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Bipartisanship and Idea Brokerage in Education Policy Networks

We show how Democrats and Republicans converged to support similar policies on a major educational issue: teacher effectiveness. Our study demonstrates the importance of idea brokers —actors that bridge structural gaps between members of different
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  Bipartisanship and Idea Brokerage in Education Policy Networks 1 Sarah Reckhow, Sarah Galey, and Joseph J. FerrarePaper prepared for the 9 th  Annual Political Networks Conference ashin!ton "ni#ersity St. $ouis, %&June '(, )*'+ Abstract: e show how e-ocrats and Repulicans con#er!ed to support si-ilar policies on a -a/or educational issue0 teacher effecti#eness. &ur study de-onstrates the i-portance of idea rokers 1actors that rid!e structural !aps etween -e-ers of different parties and pro-ote shared  policy ideas. &ur study is ased on analysis of testi-ony fro- '9( con!ressional hearin!s fro- )*** to )*'2. e use iscourse Network Analysis to e3a-ine network ties ased on shared  policy preferences e3pressed in hearin!s, which can e used to create networks linkin! policy actors and stated policy preferences. e use this network data to e3a-ine chan!es in the education policy susyste- durin! a policy window etween the 4ush ad-inistration and the &a-a ad-inistration. e identify idea rokers ased on network attriutes, includin!0 '5 actorsthat contriuted to the policy deate, and )5 actors that rid!ed structural !aps etween e-ocrats and Repulicans. e then esti-ate 6AP re!ression -odels to e3a-ine whether ties to idea rokers are associated with future policy preferences a-on! political actors. 1  Please direct correspondence to Sarah Reckhow, reckhow7-su.edu. Sarah Reckhow is assistant  professor in the epart-ent of Political Science at %ichi!an State "ni#ersity. Sarah Galey is Ph.. candidate in the Colle!e of 8ducation at %ichi!an State "ni#ersity. Joseph Ferrare is assistant professor in the epart-ent of 8ducational Policy Studies and the epart-ent of Sociolo!y at the "ni#ersity of entucky. e would like to thank the .:. Grant Foundation for supportin! this research. 1  Partisan affiliation is an endurin! and si!nificant factor for e3plainin! the structure of  political networks, includin! ca-pai!n contriutions, endorse-ents of le!islation, le!islati#e caucuses, interest !roup coalitions, and candidate endorse-ents ;Gross-ann and o-in!ue< )**9= >ictor and Rin!e )**9= Gi-pel, $ee, and Pearson?%erkowit< )**@5. Althou!h  ipartisanship see-s increasin!ly rare in the current conte3t of A-erican politics, a few policy areas ha#e e3perienced recent periods of relati#e ipartisan a!ree-ent, includin! educational  policy and prison refor- ;olrecht and artney )*'2= a!an and :eles )*'+5. Gi#en the nu-erous institutional and social di#isions fostered y partisan polari<ation, how do ideas tra#el  etween -e-ers of different parties to pro-ote new policy proposals with ipartisan supportB e e3plore the e-er!ence of new policy proposals concernin! teacher accountaility in education policy in order to understand how ideas are pro-oted that connect -e-ers of different parties. :eacher accountaility policies are desi!ned to hold indi#idual teachers accountale for student achie#e-ent, often y linkin! student test scores to teacher e#aluations. :his study uses discourse network analysis ;$eifeld )*'5 of testi-ony fro- '9( con!ressional hearin!s on teacher Duality fro- )*** to )*'2 as well as -ore than ** articles fro- the Wall Street Journal and the  New York Times  co#erin! the sa-e ti-e period. e analy<e how policy  preferences shifted fro- school?ased accountaility under the 4ush ad-inistration to teacher accountaility durin! the &a-a ad-inistration. &ur pro/ect ad#ances and tests the concept of anidea roker, uildin! on the concept of liaison rokera!e ;Gould and Fernande< '9@95. An idea  roker can en!a!e in the rokerin! process y connectin! -e-ers of different parties and introducin! new ideas into the policy deate. e show how connections to idea rokers in the education policy deate are associated with con#er!ent policy preferences a-on! political actors. Further, our analysis su!!ests that idea rokers -ay e -ost effecti#e durin! a ti-e 2   period when a policy window is open ;in!don '9@251in this case, durin! an election and shift to a new presidential ad-inistration, fro- )**@ to )**9. Althou!h our findin!s are preli-inary 1we are only e!innin! to fully e3a-ine the lon!itudinal and two?-ode aspects of our network data1these results su!!est a pro-isin! concept for future research. Policy Context: Fro !chool"based Accountability to #eacher"based Accountability For decades, the e-ocratic Party played a do-inant role in national education policy. Repulicans typically ar!ued that education should e left to the states, while e-ocrats supported -a/or federal pro!ra-s to ad#ance eDuity and increase fundin!, includin! :itle E of the8le-entary and Secondary 8ducation Act. urin! the '9@*s, -any states e!an to de#elop tests to track educational perfor-ance. 4y the '99*s, standards?ased tests eca-e the point of co-parison for ratin! and rankin! state educational syste-s ;Shipps )*''5. 4uildin! fro- these trends, the adoption No Child $eft 4ehind ;NC$45 under President 4ush codified test?ased accountaility y for-ally linkin! federal funds to educational outputs ;%connell )*'5.  NC$4 was adopted with road ipartisan support1rin!in! to!ether a Repulican ad-inistration and e-ocratic stalwarts, like Senator :ed ennedy. "nder NC$4, schools would e held accountale for student achie#e-ent outco-es. :his le!islation uilt upon a redefinition of educational issues ad#anced y oth -a/or political parties, which hi!hli!hted e3cellence and accountaility as the -echanis-s to address education issues, rather than e-phasi<in! fundin! ;olrecht and artney )*'25. A-on! other thin!s, NC$4 created sanctions for schools and districts that failed to achie#e adeDuate yearly pro!ress ased on student test perfor-ance ;%connell )*'5. Het it eca-e apparent early on that states and districts had li-ited resources to -eet the a-itious !oal of NC$4 to reach '** percent acade-ic proficiency y )*'?'2, forcin! the epart-ent of 8ducation to !rant wai#ers to 2 3  states that si!nificantly rela3ed -any of NC$4Is pro#isions ;".S. epart-ent of 8ducation )*'25.:he &a-a ad-inistration also positioned itself to ad#ance accountaility?ased policies.President &a-aIs Race to the :op ;R:::5 pro!ra- -aintained the !eneral course set y  NC$4, ut focused -ore on incenti#es and capacity?uildin!  usin! the carrot rather than the stick to -oti#ate refor- efforts ;%cGuinn )*')5. R::: authori<ed a K2.L4 co-petiti#e !rant pro!ra- that encoura!es states and districts to de#elop a-itious educational refor- a!endas, includin! co-prehensi#e lon!itudinal educational data syste-s to attach student achie#e-ent data to indi#idual teachers, the adoption of hi!h?Duality standards and assess-ents, the trainin! and retention of effecti#e educators, and turnin! around the lowest?perfor-in! schools and districts ;A-erican Reco#ery and Rein#est-ent Act of )**95. hile NC$4 focused on school?le#el accountaility, R::: e3pands federal and state attention towards teacher accountaility. :he focus on outco-es, specifically student achie#e-ent as a pri-ary indicator of teacher effecti#eness, in assessin! teacher Duality was a key co-ponent of R:::. &#er the past decade, and lar!ely in response to R:::, three?fourths of the states ha#e adopted teacher e#aluation syste-s that incorporate student !rowth -easures, as well as statewide data syste-s to keep track of student? and teacher?le#el data. %any states and districts now link teacher e#aluations to hi!h stakes personnel decisions, includin! tenure, perfor-ance pay, and firin!. :hese new teacher e#aluation syste-s ha#e ripple effects in districts and schools, which -ust rethink and reor!ani<e state and local teacher preparation and instructional policies. :he rise of accountaility as a do-inant approach to education policy helped lay the !roundwork for the teacher accountaility refor-s in R:::. Het in so-e respects, the shift to teacher?ased accountaility is surprisin!. First, concerns aout the unintended ne!ati#e 4  conseDuences of test?ased accountaility resultin! fro- NC$4 ;such as an o#ere-phasis on tested su/ects5 were already circulatin! durin! the latter years of the 4ush ad-inistration. Second, the e-phasis on holdin! teachers accountale is a #ery direct concern to a -a/or e-ocratic Party constituency0 teachers unions. Pre?') teachers are the lar!est occupational !roup in the country and well known for their hi!h le#els of en!a!e-ent in politics1policies that directly alter occupational practices and protections for teachers are unlikely to ad#ance without a -oili<ed response fro- teachers. e e3plore e3actly how and when these ideas in#ol#in! teacher accountaility e-er!ed in the national policy deate. %oreo#er, our analysis e3plicitly links specific policy ideas to specific actors, pro#idin! a fine !rained lon!itudinal analysis of the adoption of new preferences y elites in oth parties and the role of idea rokers. Networks o$ Actors and Ideas Political scientists ha#e used a #ariety of fra-eworks, such as paradi!-s ;all '99= %ehta )*'*5, road-aps or world#iews ;Goldstein and eohane '995, ideational politics ;Schul-an '9@@5, and policy i-a!es ;4au-!artner and Jones '995 to illu-inate actorsI idea?dri#en political acti#ities. En his influential study, eclo ;'9(@, '*)5 oser#es that participantsI  political and econo-ic interests were often secondary to intellectual or e-otional co--it-ents when for-in! political alliances  leadin! to the e-er!ence of issue networks.  Network theory also contriutes to this discussion, su!!estin! that   -odern political or!ani<ationse-phasi<e the sy-olic di-ensions of pulic policy. Policy actors tend to focus on shapin! and -anipulatin! policy sy-ols and ideas y, for e3a-ple, creatin! new knowled!e, influencin!  pulic opinion, and utili<in! opportunistic political strate!ies ;adushin )*')5.Essue networks can au!er sudden policy chan!e when they introduce new idea sets, or policy paradi!-s to policy susyste-s and refra-e policy deates ;%ehta )*'*5. Ef they 5
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