in ways that are thought to be superior in terms of
the public interest.
DO NO HARM
Steps in Policy Analysis: Bardach
- Identify the problem (How do you frame it? State
it? Narrow it down to something manageable? )
- Assemble trend data evidence – is it getting
worse, better, etc.
- Gather research data – what's worked in the past
(there are very few new ideas, history is very important)
- Define alternatives – what are some concrete
alternatives that can solve this problem partially or wholly. How can I
define the alternatives so that they are discrete?
- Set a specific policy objective – must be
reasonable/attainable. API and No Child Left Behind have specific policy
objectives. so Did National
Education Goals (Clinton) First in the world in math & science by 2000
- Select criteria for policy choices – what are
your criteria for picking one alternative over another?
- Project Outcomes – fun with guesswork based on
whatever empirical data is available. Policy theory is key in this step.
- Confront Trade-offs. Rarely do policies satisfy
all objectives equally. Equity and adequacy are rarely both served by the
- Decide on policy alternatives
- Tell your story
Legal challenges are
important and difficult and raise essential questions.
Reform is not necessarily
government-driven or interventionist.
Examples of reforms that
- Special Ed
- Middle Schools
- Vocational Ed
- Graded Classrooms
- School Lunches
- Certification of Teachers
- School Nurses
- Consolidation of Rural Schools
- Varsity Athletics
- Carnegie Units
- Advanced Placement / IB
Examples of Reforms that
Failed or Faded:
- Team Teaching
- The "New" Math
- The "Project Method" of teaching
- Flexible Scheduling and Variable class size in
- Career ladders for teachers
- Performance contracting of school subjects
- Merit pay for Teachers
- Alternative "Free Schools"
- Education Television
Examples of Reforms that
Ebbed and Flowed:
- Sex-specific courses and programs
- Centralized v. Decentralized Control of Urban
- Student Election v. School Prescription of
- Prevention of Drop-Outs
- Attention to Gifted Students
- Bilingual Education
- Americanization v. Multi-Cultural Ed.
What are the characteristics
of lasting/not lasting reforms? What does that suggest about guidelines for change
in the schools?
Lasting reforms serve specific group that is not being served/undersserved
– Then why did gifted ed or bilingual ed ebb?
- Tamecia – reforms may fail when they focus too much attention/resources on
a subgroup like ESL or gifted students
- Nara –
things that homogenize, standardize and quantify across systems last (AP,
teacher cert, Carnegie)
- Tamecia – inclusive (the whole child) – you can't go back once you offer
it – adds or supports something that is considered an essential function
of the school.
– addresses a basic need (health, nutrition, physical health)
- Nara –
anything that dictates to teachers how to teach fails
- Alice –
that may have a lot to do with the unions
– the theories come down from academia with no practical application in
– the cyclical nature of pedagogy reform makes teachers discount it
+ Outcome oriented, Success
is quantifiable (Group 3)
- Foments competition between
teachers (Group 5)
+/- Social trends and context
+ Served the most
people/majority population, not special interest groups (Group 1)
+ Conservative (as opposed to
liberal) (Group 1)
Mike K - Power of the constituency is important
- Required reshuffling of
internal school structure and power relationships (Group 1)
- Taxpayers as consumer –
open access appeals to consumer (Group 4)
- Reformed by addition –
ADDED to schools rather than taking away (Group 4)
- Structural or Organizational – can reform by adding
to school functions
- Create constituency – including teacher support
- Easily monitored
- Reforms that attempt to change pedagogy or
classroom culture have frequently failed
- But we need to change classroom instruction so
need a new policy approach