Superintendents and legislators: actors in the educational policy process on the Kansas stage
In a democratic society, advocating for policy changes is commonplace. School superintendents are expected to be the voice of influence for the students and districts they serve. In Kansas, this expectation is no different. In recent years, school funding has been a major topic of policy debate at the state level. The purpose of this study was to understand if the advocacy efforts of superintendents had any effect during a recent policy creation. The study sought to also understand the influences state legislators consider in Kansas in determining the decisions they make when voting. Participants of this study included seven school superintendents and eight legislators, all active in their roles during the 2015 Legislative session. In all, fifteen individual interviews were conducted, the representation of the legislators and superintendents cover a wide-range of geographical, demographic, and political affiliation. The findings and conclusions were analyzed using the theoretical framework from Murray Edelman, using the art of conducting a drama as a metaphor for policy development and action, and provide implications for advancing the understanding of the theory and practice of advocating efforts with legislators. Implications of the study included the expansion of the theory itself and the need for future research. There is a real need to further develop considerations of relationships between school superintendents, school board members, and legislators. Implications for future practice could strengthen participation and partnerships among these groups to increase efficiencies in advocating in Kansas.
Thesis (Ed.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Education and School Psychology