Policy studies for education leaders

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					Policy studies for education
         Chapter 8
   1. Questions and activities for
• 1.1 Identify three sources in your state that provide
  information about the activities of the state
  legislature. Contact them and discuss your findings
  with your class.
• 1.2 Contact the SDE in your state and ask what
  provisions, if any, it makes for the participation of
  educators in rule making. Discuss your findings with
  your class.
• 1.3 Visit a public or university library and list the
  most useful government documents related to policy
  formulation and adoption in your state that you can
  find in the collection.
• 1.4 Develop a plan for building better relations
    2. Case study: The Gadfly
• As he moved into the last decade of his
  professional career in a Midwestern state,
  Superintendent Jack Donato became
  increasingly disgruntled about education
  policy trends. Although he was comfortably
  ensconced in a district with several booming
  shopping malls and no financial woes, all
  around him he saw school systems on the
  verge of bankruptcy and increasing poverty
  among schoolchildren. Yet, at both the
  national and state levels, politicians were
  blaming educators and developing policies
  to reward high test scores and punish low
• Jack launched his first attack about
  seven years before his retirement,
  when the state legislature passed an
  education reform act establishing an
  interdistrict often enrollment program
  to improve schools through
  competition. He worked with the
  regional section of the state
  superintendents’ association to created
  workshops on the new law, inviting
  legislators, SDE representatives, and
  out-of-state critics of open enrollment
  to speak to school administrators
• Next, he persuaded another
  superintendent to file suit against
  the state with him; they challenged
  the portion of the law that required
  every district to send demographic
  data about students and their test
  scores to the SDE, alleging a
  violation of privacy rights. In the
  state capital, these activities
  earned Jack the nickname, “the
  Gadfly,” but Jack didn’t care.
• Although the lost his court case,
  Jack continued his crusade. In
  order to raise questions about the
  way political and business leaders
  had defined education problems,
  he and his district sponsored a
  lecture series, inviting national
  figures such as Gerald Bracey,
  David Berliner, and Bruce Biddle to
  speak about alternative
  perspectives on public education
  and its problems.
• During the year the retired, Jack
  was distributing information about
  the legislature’s proposed voucher
  plan to his teachers and urging
  them to let legislators know their
  opinion of it. Of course, the
  teachers were well aware of Jack’s
  strong opposition. When the
  Gadfly retired, the legislature was
  still considering vouchers, but
  Jack felt that he had fought the
• 1. What aspects of Jack’s personal and
  professional situation permitted him to take
  strong stands? Describe a more subtle
  campaign that a differently situated leader
  might have waged.
• 2. Describe Jack’s use of coalitions and allies
  as well as his attempts to influence all three
  policy formulation and adoption arenas.
• 3. To what extent did Jack choose the best
  stage of the policy process for his
  interventions? How might he have sought to
  influence the policy process at an earlier
   3. Pro-con debate: Should
 school services be privatized?
• YES: Public schools perform many
  services that have little to do with
  educating children-food service,
  janitorial work, transportation,
  management, and so forth. Everyone
  knows that the private sector is more
  efficient than the rigid and bureaucratic
  public one, so why not just privatize all
  the noneducational aspects of
• Let the market work its magic,
  motivating school service providers
  and administrators to provide good
  service at the lowest possible cost.
  Soon we would see a more
  businesslike atmosphere and a keener
  concern for customers and their needs.
  They would have to be responsive to
  the market, or they would not survive.
  Privatization would therefore improve
  our children’s education and save
  taxpayers money at the same time.
• NO: Most arguments for the
  privatization of school services
  and management are based on
  ideology rather than on evidence.
  The growing body of research on
  privatization-especially the
  privatization of school
  management-suggests that it
  neither improves education
• The fact is that the private sector is
  not well suited to carry out some
  activities, and the provision of
  universal education is one of them.
  The reason is clear: Children are
  not packages to be transported
  from place to place or cows waiting
  to be fed. Every aspect of their
  schooling is potentially
  educational. Therefore, these
  services should not be under the
  control of private corporations
  whose overriding concern is

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