|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation uncovers a paradox in what we understand to be true about public policy processes. Embedded in nearly every political science theory, model and framework of the policy process, is the critical role of advocacy groups who support, nurture, pay attention to, and advocate for specific governmental policies and programs. Fundamental to the stability, maintenance and persistence of governmental policy, these groups play a central role in setting the agenda, defining problems, proposing solutions, influencing decisions, guiding implementation, and maintaining the status quo.
The policy and the practice of providing postsecondary remedial education at American universities and colleges has been around for over a century, millions of U.S. students enroll in these academic programs every year, and taxpayers spend billions of dollars on it. Despite this, the findings of this dissertation indicate that postsecondary remedial education in Illinois is an orphaned policy. It lacks a supportive and stable advocacy group acting on its behalf. The paradox is how and why, without advocacy, it continues to persist. This paradox becomes even more confounding as the policy persists in an often hostile and adverse political environment riddled with opposition.
The findings of this dissertation challenge our existing theories of the policy process. In an attempt to account for policy persistence, without advocacy, this dissertation builds an empirical and theoretical argument that explains the paradox of an orphaned policy as resulting from institutional inertia and budgetary dependence, coupled with political and societal pressure for equity in postsecondary education policy.||en_US