The Major Education Policy Actors

Policy Actors-individuals or groups who are
actively involved in the policy process.
Federal-State-Local Levels
State Level: Why
Education is reserved to the states by the
Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution.
Tenth Amendment protects the citizens rights,
It helps to keep balance of power between the
federal and state governments.
The State Policy Actors are more important
than Federal ones regarding Education.
Government Actors-Legislative Branch
The development and passage of statutes, (one type of law.)
Review existing laws, to determine if they continue or to amend
or repeal it.
Approving the governments budget.
Establishing task forces or appoint commissions to study a policy
Establish special committee to oversee the implementation of a
new piece of legislation.
US Congress and 49 States are bicameral-2 chambers.
Senate-smaller chamber
• Offices-President, Lieutenant Governor.
House of Representatives-larger chamber
(Assembly, General Assembly, House of Delegates.)
Offices: Speaker, Majority Leader, Minority Leader
Committee-perform most of the work of the legislature.
(highways, prisons, welfare, education and justice system.)
Political Party Caucuses-develops the policy agenda that the
party pursues in the legislature.
Legislative Staff
◦ Includes-clerical staff, centralized staff agency.
◦ They screen, filter and summarize all materials that
reach a legislative office.
◦ Work with the constituents in writing letters and making
phone calls to help individual mayors with grants.
◦ Review and analyze budgets.
◦ Legislative research bureau-drafts sample bills and
research legal questions.
Important Actors:
• Educational Committee
Develop education laws, review existing legislation
and hold hearings on education policy issues.
• Finance Committee-state budget in education
• Powerful Speaker-impact what education polices are
◦ Institutional Power-the authority granted the
governor by the state constitution and state laws.
◦ More powerful if elected by a landslide.
◦ More powerful if they belong to a powerful political
party vs a minority party.
National Governors Association (NGA)
Conducts research, engages in lobbying and
provides services to state governments.
Education Policy-develops and implements new
policies (No Child Left Behind Act of 2011.)
Common Core State Standards
State Board of Education (SBE)
Responsible for K-12 and vocational education.
• Developing/approving- rules and regulations for
education laws.
• Developing certification requirements K-12
teachers and administrators
• Approving and monitoring assessment programs
• Deciding on HS requirements for graduation
• Determining accreditation standards.
Executive Positions:
Chief State School Officers (CSSO)
A public official charged with the supervision of public
education. (Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State
Superintendent of Schools or the Commissioner of
State Departments of Education (SDE)
Important in the Education Policy Process.
Provide Education committees with data.
Provide the assessments of the impact of a proposed
Detail the rules and regulations during implementation of
a new law.
Oversees and monitors the compliance of a new law.
May ignore or block legislation, or it may opt to dilute the
rules when writing them.
State Court Systems
◦ 2 tiered systems-Trial courts and Supreme court
(11 States)
◦ 3 Tiered System-Intermediate Appellate Court, Trial
and Supreme. (39 States.)
◦ Higher courts take cases only on appeal from lower
courts, rule on the correctness of the lower courts.
◦ Judges can have influence over education policy.
Local Boards of Education
Play a central role in education policy making.
State-sets curriculum standards, requiring students to
pass state tests, data collection and publish state report
Develop policies suited to their district.
(Ex. State requires minimum of 180 days, but local
board determines when school begins, ends and
vacation dates.
Implementation of state-mandated policies.
Local Boards can influence the success or failure of
state policy by the way they implement them.
(Local Board can decide how much emphasis to place
on the new policy.)
◦ Appointed by the School Board.
◦ A former teacher and administrator.
◦ Crises for SuperintendentsWhy: ??
Age is increasing
Shorter length of time in office than used be.
Increased pressure from the state governments to
implement mandates that usually are unfunded.
Interest Groups-What They are and What They Do
An association of individuals or organizations that
attempts to influence public policy in its favor.
Education Interest Groups
National Education Association (NEA) 3.2 million members
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) 1.3 million members
National School Boards Association(NSBA) 90,000 members
American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
13,000 members
◦ Parent Teacher Association (PTA) 5 million members.
Non-Education Interest Groups
◦ Business Lobby-most influential policy actors in
every state capital.
◦ Ethnic Based-usually interested on policy relating to
◦ Religious Based
Examples :
Chamber of Commerce, trade associations, service
industries, Farm Bureau, National Association of
Children’s Defense Fund
Conference of Catholic Bishops, Christian Coalition or
the Anti-Defamation League.
Single Issue Ideological Groups such as anti-abortion
Policy Networks
Groups interested in education policy. They
coordinate a wide range of efforts to influence policy.
Education Commission of the State (ECS)
(1966 Mission to help state leaders identify, develop,
and implement public policy for education.)
Children’s Defense Fund-purpose to be strong,
effective, independent voice for all the children of
Think Tanks-Policy Planning Organizations
◦ Gather data about public policy issues and
communicate their findings to the government.
◦ Decide what problems to study, select sources of
information about them and summarize their
results of their research, than decide which to
Think Tanks are the most important actors in the
policy process.
Center for Education Policy, Consortium for Policy
Research in Education, Carnegie Corporation of New
York, Rockefeller Foundation.
Outspoken advocates of a specific policy
Speak up and lobby for a specific policy.
Not all work for the Think Tanks, some may
be government employees, politicians or
Those funded by Think Tanks play a role in
education policy innovations.
Policy entrepreneurs play an important role in
getting the ideas onto government agendas.
Report on policy issues and some stages of the
policy process, but are also important actors.
News Agencies
On-Line Services
Media agenda-leads the general public and
political figures to become so concerned that
they insist it be addressed.
Public Agenda-General public-little interest or
great interest.
News Agencies:
Provide news stories, background
information, and pictures to media outlets
around the world.
◦ Associated Press, Reuters and Agence
France Preese.
Television channels, Online services.
Radio has a dual focus-national and local.
To be effective with your Policy Actors, you
need to know :
Who they are?
Where they can be reached?
Who should be contacted about specific
Locating Elected Government Officials
• District office, telephone book, public library,
the internet, League of Women Voters,
Politicians’ offices, newspapers
Identifying Appointed Officials and Groups
• State Departments of Education directorythey publish a handbook for administrators in
the state. (includes SDE, CSSO, SBE.)
• Telephone Book of State Capital
• Organizational Headquarters-flyers,
brochures or searching their website.
Identifying Policy Planning and Related Organizations
• Recent policy reports, Newspapers, Education week
and the internet.
To follow state education policymaking:
◦ Newspapers
◦ Newspapers published in the state capital and any
prestige newspapers : New York Times, the
Philadelphia Inquirer or Los Angeles Times.
◦ Monitor Interest Groups’ websites-NSBA, NEA, AFT
◦ Hot Lines- to hear recorded messages of status
updates on pertinent bills.
State, Local and Tribal Governments
Contact Federal Government
Contact Elected Officials
Interest Groups
Subscribe to get Email Updates from local officials to
stay current on issues affecting education.