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Title:The Politics of School District Consolidation and Reorganization Reform in Illinois in 1985 and 1986
Author(s):Walker, Allan David
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ward, James G.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Political Science, General
Abstract:The study investigated the range, causes, and sources of the factors that initially prompted state level policy makers to implement a controversial policy change, as part of an overall education reform movement, and then abandon it before it had the opportunity to reach full implementation. The study analyzed the school district consolidation issue in Illinois in 1985 and 1986 through the simultaneous use of four interrelated decision making models in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the policy making processes at the state level.
The research design employed document analysis and in-depth interviews. Data were gathered from semi-structured interviews and primary and secondary documents to allow triangulation within and between the two techniques. Respondents were selected using an iterative method with the final list of respondents being validated by a team of experts. Respondent categories included: elected officials, interest groups, state agency officials, and others. Data were analysed to identify common themes, concepts, and propositions. The results of the analysis were presented in the form of an historical, descriptive case study which in turn laid the foundation for the analysis through multiple, complementary decision making models.
The findings revealed a multitude of politicians, interest groups, state education officials, and grass roots pressure groups having a critical impact on the policy process. The formation of small, homogeneous, issue specific interest groups and coalitions, the passivity of the state education officials, the specture of a state wide election, and miscommunication and misinterpretation of policy intent substantially affected the issue outcome. Despite the increasing involvement of the state in educational policy making, the influence of coordinated grass roots pressure was evident. This influence appeared to be magnified by the incongruence of key actor's goals, the proximity of a major election, and the bargaining environment surrounding the overall reform movement. Implications for policy makers when persuing a controversial policy change were presented.
Issue Date:1988
Description:328 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8815435
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1988

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