An analysis of policy models in terms of impact variables affecting the Richmond, Virginia, school system
Stanley, Kenneth Wayne
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The thesis of this investigation was that existing models of policy-making (rational, organizational, political) did not, in isolation; adequately account for variables that were operating within and between policy areas. It was suggested that planning in urban school systems was, possibly, adversely affected as a result of insufficient knowledge about policy-making in urban school systems. An ex post facto design of research was selected to examine policy-making, in six areas of school system operation between 1970- 1973, that occurred within the Richmond School System. Policy areas that were studied included: budget, transportation, pupil conduct, instruction, personnel recruitment, and meeting with organizations. These policies were selected as representative of school system policies adopted during the administration of one superintendent. The case study method was utilized for treatment of data accumulated from the investigation of the six policy areas. Each of the six policy histories included: a statement of the policy, a discussion of the policy environment, identification of policy variables, and an analysis of policy variables. Data associated with each case study were secured through interviews with identified policy actors and review of documentary records and newspapers. The conclusions of this investigation included: (1) The"Organizational Policy Model" and the"Political Policy Model" were useful for describing policy variables operating within the Richmond School System. The Organizational Model explained the policy variables that contributed to making the"Budget" policy. The remaining five policies were influenced, principally, through the variables associated with the Political Model and associated environments. (2) The"Rational Policy Model," was not observed to be operational, either individually or collectively, with the six policy areas that were researched. (3) The investigation suggested a need for development of a policy model that more comprehensively describes policy impact variables across a wide range of policy areas. Such a conceptual policy model would need to be eclectic in orientation and possess the characteristic of adaptability to different conditions. (4) Organized groups within the community were seen as more effective in exerting influence upon policy-making as compared to individuals. Certain individuals, however, by virtue of their positions were very influential policy actors. Among these individuals were a federal judge, a superintendent and school board chairman. The business community, indirectly, was influential in school system policy-making. (5) This urban school superintendent's influence in the policy areas investigated ranked in the following descending order: budget, meeting with organizations, pupil conduct, instruction, personnel, and transportation. (6) The study demonstrated environmental changes that were occurring in the Richmond community during the l~te 1960's and early 1970's that had the effect of changing or modifying the power structure impacting on community institutions including the Richmond, Virginia, School System. The investigation inferred that the planning process of an urban school system could be helped through the identification of environmental influences that tend to impact upon the policy-making, organizational and planning processes. It was suggested that this investigation be followed up with a similar policy-making study using an experimental design of research to establish reliability of the conclusions.
- Doctoral Dissertations