SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY FORMULATION IN PENNSYLVANIA: A CASE STUDY (POLITICAL CULTURE, LEGISLATIVE PROCESS)

KATHLEEN KELLEY LYNCH, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This study examined the process by which school finance policy is formulated in Pennsylvania. The working hypothesis of the research was that implicit assumptions governed the process of formulating school finance policy, and that those assumptions were simultaneously consistent with both the political culture of the state policy arena, and with the behaviors which are effective in achieving policy objectives. Elazar's (1984) political culture model was used in this study as a framework within which the predominant values of the state policy arena were analyzed. Lindblom's (1980) play of power model provided a framework for understanding the purposeful exercise of control in policymaking. Field study methodology was used in this research. The main data collection technique was interviewing formal and informal policymakers. Two rounds of interviews were conducted, one unfocused and one focused. The data were entered into computerized data records, and sorted using categories taken from the theoretical frameworks of Lindblom and Elazar. Data records were compared with other data records, and with theory, for evidence of political culture values dominant in the Pennsylvania policy arena, and for evidence of the behaviors policymakers used to exercise control in the policymaking process. The data indicate that the characteristics of Elazar's Individualistic political culture are consistent with the dominant political values in the Pennsylvania policy arena, and that Lindblom's play of power model accurately describes policymaking activity in Pennsylvania. As a result of the data analysis, ten implicit assumptions were identified which appear to be governing the development of school finance policy in Pennsylvania. These ten assumptions can be grouped into two categories. Process assumptions relate to how school finance policy is formulated in Pennsylvania. Content assumptions relate to what is typically included in school finance policy in Pennsylvania. These assumptions are consistent with both the predominant political culture of the state policy arena, and with behaviors which are effective in the play of power. The data supported the working hypothesis of the study and provided the basis for a rich description of the process by which school finance policy is formulated in Pennsylvania.

Subject Area

School finance

Recommended Citation

LYNCH, KATHLEEN KELLEY, "SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY FORMULATION IN PENNSYLVANIA: A CASE STUDY (POLITICAL CULTURE, LEGISLATIVE PROCESS)" (1986). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8614832.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8614832

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