Killing the Common Core: An Analysis of State Policymaking
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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Policymaking research explains and predicts what will happen when an issue enters the policy stream and why changes occur. Numerous theories, frameworks, and models have been created to attempt to explain policy shifts. Some theories are that policy narratives change, and thus, a policy shift may or may not occur with this narrative shift. While some models have incorporated policy narratives, no one model fully explains why the narrative changes and why that results in a policy shift. To remedy this gap, I merged three existing models, the Advocacy Coalition Framework, Narrative Policy Framework, and Policy Pathways Model, into a singular model, the Pathway Coalition Model (PCM), which aggregates three existing policymaking models into a singular and more complete model that integrates both policy narratives and an explanation of why narrative changes occur. To test the PCM, I conducted case studies of Alabama and New Hampshire using the Common Core State Standards as the observation policy. The case studies relied on interviews with actors involved in the policymaking process in each state, including state legislators, interest group members, and bureaucrats in education, analysis of official government documents and legislative actions, and as needed, various secondary sources of information. The case studies showed support for the PCM, through the successful use of the pluralist pathway in Alabama and the partisan pathway in New Hampshire. The PCM offers a more complete understanding of why policy shifts occur at the state level.