The Policy Process of School Leadership Reform: A Case Study of Illinois's Public Act 96-0903
Condon, Kevin R
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Principal preparation reform found its way onto Illinois’s agenda in the period from 2001 to 2010 and literature showed that effective school leadership was second only to teaching among school related influences affecting student performance. Within Illinois, reports indicated that fewer people are interested in attaining the position of principal and retaining the position given the complex demands of the job. The result to the labor pool of potential principals was that Illinois had too few well-trained individuals, who were certified as principals, willing to seek an actual principalship. This research drew upon political science theories of the policy process in order to examine how Illinois manifested its policy process in the case of Public Act 96-0903 addressing school principal preparation. This research tested the conformity of Kingdon’s (2003) multiple streams framework and Mazzoni’s arenas model. The purpose was to examine state-level policy process, test a recontextualization of the multiple streams framework to the state-level, and synthesize two frameworks in order to provide a better understanding of the policy process. This study relied on qualitative case-study methods that featured document analysis and elite-specialized interviews. Findings show strong consistencies in the two frameworks’ ability to describe the policy episode of principal preparation reform that occurred within the context of Illinois’s political culture. The implications of this research suggest that the investigation done here of PA96-0903 demonstrates that policy process researchers do not have to consider process frameworks as competing alternatives. Combining elements of existing policy process frameworks is worthwhile and provides researchers and policy actors an enhanced explanatory framework for policy process.
multiple streams framework