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School Policy Culture and State Decentralization

by Frederick M. Wirt - 1977

In the last fifty years, political scientists have studied the state's role in policy making from such perspectives as the legal basis of authority, the institutionalization of that authority, the group pressure matrix within which policy is made, the impact of environmental and structural aspects of states upon their policy outcomes, and, most recently, state policy within an intergovernmental web of relations. This chapter departs in two ways from these analytical approaches and from the traditional data on the analysis of school policy. First, it explores the extent of differences among the fifty states in the degree of centralization of control over local school policy by the state government. This is an "output" rarely developed except in case study fashion, even though the authoritative distribution of authority would seem a significant variable shaping the distribution of policy outcomes. Second, the chapter presents a first examination of a massive content analysis of items related to schooling in constitutions, statutes, regulations , and court decisions in the fifty states. To focus this massive set of data and its accompanying conceptual framework of the allocation of authority, regional variations among these output measures will be sought.

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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 76, No. 2.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 78 Number 6, 1977, p. 164-187
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 19217, Date Accessed: 4/10/2020 3:16:52 AM

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About the Author
  • Frederick Wirt
    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    FREDERICK M. WIRT is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
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