Joel Spring
Conflict of Interest: The Politics of American Education
Second edition, Longman: New York, 1993


It is my long-standing belief that the political structure of
schools determines the political content of instruction. 
Further, implementation  of changes in schools requires an
understanding of the politics of education.  By ingoring school
politics, reform has had little effect.

CHAPTER 1: The Political Structure of American Education

educational politics = politicans, govt admin, interest groups,
     educ politicians, and knowledge brokers.
business is interested in schools educating better workers to
     improve business.

educational politicians: admin whose tenure depends on elected
boards of educ:

foundations: programs advocated by these are adopted by gov. 
     thus strategy of foundation is to influence national
teacher's unions: to increase teacher autonomy and
corporate sector: prepare non union workers.

  funding agencies
  knowledge brokers
  testing orgs
  textbook pubs
  scholarly pubs

Major disease of American educ is its major propensity to change
to serve the needs of various politicians and to solve economic
and social problems.

CHAPTER 2: Sources of Conflict: Power and Knowledge

Major source of power is control of ideas and info
major disseminators of knowledge: schools are targets of all
     groups trying to influence values, ideas, and info to
Unions and business to support econ beliefs
politicians to support their policies
social crusaders to instill values
*here is the politics, pedagogy, values
consumers of educ (students and parents) want to enhance
     political and economic rights.
MANY ARENAS OF CONFLICT between power and knowledge:
1. distribution of knowledge (school) is used to control others
2. knowledge provides individual freedom.

1. Conflict of type of knowledge distributed:
2. conflict over control of schools
3. conflict over economic struggles
Education is big business

1. knowledge to improve economic situation
2. others control pop for econ exploitation
thus schools to improve econ sit and to prevent exploitation
give stud knowledge and social habits to meet needs of business
1. to protect pol and econ rights
2. socialize for pol participation
Lancastertian system to make closer business-school relationship

culture: hist trad, religion, lit, art and acceptable behaviors
     in dress, manners, accents, speech.

multi part of SCANS
bi method of empowering dominated culture Black, His, native;
     attempts best of both
ethno: self esteem, empowerment
Language is English and power in 20 states
Religion NB until JFK protest then cath

conservative view: opposes edu opps because lower income pop will
     be unwilling to do menial jobs
similar view: teach obedience and place
third: supply know to protect pol and econ interests
fourth: if gov provides then all should have.

1. know as instrument of power
     conflict over: values, religion, politics, culture
2. edu to improve econ and increase political power

CHAPTER 3: Sources of Conflict: The Economics of Education
Pop want to maximize their benefits from education while
minimizing their personal costs.

Corporate donations increased 1.7 % in 1987 to 2.4 in 1988 while
     taxes declined from 45% to 16% from 1957 to 1987.
Withdrawal of corporate support of pub schools in US is
     withdrawal from support of infrastructuce of country.

1. who should pay?
2. how should ed money be distributed?
3. how should money for ed be collected?
4. how should money be spent on ed?

1. who pays?
H Mann provides argument for society business
Milton Friedman argues for vouchers/choice.

Theo Schultz argues for human capital

2. distribute?
Mann: all should attend for creation of common moral and pol
wealthy district v poor district thus pop should exercise ed

3. collected?

4. spend how much?
philosopher Amy Gutmann:
     1st prin: maximization: spend whatever it takes
     2nd prin: equalization: spend enough to make all equal
     3rd prin: meritocracy: distribute to ability and desire to
     4th prin: democratic threshold prin: after other three

maximization holds society ransom.
equalization could involve gov intervention in private lives
merit undemocratic
democ thres prin provides flexibility of first three.

top fifth of society has no allegience to one country
adoption of multi ed for international work force

CHAPTER 4: Sources of Conflict: Power and Money in the
Educational Establishment

1. outsiders attempt to use ed as instrument of power.
2. insiders strive for more power and money.

Power and money at the heart of it all.
outside: most bang for $
inside: to protect and improve; knowledge industry seek profits

schools are hierarchy: super on down
conflict between those at top with those in field.
"downtown", "central"

unions provide antidote to hierarchy
     NEA supported Carter for pres
SBM has helped quell the fires

pursuit of money major point of conflict.
policies in five major areas enhance bureaucrats:
1. salaries
2. increase jobs
3. promote within
4. protect org from outside
5. increase prestige of org
this conflicts with teachers
teach and admin fight together to defend and acquire more money
     but fight each other as to how to spend it.

CHAPTER 5: Political Organization and Student Achievement
3 research projects which deal with relationships among pol orgs,
stud achievement, and equity.

1. chubb, moe Politics, Markets & America's Schools
2. meier, stewart, england Race, Class, and Education
3. meier and stewart Politics of Hispanic Education

1. increased school autonomy will increase stud achievement
2&3. stud ach depends on equal access to ed ops
increase rep from dominated groups.

all 3 trying to separate pol from ed
makeup of sch boards is key

Chubb and Moe: autonomy is the strongest influence on creating an
effective school org.

a. bureaucracies hinder educ
b. bur hinder prin and  teachers

democ control of schools, promote bur and hinders stud ach
competition provides ed a free market environment: priv sch

they seek basic change in method of pol control --> system
controlled by forces of the marketplace; ea sch has admissions

sch funded through state scholarships, choice office would
distribute money.

CHOICE will improve stud ach in public schools.

Meier, Stewart, and England examine pol org on second generation
segregation.  not concerned with ach scores, but with barriers to

seg practiced by acad grouping

representation by dominated groups on boards of ed provide for
more acad ach by dominated groups.

political power is key to serving a group's educ interests

Pol org is NB in determining pol content of pub sch curr

since 1849 grps have tried to have pol ideas disseminated.
inherent prob in pub sch in dem soc is accomodating all.
Mann: teach non controversial pol.
Am Leg and DAR step in in 1920's to 80's (americanism)
ie Goslin in Pasadena, expelled super

chubb and moe = choice, autonomy, 
meier, stewart, england = gain bd place
proof is afrocentric sch
voucher in Milwaukee
Mchawi in NYC 80's w green, bd of mis-educ

pol org of pub sch acts as an NB filter for pol ideas and it
affects stud ach and eq of op.  It mediates and shapes pol
conflict over educ issues.


since 50's groups have tried to force fed govt to link pub sch to
nat policy issues.
50's engineer and science push
60's civil rights 
70's business ask for career ed, voc ed
80's religious push for choice; business SCANS

Politics of policy: struggles between interest groups and
politicians = nat ed policy  WHAT

politics of implementation: struggles among pol, interest grp,
bureaucrats over implement of policy  HOW

Origins of Political action:
grass roots
politicians advocate ed policy
national policy concerns
bureaucratic conflict
pol strat and interest groups

civil rights and handicapped rights movements are examples of
grass roots.

Brown decision doesn't actually force southern sch to comply.
thus grass roots pushed for 1964 civil rights gave teeth to fed
deseg which led to 1965 Elem and sec Ed Act (ESEA 1965) which
contained Title I (Chapt 1) part of war on Poverty

Keppel outlines 3 leg options:
1. general aid to pub sch
     neg reaction form Cath and NEA
2. general aid to pub and priv
     reaction for NEA and split Dem party; constit to fed aid to
rel sch
3. gen aid to poor which became ESEA 1965

This produced one of most NB pieces of ed leg
1. signaled gen fed aid to ed
2. solved rel prob
3. to avoid charges of fed involvement by putting it local thru

Handicapped same way: grassroots
PARC Penn Assoc for ret Child 1960's
PARC v Penn same as Brown v Bd of ed
pol prob became Public Law 94-142 in 1975 IEP (indiv ed plan)
IEP = brillianrt pol strat

grass roots:
1. unable to affect local or state level
2. seeks the aid of courts
3. seeks fed leg
4. influence content of leg (aid, agencies)
5. forming iron triangle: interst group, fed agency, politicians.

hard to distinguish between grass roots initiation or politician

trying to wield power thru Dept of ed Sec

reagan Hatch amendament 1978: requires parental approval for
testing, Schlafly's Eagle Forum sees this as barrier to values:
form letter objects to death ed, sex ed, drug and alco ed, anti-
nationalist, one world govt, global curr.
Reagan puts Bell in. replaces him with Bennett in 1985.

Bush thinking 2000 has 1st gov meeting at UVA 1990.  Bush trying
to be ed prez appojnts Lauro Cavazos then Lemar Alexander.

Bush introduces tax tuition crdit to help pub and priv sch

This is how politicians and ed pol use ed issues to win votes.

national pol, social, and econ issues are a major source of
In addition sch become scapegoats to nat ills.

1950's sch weak link in Cold War
resulted in Nat def Ed Act 1958
1960's sch blamed as racist.
1980's sch blamed for not preparing kids.
1983 Nation at Risk

Sony war
example of how ed interest groups respond to a piece of leg: Ed
for Econ Security Act.  reps from NEA (McGuire), AFT (Shanker),
AERA Patricia Graham)
In short each wanted to feather own nest: Shanker at AFT =
teachers; McGuire at NEA = ADEA (prepare stud for mil); Graham
for AERA for ed research.

Rather than defend sch, interest groups use opp to get more money
and to protect self.

Bureaucratic Struggle:
     implementing of fed leg brings pol struggles @ all levels of
     ed bur: local and state complain about fed.
     Paul Peterson and Barry Rabe state struggle over
     implementation of fed leg is resolved with a cooperative
     relationshiop between new bur structures in several stages.

1. Congress passes leg w/ min controls
2. Interest groups & fed complain about local and state not
fulfilling leg.
3. Fed reg are tightened and made more specific
4. new pros appear @ local ed agencies to handle fed prog
5. complaints about fed red tape
6. fed control eased / coop betw new pros
7. conflict cont  betw new pros and local

Politicians and Interest Groups:
     to satisfy cons groups pol catered to them by promising less
     fed control.
     repub plan to reduce fed involve was Elem and Sec Ed
     Consolidation Act 1981: large lump of $ in grants; to have
     local govt admin.
     Bell knew local interest groups would control $
     less fed reg of ed prog would create more conflict among
     interest groups at state level.
     new pros also objected to block grants.
     states thought less control = less $

Methods of Analysis:

Federal Legislation
Determine the cause of fed leg:
1. Is leg result of local or state failure to ans grass roots?
2. Is leg result of pol(s) seeking to please voters?
3. pol blame ed, sch is scapegoat?
4. easy cure for nat woes?

Determine the reasons for the content of the fed leg:
1. what interest groups and pol on both sides?
2. what pol startegy used ot balance sides?
3. how was pol start reflected in leg?
4. iron triangle develop?

Appointment of Federal Educational Politicians
Determine the reasons for the appointment:
1. pressure from part interest grp?
2. did admin want to form a part ed constituency?
3. admin paying off pol debt?

Determine the consequences of the appointment:
1. what ed policies does ed politician support?
2. how does ed pol balance among interest grps, pol, bur?
3. what effect does ed pol have on implementation of leg?

Implementaion of Fed Leg
Determine the reasons for the implementation methods:
1. Did pol party in power promise part meth of impl?
2. what was the role of the interest grp?
3. what role the st and local ed agencies?

Determine the consequences of the implementation methods?
1. what govt agency controls fed prog?
2. what interest group benefits?