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The politics of teacher tenure reform

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The politics of teacher tenure reform a policy formulation study of Colorado's House Bill 1159
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Elrod, Ann Louise
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English
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xii, 257 leaves : ; 29 cm

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Teachers -- Tenure -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Teachers -- Tenure ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, School of Education and Human Development, Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Ann Louise Elrod.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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ocm28863536
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LD1190.E3 1993d .E47 ( lcc )

Full Text
THE POLITICS OF TEACHER TENURE REFORM:
A POLICY FORMULATION STUDY OF COLORADO'S HOUSE BILL 1159
by
Ann Louise Elrod
B.A., Colorado State University,' 1968
M.A., University of Colorado, 1974
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Administration, Curriculum and Supervision


1993 by Ann Louise Elrod
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Ann Louise Elrod
has been approved for the
School of
Education
/ /
f


Elrod, Ann Louise (Ph.D., Administration, Curriculum and Supervision)
The Politics of Teacher Tenure Reform: A Policy Formulation Study of Colorado's
House Bill 1159
Thesis directed by Professor Michael J. Murphy
ABSTRACT
Teacher tenure in Colorado has come under fire since 1967 when the Teacher
Tenure law was passed. The public perceived teachers were guaranteed lifetime jobs.
Administrators and school board members complained tenured dismissals were costly
in time and money, making terminations nearly impossible. Teachers demanded
protection for due process and academic freedom. After seven attempts in 11 years, the
Colorado legislature, because of pressure from special interest groups, was unable to
formulate a tenure reform policy. In 1989, Governor Roy Romer established the
Tenure Task Force, a coalition of the special interest groups, to reach agreement on an
acceptable tenure reform policy.
This study examined the policy process leading to the formulation of House Bill
1159 which eliminated tenure, required evaluator training and streamlined the dismissal
process. Kingdon's and Polsby's policy formulation models provided the theoretical
framework used to guide this study. The purpose of the study was to compare the
theoretical models to the House Bill 1159 formulation process and to determine
whether the processes used by the Task Force had an impact on the content of the
policy.
IV


Data were collected from interviews with key participants in the policy process
and from 186 official documents which included newspaper files, memos and letters,
and other archival records.
The study found that when the problem is clearly defined, a solution can be
crafted by the special interest groups. The policy process was consistent with those
outlined in Kingdon and Polsby with the exception that the Governor interjected and
empowered the Task Force to define and solve the problem, and a disinterested
facilitator led the Task Force through a problem definition process followed by a
solution construction process which produced the bill. The legislature, in cooperation
with the Governor and the Task Force, ratified the bill with no significant changes.
The problem definition policy formulation process offered four advantages: problem
clarification prior to solution construction, a more creative and problem-specific
solution, greater commitment from special interest groups, and more efficiency in the
General Assembly.
v


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Sincere appreciation is expressed to those who contributed in significant ways to this
research project:
Professor Michael J. Murphy, my advisor, for his insightful suggestions,
continued assistance and commitment to my work
Dr. Patricia M. Marin, my advisor in qualitative research, for her expertise,
friendship, encouragement and support in addition to her countless hours of
reading and reflection throughout the research process
Professors Margaret A. Bacon, Peter deLeon, and Michael Martin, my graduate
committee, for their constructive review of my thesis
Karen Bertel and Paula Buffetti, librarians, for their assistance in document
research
The dedicated professionals in education and government who took time to
answer interview questions because they have a sincere commitment to
reforming education in Colorado
Ron Elrod, my husband, for his support of my goals, his understanding of my
feelings, his personal sacrifices, and for his constant love and encouragement
Kimberly and Meredith Elrod, my daughters, for their patience during the hours
I spent in graduate school instead of with them. It is my fondest hope that they
will continue a love of life-long learning.
While I gratefully acknowledge the support of these caring individuals, I am solely
responsible for the contents presented in this thesis.
vi


CONTENTS
CHAPTER PAGE
I. NATURE OF THE STUDY......................................1
Introduction......................................1
Issues of School Reform...........................2
Setting of the Study..............................4
Evolution of the Study............................5
Statement of the Problem..........................7
Rationale............................................10
Purpose of the Study.................................12
The Conceptual Framework......................13
Research Questions............................16
Organization of the Study............................16
Limitations of the Study.............................17
Summary..............................................18
II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE...................................19
Introduction.........................................19
Education Policy Reform..............................20
Federal Policy Reforms........................22
ESEA...................................23
Federal Program Implementation ... 25
State Policy Reforms..........................26
State Aid to Education.................26
vii


Tuition Tax Credits
27
Career Ladder Reform......................27
Reform Efforts in Six States .... 28
Lessons from Past Legislative Practice..................32
Policy Formulation Processes............................36
Brewer and deLeon: The Foundations of
Policy Process........................... . .37
Lindblom: Successive Limited Comparisons
(Incrementalism) ................................39
Cohen, March, and Olsen: Garbage Can
Model of Organizational Choice...................42
Framework for Policy Formulation Analysis .... 43
Polsby: Dimensions of Policy Innovation. . . 45
Kingdom Policy Primeval Soup.....................49
Summary.................................................53
III. METHODOLOGY...................................................54
Introduction.......................................... 54
Data Collection.........................................55
Phases of Data Collection........................55
Phase I of Data Collection.......................56
Phase II of Data Collection......................59
Phase III of Data Collection.....................61
Triangulation.............................62
Multiple Sources of Data..................63
Data Analysis...........................................67
Data Classifications.............................67
viii


Process and Policy Categories.................70
Process and Policy Relationships..............71
Policy Process Comparisons....................72
Policy Formulation Process Replication ... 73
Summary..............................................73
IV. TENURE: THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT.............................74
Introduction.........................................74
Tenure History.......................................75
Definition....................................75
Origins of Teacher Tenure. . . .... 75
Prelude to the 1967 Colorado Teacher Tenure Act. . . 79
Case Law......................................82
Academic Freedom..............................84
Tenure Issues........................................85
The Controversy............................. 85
Job Protection................................88
Costs.........................................88
Public Perception.............................89
Colorado Teacher Employment, Dismissal and
Tenure Act of 1967 90
Reasons for Dismissal.........................91
Due Process...................................94
House Bill 1338: Teacher Evaluation..................95
Summary..............................................95
V. ACT ONE: THE POLICY AGENDA.................................97
IX


Introduction.........................................97
Policy Problem Formulation...........................97
Setting the Stage....................................99
The Policy Primeval Soup................................101
The Policy Window..................................... 106
The Policy Stream.......................................110
Alternatives.....................................Ill
House Bill 1159 . 114
Key Players.............................................117
The Entrepreneur.................................117
The Executive Officer............................122
The Facilitator..................................124
Summary............................................... 128
VI. ACT TWO: THE POLICY FORMULATION PROCESS . . 131
Introduction............................................131
Coupling of the Coalition...............................132
Tenure Task Force Coalition......................133
Administrators and School Board . . . . 134
Teachers.....................................142
Business and Parents.........................151
Legislators..................................153
The Governor.................................154
Problem Definition...............................157
Uncoupling of the Coalition.............................165
x


Summary..............................................169
VD. ACT THREE: THE LEGISLATIVE ENVIRONMENT . 170
Introduction.........................................170
Task Force Report....................................171
Legislative Process..................................173
Colorado Teacher Employment and Dismissal
Act of 1990 176
Reasons for Dismissal.........................177
Due Process...................................178
Teacher Evaluation............................178
Reactions to House Bill 1159.........................179
Change in Public Perception..........................182
Summary..............................................185
Vm. SUMMARY, LESSONS AND INSIGHTS..............................187
Introduction.........................................187
Summary of Research Design...........................187
The Research Problem..........................187
Purpose of the Study..........................188
Conceptual Framework..........................189
Methodology...................................190
Summary of Findings..................................191
Question 1....................................191
Policy Agenda in 1990 191
Key Players and Supporting Players . . . 192
Key Player: Adkins.........................193
xi


Key Player: Romer............................194
Key Player: Tipton...........................194
Supporting Players: The Coalition . . . 195
Question 2......................................198
Question 3......................................200
Lessons from Policy Formulation Models.................203
Lessons from House Bill 1159...........................212
Insights into the Policy Formulation Process . . . . 219
Problem Definition Policy Formulation Model . . . 220
Problem Awareness...............................222
Problem Definition..............................222
Solution Construction...........................223
Legislative Process.............................224
Recommendations for Further Study......................226
APPENDIX A: Interview Questions..............................228
APPENDIX B: Interview Respondents............................231
APPENDIX C: Tenure Teacher Dismissal Cases Selected
for Cost Survey.................................232
APPENDIX D: Comparison of 1967 Tenure Act and
House Bill 1159 ............................... 233
APPENDIX E: Historical Timeline of House Bill 1159 . . 237
APPENDIX F: The Legislative Process in Colorado .... 238
Introduction.................................238
The General Assembly.........................238
How a Bill Becomes Law.......................240
xii


APPENDIX G: Glossary........................243
REFERENCES..................................248
xni


GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS
AAUP American Association of University Professors
AEA Arizona Education Association
AFL/CIO American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations
AFT American Federation of Teachers
ALJ Administrative Law Judge
CASB Colorado Association of School Boards
CASE Colorado Association of School Executives
CDE Colorado Department of Education
CEA Colorado Education Association
CFT Colorado Federation of Teachers
CPRE Center for Policy Research in Education
ERSC Education Reform Steering Committee (Utah)
ESEA Elementary and Secondary Education Act
HO Hearing Officer
LEA Local Education Agency
NEA National Education Association
PTA Parent Teacher Association
PTSA Parent Teacher State Association
SEA State Education Association
UEA Utah Education Association
XIV


CHAPTER 1
NATURE OF THE STUDY
Introduction
In the 23 years since the enactment of Colorado's Teacher Tenure Law in 1967,
the public, the media, the Governor, the legislators, the business community, the
parents, the administrators, and the teachers have debated the merits and demerits of
teacher tenure. Tenure took on a different meanings depending on a person's
viewpoint. The public and business saw it as a lifetime job guarantee for teachers.
Legislators, parents and the media saw it as a protection for incompetent teachers.
Administrators and school board members saw it as a costly barrier to teacher
dismissal. And teachers saw it as a protection for academic freedom and due process.
Beginning in 1979, tenure reform proposals appeared on the legislative agenda seven
times in eleven years with the legislature being unable to formulate an adequate policy
to address the public's concerns.
In January of 1990, House Bill 1159, another tenure reform bill sponsored by
Representative Jeanne Adkins, appeared on the agenda in the House of
Representatives. Four months later, on April 24,1990, Governor Romer signed the
bill into law. The bill went into effect on July 1,1990 and school districts had one year
to be in compliance with the law. To some the bill had a significant impact To others
the bill brought about no change at all. Still others felt the bill was good, but it did not
go far enough. This study will focus on the process used to formulate Colorado's
teacher tenure reform bill.
1


Issues of School Reform
In 1957, when Sputnik made headlines and again, in 1983, when the "rising
tide of mediocrity" in public schools made headlines, school reform rose to the top of
many public policymakers' agendas. Since 1983, the Carnegie Forum on Education,
the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the Coalition
of Essential Schools, the National Governor's Association, the President of the United
States and many local and state education agencies have recommended numerous
reforms for public education. They suggested a vast array of remedies that included
increased organization efficiency, teacher empowerment, fundamental curricular
changes, schools of choice, site-based management, national tests, increased parent
and community involvement, national standards for teachers, principal training,
reduced bureaucratic rigidity, collective bargaining reform, merit pay, and budget
increases. Many of these suggestions became the basis of legislation at both the state
and federal levels of government. Although many policymakers want to negotiate the
perfect public policy to reform education, as Timar and Kirp (1989) said, "There is no
single policy or single combination of policies.. .that will automatically transform
mediocre schools into good ones" (p. 506).
In each of the lists of recommendations for school reform, however, the work
of teachers received considerable attention. Murphy (1991) stated,
Teachers and teaching work are at the center of reform thought, and an
inescapable conclusion from the myriad of reports and proposals is that we
must make changes in the composition of the teaching force and the way we
deploy teaching resources. Within the view that teacher quality is central to
reform there is a common thread. We need accountable professional
2


performance from teachers, (p. 1)
Murphy also claimed that one of the reasons we cannot have accountable performance
from teachers is that "we don't have the right teachers" (p. 1). Furthermore, he argued
that to the extent schools are populated by teachers who are unqualified and reluctant to
change, change in professional performance and hence the school will be constrained.
This view of teachers and the apparent lack of immediate improvement in
schools caused the Colorado General Assembly to become more and more disgruntled
about the quality of education in Colorado's public schools, but Colorado legislators
continue to fund education even if it means creating a huge "cliff' or deficit in the state
budget They also want to see significant structural reforms which will increase the
quality of education in Colorado. In the eyes of the public and many of the state
legislators, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to resolving the lack of quality in the
teaching profession is teacher tenure because tenure is seen as supporting a life-time job
guarantee regardless of a teacher's performance (Adkins, 1990; Bledsoe, 1990;
Fitzgerald, 1992; Frazier, 1992; Morris, 1992).
In January 1989, the Colorado Department of Education issued a small
pamphlet entitled, Examining Education: Colorado School Administrators'
Perspectives of Public Schools. Schools and teachers in school districts across
Colorado, according to the pamphlet, received a grade of "B" by Colorado
administrators and the problems in education cited by school administrators centered on
students, parents, money, and public policy. Solutions posed by the administrators
were to improve the quality of the teaching staff by improving the quality of staff
development and inservice training, by instituting an apprenticeship for first year
teachers and by replacing tenure with a fair due process system.
3


Reforming the tenure system in Colorado became the legislative intent since the
1979 session of the General Assembly when Representative Carl "Bev" Bledsoe
introduced the first unsuccessful bill to reform the 1967 Tenure Act. In short, as the
frustration over the apparent lack of quality in public schools grew, more and more
policy initiatives arose on the policy agenda in an attempt to reform public education.
Although financial concerns are paramount any time change is made, these reform
initiatives focused on the tenure teacher and the work of teachers. The public's belief
that schools needed to be reformed before more money is allocated to them is evident in
the lack of recent voter support for bond elections or for increased taxes to support
public schools in Colorado.
Setting of the Study
Data for this study were collected seven years after the first concern about the
"rising tide of mediocrity" in the schools appeared in A Nation At Risk. Colorados
educators heard the message that it was on the cutting edge of school reform and yet the
media continually reported its dissatisfaction with the schools and particularly with
teacher tenure. An example of the negative public perceptions about tenure is best
typified by an editorial in the Rocky Mountain News suggesting teacher tenure is an
idea that Idi Amin would propose (Idi Amin, 1990). House Bill 1159 came one year
before Colorado's Governor Roy Romer chaired the National Education Goals Panel.
Subsequently, Colorado established Colorado 2000, a list of goals that were to
coincide with the national goals. Governor Romer, in an attempt to align Colorado's
public schools with the goals, asked all Colorado superintendents to find ways to
support those goals. Creativity grants were issued from the office of the Governor to
4


provide incentives for school reform and the Governor promised to remove any
legislation that would stand in the way of creating effective schools.
In some parts of the state, school districts were able to make some significant
changes in the way they provided services to students. In the large school districts
such as Denver Public Schools, Jefferson County Schools, and Colorado Springs
District Eleven, evidence of unrest and poor climate were seeping out as teachers
threatened to strike in Denver and sweeping changes in administrative staff were seen
in many school districts. For some, it was clearly the best of times and for others, the
worst of timesa statement that has been made on the eve of a different, historical
revolution. But for all it was a time of change where professional educators recognized
that they could no longer operate in an environment of "business as usual."
Evolution of the Study
The idea of the study began with my personal experience with the evaluation of
teachers and the cases of nonrenewal and resignation I confronted as a high school
administrator new to the job. I had been a classroom teacher for nineteen years prior to
becoming a school administrator and as a teacher my own experience with evaluation
was sketchy. I had been formally evaluated three times during those years. The
evaluative process was stressful and yielded little helpful information. Evaluations
were done as a pro-forma exercise and so they rarely made significant changes in the
level of professional practice within the teaching ranks. I can recall only one situation
in the nineteen years I was in the classroom where a teacher in my academic department
was dismissed. That teacher was a probationary teacher whose performance was
evaluated both by her administrator and her peers. She was eventually counseled out
5


of teaching. In another case, a teacher was retained after a lengthy tenure dismissal
where the district attempted to fire her under the criteria of "incompetence." Her peers
saw her as a poor teacher and remarked that she was the "only teacher in the state of
Colorado who had been declared legally competent to teach." As teachers we were
disappointed with both the process and the results of this attempt at a tenure firing.
Within the first three years as an assistant principal, I evaluated the lion's share
of the faculty of a new high school in Southern Colorado. During that time, two
tenured teachers were transferred to other buildings, one tenured teacher resigned, and
two probationary teachers were non-renewed. Of these five teachers, I directly
supervised four of them. All of the tenured teachers were considered unsatisfactory.
Therefore, I began to collect observable data for a possible dismissals. I also worked
closely with the principal on the fifth teacher I did not directly supervise to provide a
second opinion after his initial observations. All of these events took place prior to the
enactment of House Bill 1159.
The detailed documentation necessary to prove a teacher is not doing a
competent job requires several hours of classroom observation time, several teacher
conferences and wait-time to determine whether the teacher makes improvements based
on the suggestions given by the supervisor. Although I have not experienced the actual
court proceedings in a tenure dismissal, according to the law and to those who can
testify to the experience, the legal process is lengthy and cumbersome. The need for
clarification of the criteria for teacher dismissal and the need to streamline the process
of teacher dismissal were apparent to school administrators, school board members and
teachers across the state.
Prior to House Bill 1159, the state legislature enacted House Bill 1338
6


specifically designed to address teacher evaluation practices. Here again, I found a lack
of clearly defined criteria for teacher dismissal. I began to investigate the impact which
public policy had on teacher effectiveness in the classroom. The intent of my original
study was to determine what, if any, positive impact House Bill 1338 had on teacher
efficacy. As I got closer to formulating my thesis, the Colorado legislature pre-empted
my original research plan by passing House Bill 1159 which declared the 1967 Teacher
Tenure Act null and void and amended House Bill 1338 "to require that evaluators hold
a Type D and have completed CDE-approved training in evaluation skills" (Ruckel,
1990). Therefore, my study took a sharp turn toward how the policy of House Bill
1159 was formulated and what implications this process may have on educational
reform. The evolution of the study began with the impact public policy had on teacher
efficacy in the classroom and ended with the study of the formulation of public policy
and how the that process affects the politics of educational reform. Because this
process happened so quickly and under unusual circumstances, a policy formulation
study seemed to offer some interesting insight into how we as educators got to where
we are through the legislative process.
Statement of the Problem
The general problem of this study is two-fold concerning both the nature of the
educational policy formulation process and the impact of the policy on school reform.
First, what was the impact of this policy formulation process on the policy itself?
Second, if the goal of public policy in education is the means to a broader goal, i.e.,
school reform, did the formulation of House Bill 1159 provide insights into a new way
of formulating public policy to achieve that end? The process of policy formulation is
7


often muddled and issues presented by special interest groups rarely take fully into
account adequate problem identification and definition before formulating the policy.
Thus, policy will tend to reflect the beliefs of the most powerful and influential interest
group and ignore problems that result from a policy that failed to take all issues into
account (Kingdon, 1984; Polsby, 1984). In Colorado, battle lines formed between
teachers and administrators over teacher tenure because past attempts at tenure reform
failed to take into account the issues of these two interest groups. Historically, the
solutions to the tenure issues benefitted the interests of one group at the expense of the
interests of the other group. This no-win situation resulted in increasing mistrust
between teachers and administrators and widened the gap of disagreement
In Colorado, significant issues of tenure reform centered on the complaints
primarily from special interest groups. Many public school administrators complained
to policymakers that dismissing tenured teachers who are "recalcitrant and unqualified"
is next to impossible. Calhan Superintendent of Schools Dennis Disario testified
before the House State Affairs Committee that the cost of firing a
teacher$125,000was equal to 10% of the small school district's entire 1987
budget {House Journal, 1990). Budget limitations in school districts, the cost of the
tenure dismissal process in both time and money, the public's perception that tenure
guarantees a job for life, and the lack of administrative evaluation skills in the dismissal
process gave rise to the overwhelming need to reform the teacher tenure law (Difford,
1991; Fitzgerald, 1992; Frazier, 1992; Morris, 1992).
Also, in the 1950s, tenure laws in Colorado were created to deal with perceived
abuses of dismissal practices and protection of academic freedom (Adkins, 1990;
Frazier, 1992; Heaton, 1983). Teachers were dismissed for reasons unrelated to their
8


jobs. Since the 1950s and before House Bill 1159, tenure laws began to focus on the
. .permissible reasons for terminating teachers and the processes or procedures
whereby termination may legally be effectuated. As a general proposition, termination
for non-job related reasons are not permitted (Damas, 1986).
In 1984, the legislature passed House Bill 1338, a bill that mandated all
administrators would be evaluated on their evaluation practices. It was the perception of
the members of the General Assembly that administrators were either unable or
unwilling to do an adequate job of evaluating teachers (Ruckel, 1990). Therefore, the
bill attempted to resolve the questions about administrators' ability to evaluate teachers
effectively by linking teacher evaluation directly to the administratorsjob perfomance
evaluation. The statute only required more frequent teacher evaluations for all
teachers. The statute did not require any kind of training for administrators nor did it
suggest additional criteria for teacher dismissal. It was the hope of the legislators that if
administrators did their jobs effectively and efficiently, then the due process of teacher
dismissal would go more smoothly. By 1990, however, it was clear that most school
districts across the state were not in compliance with this law (Difford, 1991).
Administrators argued that the reason for non-compliance was that the dismissal
process was too costly and time consuming.
Practicing administrators often find it difficult to dismiss a teacher whose
performance is unsatisfactory. Dismissal at best is an unpleasant task and the
ramifications of the supervisory and the dismissal process make administrators eschew
dismissal unless the teacher's instructional practices leave the administrator no other
choice. But the dismissal process is so distasteful that most administrators will look
for an alternative to dismissal rather than appear in court For example, administrators
9


will attempt to "counsel out" an unqualified teacher, to transfer the teacher to another
job away from students, or to live with a less than "satisfactory" performance if the
remediation plan mandated by law should fail (Difford, 1991; Fox, 1991; Stamper,
1990).
The barrier to tenure reform, then, is the lack of trust between teachers and
administrators. Teachers have feared for their jobs and history has indicated that then-
fears are justified. In the teachers' minds administrators do not have adequate
evaluation skills and often dismiss arbitrarily or capriciously. Administrators have
found the teacher dismissal process unwieldly and costly in time and money. Thus,
administrators do not always follow due process requirements or, more simply, just
ignore the problem. If public schools are to be reformed, teachers must be trusted to
do a good job in the classroom and administrators must be trusted to evaluate fairly and
dismiss according to appropriate due process.
The issues described above are the issues that had been significant barriers to
legislation in the eleven years prior to 1990 as the legislature attempted to reform
tenure. However, in 1990, these legislative barriers were apparently overcome and
House Bill 1159 passed through the legislature with what seemed to be very little
difficulty. This study attempted to find out why these barriers did not impede the
policy formulation process in 1989 whereas barriers had existed in the previous eleven
years, why there was apparent agreement among the special interest groups and who
were the significant people instrumental in making this policy happen.
Rationale
The structure of educational practice in public schools often develops in
10


response to pressure from legislation and governmental directives. In fact, "scholars
have had little Opportunity until recentiy to analyze the legislative initiation of structural
reforms, because relatively few laws of this sort were enacted..." (Mazzoni, 1991, p.
115). Structural reform in education takes place in a political environment where
everybody gets a little bit of something, but the more important concern may be the
quality of the reform solution. Not only is it significant to address the policy
formulation process, but it is equally important to examine the policy as an end product
of the process.
Little research exists on the process of education policy formulation. For many
years, educators have operated under the old adage "keep politics out of education and
education out of politics." The reason for this is most people, educators included,
don't know how the policy formulation process happens and there is no theory to
support a clearly defined process. "In short, despite the flood of 'politics of
education..., there is still no overarching general theory that generates hypotheses that
could be tested by acceptable methods in the crucible of political experiences" (Wirt &
Kirst, 1982, p. 27). Weiss investigated the importance of problem definition as an
important discussion which may provide both stability and flexibility throughout the
policy process, but she has also recognized that after the analysts have moved on,
".. .the problem definition may or may not take hold among policymakers. If it does
take hold, it may or may not lead to changes in decisions, institutions, or behavior"
(Weiss, 1989, p. 113). Policy analysts agree that the purpose of studying the policy
formulation process is that it may provide insight into the initiation of future policies
(Brewer & deLeon, 1983; Kingdon, 1984; Polsby, 1984; Weiss, 1989).
The models developed by John W. Kingdon in Agendas, Alternatives and
11


Public Policies (1984) and by Nelson Polsby in Political Innovation in America: The
Politics of Policy Initiation (1984) will provide a useful theoretical framework to
explain how the policy formulation process works and by examining the formulation of
House Bill 1159, the findings of this study will have the potential to contribute to a
theory on educational policy formulation. House Bill 1159 is the replacement for the
1967 Tenure Act, which involved the termination of one policy and the beginning of
another. DeLeon (1978) described how policies are generally terminated:
Unless the status quo is generally recognized as pernicious or dysfunctional,
an alternative course of action will have little initial support. Termination
processes have seldom been exercised unless the target was extremely weak
and isolated, without powerful allies.. .or unless the consequences of
permitting a policy to continue were consensually seen to run counter to the
society's preference, (p. 379)
Although the reform of teacher tenure in Colorado had previously been unsuccessful,
teacher tenure had become "extremely weak and isolated, without powerful allies" and
was seen "to run counter to the society's preference" (deLeon, 1978, p.379). This
study, however, is limited to the policy formulation process only as a new beginning
rather than an investigation of the termination of one policy and the beginning of
another.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to analyze the formulation of House Bill 1159
according to specific aspects of John W. Kingdon's (1984) and Nelson Polsby's
(1984) policy formulation models. These two models both used case studies to
12


provide a representative picture of policy formulation processes. The formulation
process for House Bill 1159 will be compared and contrasted to specific aspects of
these two models. Additionally, because the formulation of this policy was as
important as the policy it produced, the case study method was primarily used to
analyze and describe events between the summer of 1989 and April 24,1990.
The Conceptual Framework
An analysis of the theoretical models of policy formulation has shown that the
process is often complex, unclear and muddled (Cohen, March, & Olsen, 1972;
Kingdon, 1984; Lindblom, 1959; Polsby, 1984). Kingdon (1984) argued that
political scientists know very little about how issues come to governmental agendas,
how alternatives are generated and agreed upon by decision makers, and why some
issues never get to the policy agenda at all. Nevertheless, some specific characteristics
of the policy formulation process have emerged that appear to be consistent within
these theoretical models that will be used to bound and guide this study.
In his description of the policy formulation process, Kingdon (1984) argued
that ideas come from anywhere, that their origins are uncertain, that there are no leaders
in any particular subject, and that policy formulation comes from a highly complex
process that is a combination of many factors. He further claimed that little rational
decision making occurs and that more often than not, the solutions formed in policy
come before problems have been clarified. Because the House Bill 1159 as a document
ended teacher tenure in Colorado and because previous attempts at tenure reform were
so readily defeated, the first question one could ask is how could this kind of a
document come from a process that is muddled, complex, and unclear? Second, was
13


the process used to formulate House Bill 1159 as muddled as he suggested it might be?
Another aspect of the policy was that tenure was completely removed from the
law. Polsby (1984) has talked about the need for agreement in the decision-making
sub-culture to exist before policy can be agreed upon. In all previous attempts at tenure
reform the teachers union, The Colorado Education Association (CEA), had blocked
any threat to tenure. And yet, they participated in this process, so the issue of
agreement in the decision making sub-culture merits investigation. Further, who were
the key players who reached agreement to this policy?
Kingdon (1984), on the other hand, described agreement in the political stream
to be within the interest groups, but rarely between the different interest groups. He
described that coalitions form and consensus is reached in the political stream but
primarily through a bargaining process where one side concedes a provision if the other
side is willing to do the same. This bargaining process had been the standard operating
procedure in the previous attempts at tenure reform. But each time, there was no
agreement reached. The bargaining process reached an impasse. Therefore, one could
ask if that same procedure was used to formulate House Bill 1159 as well? If not,
what was different?
Polsby (1984) described the need for public saliency. By this he meant that
some innovations will received a great deal of attention before they are implemented.
Tenure reform had received a great deal of attention from the public prior to the
formulation of House Bill 1159. Because public perception appeared to be a significant
factor in the policy formulation process, the question arose as to how significant is the
public perception factor in relation to the other factors of the key players and the
consensus decision making process. By the public I mean those people who pay for
14


education and vote for legislators. Although members of the education community fall
into this category as well because they are taxpayers and voters as well as professional
educators. Therefore, the educators will be separate from the taxpayers and voters in
the interest of clarity for this study.
Thus, this study began with the precepts established by Kingdon (1984) and
Polsby (1984) and will focus on the following concepts taken from their models as a
framework to bound and guide the study:
Muddled policy formation
Coalition formation
Problem definition
Solution construction
Consensus decision making
Public saliency
Other studies of educational policy processes may give insights to the importance of
effective policy formulation processes. McLaughlin (1975) found that the process used
to implement Title I programs under the ESEA was essentially a failure. She concluded
that the expectations of the reformers, the information and methodology appropriate to
these expectations and the social program and policy system to which these tools
applied were incongruent. Bailey's study of school finance in the Northeastern states
(1962) found that the political context and the participation of educators in the policy
formulation process are critical to the future of education reform policies. The study of
House Bill 1159 attempted to look at the policy formulation process, rather than the
implementation process, as a way to identify incongruities and provide suggestions for
future practice in the development of sound education reform policies.
15


Research Questions
This study focused on the following research questions:
1. How did a tenure reform bill successfully get to the top of the policy agenda
in 1990, and what roles did the key players have in getting it there?
2. What was the process used to write the bill in order to maintain agreement
among the members of the coalition and also provide fair due process for
teachers?
3. What were the circumstances under which the House and Senate passed the
bill without bringing forth significant changes to the bill?
Answers to these questions lie in the relationships among the key players themselves,
between the key players and the supporting players in the policy formulation
environment, and the relationship between the key players and the legislative
environment.
Organization of the Study
This dissertation contains eight chapters. Chapter 1 presents an overview of the
problem and the purpose of the study. Chapter 2 presents a review of relevant
literature concerning the educational policy reform process and models of the policy
formulation process. Chapter 3 presents the methodology used to conduct the study.
Chapter 4 presents an overview of the history of tenure and creates a context for tenure
reform. Chapters 5,6, and 7 present findings which explain these relationships and
describe the process used to formulate House Bill 1159. Specifically, Chapter 5
presents findings that attempt to answer question one regarding the policy agenda and
the roles of the key players. Chapter 6 presents findings which describe the policy
16


formulation process and the policy content in an attempt to answer question two.
Chapter 7 presents findings which describe the process of ratification of the bill in an
attempt to answer question three. Chapter 8 presents a discussion of the lessons and
insights gained from the study and a synthesis of the policy formulation process.
Limitations of the Study
This study has the following limitations:
This study only examined a single instance of education reform policy.
Interviews and archival documents related only to the events that occurred between the
summer of 1989 and April 24,1990.
Although the theoretical models used to direct this study were based on case
studies of federal legislation, the characteristics of both state and federal government
were similar enough that the models adequately described the policy formulation
process in Colorado during the formulation of House Bill 1159.
This study focused exclusively on the enactment of House Bill 1159 rather
than all previous attempts at tenure reform. These previous attempts at tenure reform
served only as a patterned background over time of the conditions in the policy stream
that led to the passage of House Bill 1159.
This study explored the perceptions of selected participants in the policy
formulation process. Their attitudes toward their experience in the policy formulation
process and the policy they produced provided a limited perspective that may not be

consistent in other policy formulation processes at other times and with different
subject matter.
The information gathered in this study was voluminous and came from
17


multiple sources. This report, however, is limited in that it attempted to bring into
focus those images that were most dominant in the picture. Therefore, the data
gathered here brought a limited perspective to the policy formulation process.
Summary
This chapter presents an overview of the conditions present at the time of the
formulation of House Bill 1159, a statement of the problem, the purpose of the study
and the limitations of the study. Teacher tenure reform in Colorado has risen on the
policy agenda as a result of the public perception that tenure is a roadblock to further
education reform. The study attempted to explore and describe the nature of the policy
formulation process of House Bill 1159, the bill which eliminated tenure from state
statute, and further attempted to determine what impact the process had on the policy of
school reform. The purpose of the study was to examine to policy formulation process
in order to compare and contrast it to the policy models described by Kingdon (1984)
and Polsby (1984). The chapter closes with the caveats that limit the study. Chapter 2
presents an overview of the relevant literature to this study.
18


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Introduction
The purpose of this study was to examine and describe the nature of the policy
formulation process and determine what potential impact the process has on educational
reform. Specifically, the study focused on the relationships between the key players in
the policy formulation process, problem definition and solution construction through
the consensus process, the conditions under which the bill was ratified and the
implications of the findings on directing future policy formulation processes in the area
of school reform. Before it is possible to answer the questions about the formulation
of House Bill 1159 and to determine future implications, it is necessary to examine
how educational policy reforms have impacted the work of teachers and what the
expats have said about the policy formulation process.
This review of the literature will do three things: first, it will summarize the
findings of selected studies on educational policy reforms and the impact they have had
on the work of teachers; second, it will provide a summary of policy formulation
theories as they relate to policy innovation, and third, it will present the models
developed by Kingdon and Polsby that have directed this study. A list of the studies
cited in this review and a list of the salient claims in the policy models follow this
chapter.
19


Education Policy Reform
This case study will begin with conceptualizing policy making as it applies to
education reform issues. That education is the responsibility of the government is not a
new concept In fact, it is one that Aristotle recognized was essential and it is a concept
brought to the United States by the settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony as early as
1642 (Bailey & Mosher, 1968). Since "teachers and teaching work are at the center of
reform thought..." (Murphy, 1991), it would be beneficial to understand some of the
attempts at school reform at the federal, state and local levels as they relate to the work
of teachers.
The law is specific about the need for fairness in formulating public policy:
The law requires fairness in public policy. It requires programs to be free from
discrimination based on race, sex or other inappropriate attributes of employees
and participants. It requires rational decision making. These principles should
guide any sound policy for promoting teacher quality. (Belsches-Simmons &
Bray, 1985, p. 4)
Administrative practices, however, historically have been less than fair as they relate to
the dismissal of teachers that has given impetus to the formulation of tenure policy in
46 of the 50 states (Lockard, 1973). Public policy has been formulated in an effort to
solve the evident problems surrounding the work of teachers and the administrative
practices relative to teacher dismissal.
Generally speaking, laws do not pose barriers to initiatives to improve the
quality of teaching, but legal considerations may affect how initiatives are designed.
Teacher improvement programs must comply with federal and state constitutional
requirements for due process, equal protection, and freedom of speech. State laws
20


regarding collective bargaining and civil rights are also important (Belsches-Simmons
& Bray, 1985).
Educational policy reform designed to affect the work of teachers has largely
been policy concerned with a bureaucratic system used to manage teachers.
Federal, state and local policies may include (1) highly prescriptive curriculum
guidelines that specify teaching practices in great detailand thus point
supervision toward the inspection and monitoring of these practices; (2)
teaching "models" that envision standard teaching routines to be followed for
each lesson; and (3) test-driven instructional strategies that trigger teacher
reviews based on student outcomes. New efforts to aim both teaching and
testing at higher order cognitive skills and performance activities will also affect
teacher supervision. For example, Vermont's efforts to institute portfolios for
examining student progress will also provide indicators of teaching activities;
these indicators will likely influence supervision of teaching. (Darling-
Hammond, 1992, p. 10)
Although there has been a significant increase in state mandates regarding the work of
teachers in general, the lack of mandates regarding teacher supervision and classroom
instruction would indicate that educational reform policies do not directly influence the
work of teachers. There appeared to be two significant reasons for policymakers to
avoid directives that reach directly into the classroom. The first was a more general
philosophical response to government. Generally speaking, policymakers at the federal
and state levels have recognized to some degree that local school boards want local
control. Second, policy mandates that reach directly into the classroom created not
only a local control issue, but they also created a fear that a teacher's academic freedom
21


would be jeopardized (Belsches-Simmons & Bray, 1985; Lockard, 1973; Stem,
1988). Thus, policymakers find themselves between opposing values if they were to
tamper directly with the work of teachers. If they create policies, on the one hand, that
influence the specific work of the teacher in the classroom, they begin to restrict the
good work teachers may already be doing (Darling-Hammond, 1992). On the other
hand, when teachers feel academic freedom is challenged at least in K-12 education,
they rarely have any options open to them. It has become commonplace to expect to be
challenged by pressure groups on the selections of textbooks or to be challenged by
parents who find certain literature offensive. Perhaps the most extreme example of a
pressure group who challenged the textbook and attempted to fire the teacher was the
case in 1926 in Dayton, Tennessee when John Thomas Scopes was on trial for
teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in a biology classroom. Furthermore,
policymakers have not always been clear about what they want to accomplish and local
boards have not always been entirely responsive to mandates coming from the federal
and state levels (Berman & McLaughlin, 1975). Finally, organizations have a practice
of putting solutions in place that address the symptoms of a problem, but often
overlook the fundamental problem and how to address it. The result of this kind of
problem solving process is that it will often take years longer to get to the fundamental
problem because the solutions to the symptoms are standing in the way.
Federal Policy Reforms
Beginning with the Report of the Committee of Ten in 1893, educational policy
reform has been formulated at the federal level in an attempt to meet fluctuating goals.
For example, the Committee of Ten "sought to standardize secondary education for
22


precollegiate students" (Firestone, Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991, p. 234), the Cardinal
Principles focused on students who went to work after high school, school reforms of
the 1950s focused on future scientists and defense, reforms of the 1960s focused on
equality of academic achievement for all students of all races and handicapping
conditions, reforms of the 1970s focused on humanizing education, and the reforms of
the 1980s focused on tightening standards (Bailey & Mosher, 1968; Firestone,
Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991).
ESEA. The federal government's acceptance of responsibility to reform
education formally began, according to McLaughlin (1975), in the 1965 Elementary
and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)a compensatory program to meet the special
educational needs of disadvantaged children and also became a mandate for project
reporting. Two significant issues emerged with the formulation of the ESEA. First,
by asking for local and state education agencies to report how they spent the
government's money, we see a major shift in control from the local to the federal
government in both public and non-public schools, a precedent-setting maneuver.
According to Bailey and Mosher (1968), "ESEA was not just a Federal handout to ease
State and local educational budgets. It mandated a series of programs and priorities
which involved a massive shift in the locus of policy-making power in American
education" (p.3). Second, it was the belief of the reformers that by increasing federal
aid to education and at the same time increasing accountability at the local level would
be a "whip" or a "spur" to reforming education. Senator Robert Kennedy, however,
the most outspoken critic of the act believed that increased funding alone would not
really change what local agencies actually did to help kids, i.e., local school systems
were unwilling to "change their habits." Thus, Senator Kennedy would only support
23


the bill as long as tough evaluation amendments were also included in the bill because
he believed the poor parents of the disadvantaged children had a right to know what the
programs were doing for the kids.
The bill, however, was supported by a very fragile consensus of educators who
were somewhat naive about the political process used to form educational policy. After
all, in 1965 educators had never seen much federal interference in the work they did.
Supporters of the ESEA knew that the evaluation amendments would never be
supported by the educators because educators become very defensive when they hear
words like "evaluation and accountability." In a covert move to keep the educators
from knowing about Kennedy's evaluation amendments, Commissioner of Education
Francis Keppel instructed his aide, Samuel Halperin, to give the amendments to a naive
legislator, John Brademas, who was also a member of the Carl Perkins Executive
Subcommittee, without explanation as to what they were. Brademas believed the
amendments were "perfecting amendments" which did not substantially change the act.
As Keppel and Halperin hoped, the amendments were slipped into legislation without
the notice of the professional interest groups and the ESEA was passed with the
amendments intact and never debated by either the House or the Senate (McLaughlin,
1975).
With this sleight-of-hand trick, the Commissioner and the legislators may have
won the battle, but in the long run they lost the war. McLaughlin's study in 1975
found that the ESEA, one of the first attempts at education reform, was a dismal
failure. The reformers had hoped that through tougher evaluation measures, programs
would become more accountable and therefore more effective. Problems with
implementation made the bill a failure before the ink was dry. Ineffective
24


administration in the Office of Education, reassurance from the top levels of
administration that evaluation would not affect the local school programs and that the
promise that no punitive action would be taken as a result of a negative evaluation failed
to convey the intent of the legislation. Instead, educators believed it was business as
usual.
Although the ESEA failed largely because of problems in implementation, the
process used to formulate the policy had serious flaws because the process did not
allow for clarification of the problem inherent in the need for the policy in the first
place. Further, because it did not allow for public debate on the issues, those charged
with enforcement of the law, didn't believe the evaluation component was any different
from what educators were already doing.
Federal Program Implementation. Berman and McLaughlin (1975) in a study
of federal programs that support educational change found that often federal policy was
a kind of "mutual adaptation wherein local educational agencies (LEAs) and state
educational agencies (SEAs) worked together to make the external requirements fit the
local conditions. In Colorado we have seen this phenomenon sift down from the
federal to the SEAs to the LEAs through the various levels of educational bureaucracy.
For example, the National Goals developed in 1991 were adopted by the Colorado 2000
program which in turn were adopted by most school districts in Colorado. The LEAs
are attempting to comply with these goals by creatively and inventively trying new
ideas and writing for state-supported grants to get the funds to put these ideas into
place. For example, the Governor's Creativity Grant in Colorado invites schools to
compete for a $5000 award to implement an innovative idea in school reform.
There is no question that Congress and the Executive Branch have the power
25


and the resources to create federal policy designed to reform education. Evidence from
these studies would indicate that rarely do the policies reform education because of
poor policy design (Pressman &Wildavsky, 1984). First, as Senator Kennedy
predicted with the ESEA, schools are unwilling to change their habits unless they have
new incentives to do so. Historically, increased funding to education has not been an
incentive and stricter reporting guidelines produce frustration with the excessive
paperwork, but do not increase the effectiveness of the programs. Second, social
problems are so complex that the solutions are reduced to simplistic calls for action
with no ability to do anything about it Third, the legislative machinery is large,
complex and breaks down frequently. This massive size also makes it possible to
manipulate the process so that the quality of the product it produces is often inferior and
ineffective.
State Policy Reforms
Moving from the federal to the state level, the process of formulating
educational reform policy doesn't get much better. Some studies, however, indicate
that the closer the policy process is to the problem, the better the process and the
product. For example, the ability of professional educators to enter the political arena
seems to impact the quality of the policy product.
State Aid to Education. Bailey, Frost, Marsh, and Wood (1962) investigated
state aid to education in the Northeastern states and determined the old adage "keep
politics out of education and education out of politics" is impossible if education in the
United States is to survive. They found that the following factors impact significantly
the policy process related to school finance: the political context of the policy process,
26


the politics of taxation, and the differentiated leadership of special interest groups.
They concluded that, "The future of public education will not be determined by public
need alone. It will be determined by those who can translate public need into public
policyby schoolmen in politics" (p. 108). The need for educators to work together
with legislators, state education agencies, governors, businessmen and policy
entrepreneurs in the political arena has become obvious since World War n. However,
the lack of trust between teachers and administrators, lopsided political parties and the
lack of adequate focus on the problems at hand have kept educators, not necessarily out
of politics, but unwilling to use the political system effectively to bring about reforms
in education.
Tuition Tax Credits. Anderson (1983), who studied the policy process used
with the Minnesota tuition tax credit initiatives, found that political bargaining was not
as effective as political persuasion and symbolic action that often pervades emotional
issues such as individual versus institutional rights in formulating public policy. She
further found that a single interest group which persists over time in supporting a
policy initiative can be a powerful strategy in the policy process in toppling more
powerful influences. This is not to say that the single interest group can act completely
without the support of others, but it must also engage persons with positional power
and the appropriate resources to ensure success of the initiative.
Career Ladder Reform. Malen and Hart (1987) studied the impact teachers had
on Utah's career ladder reform policy and found that teachers, through their
professional associations, exert considerable influence over the policy making process.
In this policy formulation process, the governor, the policy entrepreneur and the
Education Reform Steering Committee (ERSC), a politically powerful committee
27


mandated to examine expenditures in education and teacher compensation, were on
opposite sides of the bargaining table from the Utah Education Association (UEA) on
the matter of career ladder reform. The governor had denied the UEA a place on the
ERSC because the UEA has strongly opposed the career ladder on the basis that it was
simply a euphemism for merit pay which the association said allowed the state to treat
teachers arbitrarily and capriciously. As a result of the UEA being shut out of critical
decision making processes, they managed to disrupt and delay negotiation proceedings
until they could secure a place in the center of the reform coalition. Legislators
recognized that "without teacher cooperation nothing good would happen" (p. 8).
Finally, the UEA was brought into the process. The result was that the UEA managed
to shift the decision making agenda to their own interests which eventually became
public policy. The UEA managed to keep the career ladder reform out of the law by
putting pressure on legislators until the legislators backed off from the idea. The
outcome seemed to be in this case a victory for teachers.
Reform Efforts in Six States. During the five year period following the 1983
publication of A Nation at Risk, the Center for Policy Research in Education (CPRE)
investigated six states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota and
Pennsylvania) and found three themes that have emerged from efforts to reform
American education:
1. Emphasis was placed on increased academic content through a curriculum
more focused on major academic areas... The preferred vehicles for
providing access to more content were increased course requirements,
increased student testing, the establishment of curriculum standards, and
the alignment of curriculum frameworks, tests, and textbooks.
28


2. Teacher professionalization was introduced.. .which stressed changes in
licensure requirements and compensation to recruit and retain the best...
[andl shifted to "restructuring" education to give teachers a greater role in
such decisions as hiring, staff evaluation, and curriculum____
3. A reprise of the equity theme.. .in measuring and reducing the dropout
rate, providing services for at-risk youths, expanding early childhood
education, and attending to urban schools______(Firestone, Fuhrman, &
Kirst, 1991, p. 235)
Since that time, as evidenced by conflicting recent ballot issues in Colorado to, on the
one hand, raise sales tax to fund schools and, on the other hand, limit the ability to
raise property tax to fund public schools, issues of adequate funding in depressed
economies are accelerating the need for reform that is observable and worth more to the
taxpaying public.
The CPRE study during that same five year period between 1983 and 1988
investigated how states and local districts responded to policy mandates. The study
drew seven conclusions regarding state-attempted school reform:
1. States were most responsive to providing more academic content and to
those aspects of professionalization dealing with changes in certification
and compensation. (Firestone, Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991, p. 235)
The CPRE study found that the most pervasive change was in teacher policy regarding
salaries and certification requirements. Twenty-seven states set a minimum grade point
average for entering teachers and 46 states require some kind of certification test.
Between 1980 and 1988, teacher salaries increased 22%. The organization of
instruction and teacher decision roles received less attention, instead of focusing on
29


such programs as career ladders and merit pay which are often met with teacher
resistance (Firestone, Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991). Another survey reported in the
Chronicle of Higher Education found that between 1986 and 1988, four states had
reported no change in teacher certification requirements; 11 states had developed a
system of alternative certification; 38 states had some kind of testing procedures at
either an entrance or exit point from certification programs; 11 states had increased
incentives for bright or minority students; and six states had increased hours in
certification credits, student teaching and GPA for entering the teacher certification
program {Chronicle of Higher Education, 1988).
2. States' responses to national reform targets reflected local political culture.
(Firestone, Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991, p. 237)
State context apparently had more to do with the degree of reform than the kinds of
reforms the states attempted. Generally speaking, states that had been able to make
comprehensive, large-scale reform did so again and those that lacked experience in
comprehensive reform did not initiate it during the 1980s. Mistrust within the states'
political culture resulted in specific mandates and partisan politics directly determined
whether or not reform policies would be formulated and implemented at all (Firestone,
Fuhrman, & Kirst 1991; Peterson & Rabe, 1983).
The other five conclusions from the CPRE study found that reform tended to
also take the path of least resistance, the same conclusion previously reached by
Berman and McLaughlin (1975) at the federal level:
3. States tended to focus on the more manageable recommendations.
4. Most state reform packages lacked coherence.
5. States are continuing to work on reform, but there is no clear shift in
30


direction from the first wave of reform to the second.
6. The easy reforms that were adopted have stayed in place.
7. Expansion of the economy facilitated reform, but was not a complete
explanation of it. (Firestone, Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991, pp. 237-241)
The CPRE study suggested three conclusions from the data gathered in the five
year study of the six states regarding the LEA response to SEA initiatives:
1. There was very little resistance to the reforms related to increased academic
content, however, implementation of these reforms had some negative side
effects. (Firestone, Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991, p. 243)
Again, the work of the teacher was largely ignored in school reform. Districts seemed
to have no difficulty adding courses and increasing graduation requirements because it
was of little cost to the system and generally reinforced current district practices.
However, the efforts to raise standards also raised confusion as to what those
standards would be. More courses were added with little expectation of what should
be taught and others added cburses that dealt with course work in specific areas such as
drug education. "By 1988,73% of high schools had adopted stricter attendance
policies, 69% used no pass-no play policies, and 97% enforced stricter student conduct
policies" (Firestone, Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991, p. 243).
2. Much of the progress on the restructuring agenda has resulted from district
initiatives.. .[such as] site-based management, usually including teachers;
shared decision making at the district level; and sometimes innovative
approaches to inservice.
3. Some districts are actively orchestrating various state policies around local
31


priorities in order to achieve local priorities. (Firestone, Fuhrman, & Kirst,
1991, p. 243)
LEAs have a tendency to minimize their responses to mandates or at best make
their responses mutually adaptable rather than making extensive change (Berman &
McLaughlin, 1975; Firestone, Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991; Fuhrman, Clune, & Elmore,
1988). For example, the study showed some states set policy to hire large numbers of
teachers, others are using a merit schools program to support site-based management,
others are using incentives to overcome teacher attrition and still others are increasing
the graduation requirements. "Whatever the mechanism involved, teachers reported that
testing programs had a greater impact on their behavior in class than did curricular
changes, especially changes involving increased course requirements" (Firestone,
Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991, p. 244).
School reform based on the CPRE study has a "good news/bad news" result.
The good news is that graduation requirements have increased, teacher education
programs are more selective, teacher salaries are higher, and LEAs and SEAs have
increased funding to education. The bad news is that these solutions are only
symptom solutions and not fundamental solutions to education's problems. School
reform of the future has only one agenda: improving teaching and learning for all. So
far, the policy mandates that have been studied disregard the need to match the policy to
the problem and coordinate reform policies (Firestone, Fuhrman, & Kirst, 1991).
Lessons from Past Legislative Practice
The findings from the cited studies on educational policy formulation give both
educators and policymakers food for thought if they examine past practices in order to
32


chart a course for future policy making. There has been much research on the politics
of school reform, but there has been very little research done to analyze the legislative
initiation of structural reforms in education (Mazzoni, 1991). Topics in the area of
school reform cover four very broad and general areas: equity, school governance,
teaching and learning and economics of education (Mitchell, 1984). These topics are
offered as compelling solutions to vague, ill-defined problems in schools. These topics
center on beliefs of what we "should" be doing in schools. For example, all students
should have access to a fair, and equitable education; distribution of resources and
power should be handled fairly; teachers must teach so children can learn; etc. How
these solutions should be implemented and what problem in education these solutions
address is still confusing, muddled and unclear (Kingdon, 1984; Lindblom, 1959;
Mazzoni, 1991).
Lessons from past legislative practices include the following:
Policymakers can learn that not all of their expectations for education reform
will be realized when a reform policy becomes law. Examples of failed hopes lie in the
fact that the law may not really directly address the social ills the law was designed to
correct. Too often the social problems are vast and complex and the laws become
simple solutions to complex problems. The best example of this situation in the
literature was the ESEA.
Policymakers can learn that not all of the law may be implemented as it was
originally intended. Laws made in Washington, D.C. are a long way away from the
problems facing teachers in the classrooms. Policy must sift down through multi-
layers of bureaucracies. Like the children's gossip game, what started out as one idea
at the top, ends up to be something entirely different at the bottom. Berman and
33


McLaughlin (1975) found that when the policies have to go through multi-layers of
SEAs and LEAs, by the time for implementation comes, even the most dedicated
professionals will interpret the situation so that the changes are the simplest or most
convenient
Policymakers can learn that just because they say it, doesn't make it so.
Policies that are poorly formulated or lack clout are often ignored. Policies act as
mandates, but when they are far removed from the actual practice, practitioners will
either ignore them, forget about them, misunderstand them or refuse to comply with
them. Unless there is an enforcement factor, it is highly unlikely the bill will be
implemented. The ESEA and Berman and McLaughlin's studies both found that the
law specifically mandated that evaluation of local projects would be done. For
example, when educators began to question the evaluation process in the ESEA, the
program administrators told the educators just continue to do what they were doing and
no punitive action would be taken in the event of a poor evaluation (Bailey and Mosher,
1968; Berman and McLaughlin 1975; McLaughlin, 1975).
Policymakers can learn that time and resources may be needed to provide for
proper implementation of the policy. Failure to understand those needs during policy
formulation may make implementation impossible. When the ESEA was signed into
law, there were no competent personnel available to manage the mandate, guidelines
had to be written in less than a month, and the Office of Education, manager of the law,
was seen as a poor stepchild without legislative support or purpose (Bailey and
Mosher, 1968; McLaughlin, 1975; Pressman & Wildavsky, 1984).
Educators can learn from past legislative practices that they have an obligation
to become politically active in the policy formulation process. They are the experts on
34


the work they do, they know the ins and outs of the problem and they can assist in the
develop of effective policymaking. Bailey et al. (1962) found that the work of
professionals in the policy process was critical to the development of financial aid
policy in order to provide equity. Malen and Hart (1987) found that even though
teacher unions often blocked legislative policy, educators exert a powerful influence in
the legislative process.
Educators can learn from past legislative practices that policy formulation is
political. The political process, even in the largest machinery, can be manipulated by
people who know how to use the system effectively. On the one hand, the fact that the
educators were shut out of any debate on the evaluation amendments of the ESEA, is
clearly an example of the supreme naivete often found within the special interest groups
(McLaughlin, 1975). On the other hand, educators in Minnesota learned that some
special interest groups who have the persistence of will to win will win because they
learned to effectively use the process with persuasive speech and symbolic action that
pulls at the heart strings of the public (Anderson, 1983). Further, even from outside
the political machinery, manipulation is possible from the special interest groups
(Malen & Hart, 1987).
Both policymakers and educators can learn to limit the power of both the
legislators and the special interest groups in making policy. The CPRE study (1991)
found that there are certain areas of policy making that are within bounds and certain
policy areas that are out-of-bounds. For example teacher professionalism is within
bounds, increased academic content is out-of-bounds because it may be seen as an
infringement on academic freedom. Policies must also be fair and may not take away
35


or infringe upon rights previously established by the Constitution (Belsches-Simmons
& Bray, 1985).
Both policymakers and educators can learn about the manipulative tendencies
of their opponents. Neither the policymakers nor the educators are immune to the
temptation to manipulate the system in order to get what they want McLaughlin
(1975) found that policymakers were guilty of sleight-of-hand tricks to get their
interests into the law, while Malen and Hart (1987) found that teacher unions can be
guilty of outright disruption of the democratic process in order to be included in the
process. Both groups have contributed to the mistrust of the other, thus making
cooperation between these groups difficult and highly unlikely.
Educational policy formulation processes did not evolve only as a result of
these particular past policy practices. Experts have studied policy formulation in other
arenas and found that policy formulation is the same there. By examining the theories
of the policy analysts who have investigated numerous policy processes, it is possible
to predict with a high degree of accuracy what policymakers will continue to do in
formulating policy.
Policy Formulation Processes
"The way a person perceives reality is itself unreal, being shaped as it is by the
limits of intellect and distorted by the peculiarities of identity and experience. No two
individuals will see, comprehend, or value identical events in identical ways" (Brewer
& deLeon, 1983). Beginning with this premise, it is no surprise to anyone that
conflict, confusion, misperception and chaos often muddle a decision-making process.
When we apply this fundamental truth to the policy making process, it is a small
wonder policies are made at all.
36


Kingdon (1984) asked, "But what make an idea's time come?" (p.l). In the
policy formulation process, "What makes people in and around government attend, at
any given time, to some subjects and not to others?" (p.l). As we look at one isolated
example of the tenure bills in Colorado over the last 40 years, there is no clear reason
why events happened exactly as they did. Respondents to the question, "Why did it
happen now?" often look up, shrug their shoulders and bluntly say, "I don't know."
When a subject gets hot, it is not easy to determine why. Public policies come and go
and get determined by votes and vetoes, but the fact that they get on an agenda at all is
not completely understood (Kingdon, 1984). The best we can do is study the process
and draw conclusions based on the theories currently available to us. Perhaps then, the
study of the policy process in this case will "add to the general collection of methods
and concepts for future use" (Brewer & deLeon, 1983, p. 11).
Brewer and deLeon: The Foundations of Policy Process
Brewer and deLeon (1983) described a six-phase policy process. The first
three phases comprise the formulation process, i.e., the point at which a decision is
made or a policy is enacted into law. The formulation part of the policy process is the
boundary which will be drawn for this case study.
Phase Characteristics
Initiation Creative thinking about a problem.
Definition of objectives.
Innovative option design.
Tentative and preliminary exploration of concepts, claims
and possibilities.
37


Estimation
Thorough investigation of concepts and claims.
Scientific examination of impacts; e.g., of continuing to do
nothing and for each considered intervention option.
Normative examination of likely consequences.
Development of program outlines.
Establishment of expected performance criteria and
indicators.
Selection Debate of possible options.
Compromises, bargains, and accommodations.
Reduction of uncertainty about options.
Integration of ideological and other nonrational elements of
decision.
Decisions among options.
Assignment of executive responsibility. (Brewer & deLeon,
1983, p. 20)
The final three stages of the policy process are implementation, evaluation and
termination. The foundations model is a kind of logical and rational road map of how
the policy process works. Kingdon (1984) said the case studies he used for his model
did not have the flavor of a rational or comprehensive approach because the
participants are not solving problems but instead pushing for "given proposals,
developing information about the problems they are supposedly solving along the way
as a means of justifying their position" (pp. 82-83). This is not to say, according to
Kingdon, that "the processes are irrational: They may be just about as orderly as
human beings can make them, under the circumstances" (p. 83). Even Brewer and
deLeon commented on the rationality of their model, "There is nothing quite so
38


irrationaland misguidedas approaches that claim to be rational and then operate as
if the world ought to be the sameneat, simple and orderly (p.23).
Lindblom: Successive Limited Comparisons (Incrementalism!
Lindblom (1959) described a model of incrementalism called "Successive
Limited Comparisons" model. In this model, Lindblom argued that decision makers
make small, marginal adjustments in policies. Incrementalism is used for certain kinds
of decisions that reflect marginal adjustments, but where there is no previous
experience or existing policy, how does one go from nothing to a policy (Brewer &
deLeon, 1983)? The answer is that policies are not generated out of the clear blue sky.
Instead, according to Lindblom, administrators make decisions according to the
following steps:
Administrator receives a charge to formulate policy.
Administrator brainstorms, values and prioritizes them.
Administrator realizes values are in conflict and adjusts or compromises in
certain areas based on what is most important at the moment.
Administrator outlines those policy alternatives that occur to him. -
Administrator evaluates the alternatives as they combine or recombine the
values and the objectives.
Administrator chooses the final alternative as the one that would best combine
the values and the method of reaching the values.
The result of this particular practice is that the administrator will continue to repeat this
process several times as conditions change and the accuracy of prediction improves.
Unfortunately, the literature of decision making and policy formulation suggest that this
39


is a futile way to make decisions, but they also recognize it is impossible to generate all
the possible sources of information and all the possible policy alternatives in order to
achieve the best outcome.
Lindblom compared his Successive Limited Comparisons model to the
Rational-Comprehensive model:
Rational-Comprehensive
la. Clarification of values or objectives distinct from and usually prerequisite
to empirical analysis of alternative policies.
2a. Policy formulation is therefore approached through means-end analysis:
First the ends are isolated, then the means to achieve them are sought.
3a. The test of a "good" policy is that it can be shown to be the most
appropriate means to desired ends.
4a. Analysis is comprehensive; every important relevant factor is taken into
account.
5a. Theory is often heavily relied upon.
Successive Limited Comparisons
lb. Selection of value goals and empirical analysis of the needed action are not
distinct from one another but are closely intertwined.
2b. Since means and ends are not distinct, means-end analysis is often
inappropriate or limited.
3b. The test of a "good" policy is typically that various analysts find
themselves directly agreeing on a policy (without their agreeing that it is the
most appropriate means to an agreed objective).
4b. Analysis is drastically limited:
40


i) Important possible outcomes are neglected.
ii) Important alternative potential policies are neglected.
iii) Important affected values are neglected.
5b. A succession of comparisons greatly reduces or eliminates reliance on
theory (Lindblom, 1959, p. 81).
The disadvantage of the rational-comprehensive model is that in complex social
problems there is very little agreement in the first step of what the critical values or
objectives should be. Because it is impossible to generate agreement and upon what
grounds agreement should be reached, "administrators often are reduced to deciding
policy without clarifying objectives first" (Lindblom, 1959, p. 82). Further, because
individuals will find conflicting values that they cannot resolve even within themselves,
administrators must choose directly among alternatives that offer different marginal
combinations of values. Therefore, "evaluation and empirical analysis are intertwined
and one chooses among values and among policies at one and the same time" (p. 82).
In the rational model, the means-ends relationship is possible only as far as the
values are agreed upon first. Since that is usually not the case, means and ends are also
chosen at the same time. Also, in the rational model, it is assumed that if a decision
reaches a particular objective, it is "good." Since there is no standard for correctness or
a clearly identified problem, the contestants cannot agree on the criteria for what is
"good," but they can agree on specific proposals for solutions. Hence, the agreement
is not on whether the policy met its objectives because the objectives have no ultimate
validity other than they were agreed upon. Therefore, agreement is the "best test" for
"good" policy.
The human mind cannot completely practice the rational-comprehensive model
41


because it cannot possibly comprehend all that is important in analysis. Therefore, a
division of labor is created and watchdogs are installed to inspect the labor and to
protect the interests in their jursidiction by redressing damages done by other agencies
and by heading off injury before it occurs. Thus, if the decision is only incremental, it
is easier to anticipate injury before it occurs.
Finally, policy is not made once and for all. Policy changes as new information
comes forward or as the decision makers reconsider it It is a very rough process
which manages to allow administrators to avoid disaster though a series of incremental
changes. From this process it is possible to learn from past mistakes, it is possible to
avoid big jumps toward goals that would require impossible predictions of risk, and it
is possible to test previous predictions as the process moves forward.
Kingdon found that incrementalism did occur in his interview process, but felt
the incremental approach did not apply well to changes in agendas. Kingdon argued,
"But interest does not gradually build in this fashion. Instead of incremental agenda
change, a subject rather suddenly 'hits,' 'catches on,' or 'takes off.' After decades of
thinking about the problem, a sudden flurry of interest.. .produces a program within
two years (Kingdon, 1984, p. 85). Lindblom's concept of "muddling through,"
however, has many striking similarities to Kingdons primeval soup and the problem
and policy streams.
Cohen. March, and Olsen: Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice
Cohen, March, and Olsen (1972) developed a metaphor to describe how
problems and solutions are connected. The Garbage Can Model of Organizational
Choice can best be described as an organized anarchy characterized by problematic
42


preferences, unclear technology and fluid participation. These characteristics are a part
of any organization at least part of the time. Organized anarchy was defined as
"collections of choices looking for problems, issues and feelings looking for decision
situations in which they might be aired, solutions looking for issues to which they
might be an answer and decision makers looking for work (Cohen, March, & Olsen,
1972, p. 2). Kingdon discussed this particular model in depth and agreed the Garbage
Can Model is not a rational model as those described above, but he revised the Garbage
Can model to fit into his concept of how the federal government works, particularly in
the setting of agendas. It is at this point he expanded the Garbage Can Model to
include his three major process streams: problem recognition, the formation and
refining of policy proposals, and politics. These three streams operate independently
of one another, but ultimately they come together at critical points. This coupling,
Kingdon argued, is the key to understanding agenda and policy change (Kingdon,
1984). Kingdon called this point in the process the "policy window."
Framework for Policy Formulation Analysis
The theoretical framework used to direct this study was chosen because the two
models developed by Kingdon (1984) and Polsby (1984) bring forth elements that take
into account the salient points of each of the other models described above and appear
to more accurately describe how public policy is actually formulated. Both of these
models are based on actual case history and are developed as a result of a close
examination of what happened. Both experts agree that case studies are limited and
often cannot be used to generalize theory. However, both of the experts defend their
choices because they can be used to describe the reality of what happened. The other
43


models described above are based on sound thinking and logical argument based on the
experiences the authors had in policy formulation, but these models have not been
developed by first examining actual case studies of policy formulation processes and
then describing what characteristics these processes seemed to share. Additionally, the
number of case studies for Kingdons model was some 247 over a four year period.
Polsby's case studies, while not as large a sample (he selected only eight), were
grouped according to subject matter so as to rule out subject matter as a factor in
determining policy initiation. These factors were essential in the choice of the models
for the study of how House Bill 1159 was formulated. It was important to use a
framework that could describe in reality how policy formulation happens as well as the
key ingredients necessary to make it happen. Both models appear to be a convincing
description of that process.
In a more recent study, Janet Weiss (1989) in "The Powers of Problem
Definition: The Case of Government Paperwork" found that problem definition and
consensus decision making had powerful effects on the policy procedure and the policy
outcome. Her study has the same limitations as this study because it is based on a
single case study. Some of her findings in regard to the process of problem definition
and consensus decision making, however, may be relevant to Kingdon's model in
regards to problem definition and consensus decision making during his description of
the policy process.
Polsbv: Dimensions of Policy Innovation
Nelson W. Polsby (1984) in Political Innovation in America described his
policy innovation model as "a plausible natural history of political innovations in a
44


number of real-world settings and circumstances" (p. 14). First, Polsby cautions that
subject matter alone does not determine how policy is innovated. Second, agencies that
initiate policy may do this in more than one way. There are seven dimensions in the
Polsby model: 1) Timing, 2) Specialization, 3) Subculture, 4) Public Saliency, 5)
Political Conflict, 6) Research, and 7) Staging. Polsby said that policy innovation
exists for each policy at some point along a continuum within each of these
dimensions. He has established an elaborate typology and placed each of the case
studies along a continuum of each of these seven dimensions.
Polsby also grouped the types of innovations into two categories: Type A and
Type B.
In Type A innovation, whoever comes to the right meeting, or happens to have
done his homework, or has the loudest voice on a particular occasion, may
carry the day. Whoever put the words "maximum feasible participation" into
the community action legislation seems to have done his work so unobtrusively
that a few years after the event, nobody is quite sure who did it or how it was
done. (p. 151)
During Type A innovation, the invention of alternatives is part of the process of
searching for reasonable solutions to problems. like Incrementalism, in this process,
not all feasible or likely alternatives are investigated and when an alternative is agreed
upon as being the best alternative it is usually because it is an alternative that has
reduced the tension the most. Like the Garbage Can Model, Type A innovation
resembles the "organized anarchy" characteristic of situations where solutions are often
formed before the problem has been clearly identified. Examples of these kinds of
innovations are the Truman Doctrine, Community Action Programs and Civilian
45


Control of Atomic Energy.
Type B innovation is incubated in that it takes place slowly over a period of
years. This type is characterized by a lack of consensus on the need for action and
many times there is no widespread acknowledgment of the existence of a problem. The
demand for innovation is usually built up slowly and the proposals are usually the
work of people far removed from the decision-makers, i.e., the experts, technocrats, or
legislators who take up the idea and mould it into the culture of the decision-makers.
Incubated innovations will typically appear in partisan politics, into national party
platforms and into congressional hearings. Type B innovations gather patrons as well
as enemies over time. These innovations are often based on much research. It is also
more likely that more alternatives will be generated and examined, more long-range
consequences are considered and more justifications and projections are demanded by
decision-makers. When there is no controversy surrounding the issue, the less likely
research will be done because the culture has already agreed to the innovation without
considering the consequences. Examples of Type B innovations are Medicare, Peace
Corps and Council of Economic Advisors. The two types of policy innovations are
diversely spaced along the various continuums and one type does not generally
dominate the other in regards to the seven dimensions. Polsby did describe consensus
decision making as highly unusual where bargaining about details of a proposal
actually takes place. In fact, in five of the eight cases he presented, the decisions were
made contrary to consensus decision making.
Polsby (1984) offered two arguments about how innovations happen. First,
"an underlying cultural disposition must be present favoring the application of rational
thought to problems" (p. 165). He suggested that within the American political
46


system, decision makers "routinely create needs and tensions that frequently are
resolved by recourse to the policy innovation process" (p. 161). Second, "the political
system must embody incentives to search for innovations" (p. 165). This was
especially true in presidential election years where candidates "display a willingness to
grapple with human needs, and incumbents, if they care either for
re-election or for the kindly verdict of history, must find programs to which they can
attach [their platform]" (p. 161). In other words, candidates create a kind of self-
identity with issues.
Alternatives to solutions are invented at the intersection of three forces:
(1) the interest groups in society, (2) the intellectual convictions of experts and
policymakers, and (3) the comparative knowledge, usually carried in the heads
of experts or subject matter specialists, knowledge of the ways in which
problems have been previously handled elsewhere, (p. 166)
Within the case studies Polsby found that each of these groups had developed an
internal decision-making structure that sponsored alternatives directly reflective of the
membership of each of these groups and were ultimately translated into public policy.
When alternatives need to be brought to the attention of the policymakers, often
a crisis will need to occur, a crisis will need to be invented, or the proposal may
piggyback on a different crisis that is relevant to the proposal. The difficulty with this
process is that crises need to be managed and often the ability to manage crises goes far
beyond the capability of most policymakers. Instead, Polsby (1984) pointed out that
the process usually goes as follows:
Politicians, because of the requirement that they appeal periodically to
electorates, need to identify and to be identified with issues. Policy
47


entrepreneurs supply these issues, these matters to be concerned about, plus the
technical back-up for alternative solutions.
Entrepreneurs need allies to move their preferred alternatives from incubation
to enactment. Thus political leaders help them to reach their goals. In exchange
for help in enacting policies of which they approve, policy entrepreneurs yield
up public credit, which politicians need in order to survive in their election-
dependent world.
Polsby argued that both the powerful and the interested are necessary in
attending to policy innovation. The powerful cannot possibly attend to all issues that
need their attention, thus they must rely on the interest groups to bring innovations
forward. When time is scarce and alternatives are numerous, politicians will need to
act on those that have the greatest appeal to the masses. Therefore, the credit for the
innovation must go to the decision maker and the interest group must be satisfied with
the results of the political action. Of the actors in the political process, Polsby (1984)
said,
Peripheral influence by the most important actors in the political system leaves
center stage to less important figures, and brings into focus a whole stratum of
actors without whom the business of policymaking could not possibly be
accomplished. Such actors include policy entrepreneurs who, by skillful
mobilization of substantive justifications, and the accurate identification and
thoughtful cultivation of allies, can and do bring new policy into being, (p.
172)
Polsby's model will be connected with Kingdon's (1984) model of policy innovation
as the framework of this study.
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Kingdon: Policy Primeval Soup
John W. Kingdon (1984) in Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies
developed a concept within the policy formulation process called the policy primeval
soup wherein "many ideas float around, bumping into one another, encountering new
ideas, and forming combinations and recombinations" (p. 209). Kingdon said it is
from here that policies come and that entrepreneurs "keep their proposals ready,
waiting for one of two things: a problem that might float by to which they can attach
their solution, or a development in the political stream.. .that provides a receptive
climate for their proposal" (p. 204). Through that soup runs three distinct streams the
problem stream where problems are defined, the policy stream where alternatives are
generated, the political stream where the political system operates by its own set of
rules. At the confluence of there three political streams a window of opportunity opens
and it is possible to address a proposal and put it on the political agenda. Key to the
entire process are the policy entrepreneurs who watch for windows of opportunity and
take advantage of the situation.
In the problem stream, problems, according to Kingdon, rise on the agenda
based on a number of things. First, as Polsby said of the process, interest groups
bring items up, crises cause problems to erupt, political systems routinely raise issues,
feedback about programs indicate the need for adjusting solutions and budget issues
create problems that need solutions.
Second, problem definition, according to Weiss (1989), is generally the first
step in policy initiation and lays the groundwork for the construction of policy
alternatives. Occasionally problems are re-defined through the problem solving
process and gain momentum that, on the one hand, can help create political realities,
49


and, on the other hand, must accommodate political realities. Sometimes problem
definition can create language for talking about problems and non-problems that
draws attention to some features of social life at the expense of others.. .putting some
groups on the defensive and others on the offensive" (Weiss, 1989, p. 115). Problem
definition is, as Lindblom has shown, difficult because of the mismatch of what is and
what ought to be in an ideal state. In situations where a disadvantage exists because
one program is not operating as efficiently as another, a problem in inequity arises.
Weiss also recognized the challenge of problem definition because the analysts cannot
identify criteria to determine an evaluation for what is a good problem definitiona
decision that is not often clear until the outcome is in place. Another issue of accurate
problem definition is that of categorization. Some may see problems differently if they
are put into a different category. We tend to use old categories and classifications of
problems, but when circumstances change, governments have a tendency to preserve
the old categories as long as possible. Further, after a period of time, the connection
between the old category and reality becomes so weak that new categories then emerge.
Thus, problem recognition is critical if the problem is going to rise to the top of the
policymakers' agenda (Kingdon, 1984; Lindblom, 1959; Weiss, 1989).
Within the policy primeval soup, communities of specialists bring proposals up
for serious consideration. If the community is tightly knit, the process usually goes
well, if, however the community is fragmented, "disjointed policy, lack of common
orientations and agenda instability" result (p. 151). The process is where a large
number of initiatives is usually reduced to a comparatively short list to be considered.
Policy entrepreneurs push their ideas forward in an attempt to soften the public up
toward the new idea. Often it takes years until an idea gains acceptance. If proposals
50


are to survive within the policy stream, they must meet the criteria of
survivaltechnical feasibility, value acceptability and anticipation of future constraints.
Eventually a kind of bandwagon effect occurs until receptance is tipped favorably
toward the new idea. Kingdon (1984) said, consensus occurs in the policy stream, but
not because the policy community agreed that one proposal meets their criteria, but
rather that the few proposals on the agenda are prominent.
The political stream is composed of a variety of factors such as national mood
swings, election results, administration changes, ideological changes and interest group
campaigns. National mood swings are usually evident in active parts of the public as a
result of several kinds of communications to politicians through the mail, the media,
visits, trips home, and conversations with their constituents. As a result, the
politicians' perceptions of the national mood affect government agendas. Consensus
among organized political forces means that the politician will generally go along with
the idea if the consensus is widespread. Weiss (1989), however, suggested that
consensus was very difficult to measure in the policymaking process, but that it was no
less important to the process. In Kingdon's model, consensus building in the political
stream took place through a bargaining process rather than by persuasion as it did with
the policy specialists. Although Weiss has since found consensus and the participants'
responsibility in the process to be different from Kingdon's perspective of consensus,
Kingdon (1984) said of participants in the policy process:
Once participants sense that there is some movement, they leap in to protect
their interests. This entry into the game, sometimes sudden entry, contributes
to sharp agenda change, both because various interests receive some benefit
51


from their participation, and because a generalized image of movement is
created, (p. 171)
Kingdon (1984) said windows of opportunities opened and closed rather
quickly when the three streams converge. Windows of opportunities are either
problem windows or political windows depending on whether the agenda is set in the
problem stream or the political stream. Coupling happens when an entrepreneur can
attach his alternative to another idea that is floating by. Therefore, the entrepreneur
needs to be ready to act. Additionally, "a worked-out, viable proposal, available in the
policy stream, enhances the odds that a problem will rise on a decision agenda. In
other words, the probability of an item rising on a decision agenda is dramatically
increased if all three elementsproblem, proposal, and political receptivityare
coupled in a single package" (p. 204). Spillover happens when success happens in one
area and the probability exists that an idea could also be successful in another area.
In examining the two models of both Kingdon and Polsby, it seemed to make
sense to use both as a framework of comparison as to how the policy formulation
process happens. Polsby's (1984) model is based on eight case studies that give a
simple and clear picture of how policy innovations actually happen. Polsby has ruled
out that subject matter alone is the impetus to the innovation of any policy process and
that instead the conditions which exist in the American political system are the actual
stimuli for innovation. Kingdon's model is added to this framework because his study
is based on a significantly larger sample of case studies and his description goes into
greater detail with each of the key elements of the policy process. Kingdon's model is
not as simple and clear as is Polsby's, but it gives a sense of the muddled quality often
52


associated with the policy process. It is against these two models that the policy
formulation process of House Bill 1159 will be measured.
Summary
In an overview of the literature of policy innovation as it relates to the work of
teachers we find that little impact has been made in actually forming policy that makes a
significant difference in the classroom at the federal, state or local levels. Instead we
have seen policy formulated as solutions looking for problems. There seems to be no
clear problem definition in terms of what exactly is wrong with public schools.
Therefore, the ideas that have been generated under the umbrella of school reform seem
like ideas that might catch on or rise on the policy agenda, but there is no clear picture
as to what problem these innovations will solve, nor what possible negative fall-out
may result if any of these were fully implemented.
In order to more clearly understand the politics of school reform as policy
innovation, a framework of policy process will be established through the use of
Kingdon's (1984) and Polsby's (1984) models of policy innovation. The methods of
policy decision making which precede these two models are descriptive from a
theoretical sense whereas the other two models are based on actual case studies, a
requisite necessary for comparison with the case of House Bill 1159.
53


CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
Introduction
This study investigated the policy formulation process resulting in the passage
of House Bill 1159 which repealed the 1967 Teacher Tenure Act in Colorado. The
problem of the study was to describe the nature of the policy formulation process and
how that process impacts the politics of school reform. The concepts used to bound
and guide the study were derived from Kingdon's (1984) and Polsby's (1984) models
of policy formulation and sought to examine the process, the roles of the key players,
how decisions were made and what conditions may be replicated to guide the
formulation of educational reform policy in the future. Specifically, the study sought
to answer the following questions:
1. How did a tenure reform bill successfully get to the top of the policy agenda
in 1990, and what roles did the key players have in getting it there?
2. What was the process used to write the bill in order to maintain agreement
among the members of the coalition and also provide fair due process for
teachers?
3. What were the circumstances under which the House and Senate passed the
bill without bringing forth significant changes to the bill?
The contents of this chapter focus on the procedures used to gather and analyze the data
obtained from the interview with the participants in the policy formulation process and
the archival documents in order to answer these research questions.
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Data Collection
The nature of the research questions for this study determined that a case study
approach was most appropriate (Denzin, 1977; Erickson, 1986; Glaser & Strauss,
1979; Patton, 1980; Yin, 1989). The research process used in this case study set out
to tell the story of how House Bill 1159 was formulated. In this study, the researcher
has chosen to portray the events as they were replicated in documents and in the
perceptions of the participants. The phases of data collection are presented below. At
the outset of the actual process of data collection, these phases were not as clearly
identified.
Phases of Data Collection
Data collection for this study began in September, 1990, two months after
House Bill 1159 was enacted into law and four months after it had been signed by
Governor Romer and continued through June, 1992. The data for this study were
collected in three overlapping phases.
Phase I of Data Collection.
Review of policy formulation models
Exploratory, unstructured interviews to determine critical sources of information
Preliminary development of conceptual framework
Testing applicability of conceptual framework through preliminary interviews
Review of documents in documents and newspaper clippings
Establishing chronology of events in newspaper clippings
Phase II of Data Collection.
Establishing interview protocols
55


Scheduling interviews with participants
Semi-structured interviews with participants
Transcribing verbatim all taped interviews
Collecting archival documents, personal notes and memos
Phase III of Data Collection.
Review of archival documents, personal notes and memos
Documentary and interview analysis
Phase I of Data Collection
Phase I of data collection consisted of a review of the policy models,
exploratory interviews, development of the conceptual framework, a test of its
applicability and a collection of documents to establish the time line of the study. One
of the most important sources of case study information is the informal or exploratory
interview (Denzin, 1977; Patton, 1980). The exploratory interviews used in Phase I
were open-ended, unstructured, informal conversations that provided critical sources of
information, the sequence of pivotal events and identification of key participants.
These conversations were with lobbyists who observed much of the process and with
other people who could provide critical sources of information. This exploratory
period provided an opportunity to test the conceptual framework by asking general
questions about the process based on the theoretical models. Further, the newspaper
accounts from 1979 to 1990 provided a chronology of events regarding the seven
attempts at tenure reform. During this early exploratory phase some documentary
sources were used to narrow the focus on the conceptual framework, to establish the
chronology of events and to identify the key participants who would be interviewed in
56


a more structured interview process. Those interviewed in this informal process were
Speaker of the House Carl "Bev" Bledsoe; Director of Evaluator Training, Colorado
Department of Education, Carol Ruckel; Director of Governmental Programs in
Academy District 20 Steve Pratt; and CASE Lobbyist Phil Fox.
The questions posed to these respondents were exploratory questions dealing
with the policy formulation process in general designed to get the respondents
perceptions of how the policy was formulated; and opinion questions designed to get
the respondents' perceptions of the policy. Additionally, these respondents were asked
for additional sources of information, i.e., who to interview, who was involved, where
to find information, and how to access specific sources.
During Phase I, the conversations lasted approximately 15 minutes. These
conversations happened either over the telephone or in person. Notes were made of
these conversations, but none was taped. All of the respondents volunteered additional
information in the future. In some cases, additional interviews were scheduled during
Phase II because it was determined that their participation in the process was more
involved than was previously understood.
Some of these respondents were also sources of extensive files of documents.
Phil Fox, who is the lobbyist for both the school board association and the school
administrators, was able to introduce me to Lauren Kingsberry, the lawyer for the
Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB). Although Kingsberry was not a
participant in the formulation of House Bill 1159, she was able to provide a large folder
of memos, correspondence, drafts of bills and the school board association's position
on tenure. A cursory examination of these files indicated that other participants in the
policy formulation process would have received some of the same correspondence in
57


the files because the documents had the names of several of the coalition members'
names on them. Additionally, the files contained the other special interest groups'
position on tenure. Steve Pratt, also a lobbyist, gave me his files which contained
many of the same documents in the CASB files.
Early review of these files and the responses of the participants in the
preliminary interviews also enabled me to test the applicability of the conceptual
framework of the policy formulation process. For example, questions about timing,
public perception, and the special interest groups' roles in the process were asked in
this early stage of investigation. Although most of the information was inconclusive at
this stage, the responses to the early questions were helpful in establishing the
interview protocols used in Phase II with the semi-structured interviews. Early
responses appeared to be similar to the findings in both Kingdon and Polsby and
provided insights that assisted in generating questions for the more structured
interviews about both the policy and the process, which provided a comparison of the
participants' perceptions to those perceptions recorded in Kingdon's (1984) and
Polsby's (1984) studies.
At this stage, it was necessary to determine a timeline of events over the period
of time between 1967 and 1990. Some of the documents in the first files referred to
earlier attempts at tenure reform. It appeared that the history of tenure reform was
important to some of the participants in the policy formulation process. Therefore, by
using the newspaper clippings and the dates on the documents in the files, a timeline
was constructed on a storyboard to which future dates could be added as they were
uncovered in the process. The participants in the preliminary process were unclear
about dates and sequences, so having this information established early in data
58


collection aided in asking more specifically about timelines or was used to jog
respondents' memory if that was necessary. Once the timelines and sequence of
pivotal events from the newspapers and the early documents were established, the
conceptual framework of the policy formulation process was established, and Phase II
of the data collection process began.
Phase II of Data Collection
Interview protocol was established based on the conceptual framework of the
study. Appendix A displays the interview questions used in the semi-structured
interviews done in Phase II. Appendix B displays the interview respondents and their
titles. The questions in the interviews were structured around the conceptual
framework; how the policy formulation process happened, who was involved in the
process, and how decisions were reached and conflicts resolved; content: what was in
the bill, what was the thinking behind the concepts, and how people feel about the
content; and, results: reactions to the bill and the role of the legislature. The following
participants were interviewed during Phase II of data collection:
CASE Lobbyist Phil Fox
CASE Executive Director Gerald Difford
Colorado Commissioner of Education (Emeritus) Cal Frazier
CEA President Dan Morris
CFT President Shelly Seymour
Executive Director of Department of Revenue John Upton
Governor's Staff Representative Joy Fitzgerald
The Honorable Jeanne Adkins
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During Phase n, the interviews lasted approximately one hour. Interviews with
the respondents were audio-taped and immediately transcribed verbatim. If a
respondent did not feel comfortable with the use of the tape recorder, or if respondents
were uncomfortable with answering a question with the tape recorder on, the tape
recorder would have been turned off. No one who was interviewed requested the tape
recorder be turned off. All data were treated confidentially.
The respondents appeared to be comfortable with the questions and were
willing to disclose personal feelings and emotions about their experiences. A positive
relationship between myself and the respondent seemed to develop quickly in each
case. The interviews were conversational and relaxed and I was frequently addressed
by my first name. All welcomed further questions by telephone if I needed more
information and clarification. Respondents would generally provide narrative answers
and multiple responses to the questions. Respondents seemed enthusiastic and eager to
share what they knew.
Several respondents provided whole notebooks and extensive private files for
my perusal that proved to be sources of critical data. Then the information collected
from each interview was corroborated in the interviews with other respondents and
with the documentation. Gerald Difford, CASE Executive Director, was able to
provide files and records of committee meetings and correspondence that dated back to
1967. The files contained Difford's handwritten notes from committee meetings,
correspondence with Caplan, the CASE lawyer, in regards to legal questions about
tenure, survey results and numerous other documents. In some cases, the information
in these files were also duplicates of documents in files from other sources, but these
files also included information that I could not have gotten anywhere else because the
60


history and the data were rich with details of the attitudes of the people at the time, the
reports of early committees organized to study teacher tenure as early as 1977 under the
direction of Cal Frazier, the Commission of Education. Perhaps the best source of
information regarding the actual process of the formulation of House Bill 1159 came
from John Tipton, who gave me all of his files, which included his handwritten notes
i
and confidential memos from the Governor's staff to the Governor and from the
Governor's staff to members of the Task Force. Some of these notes were so specific
that they outlined the contents of the Governor's speech to the Task Force when he
gave them his charge.
The boundaries of the study were also established in Phase n. The conceptual
framework was established in order to determine the answers to the research questions.
Key participants to be interviewed were identified. I determined in advance that I
would conclude the interviews based on two criteria: when no new information was
forthcoming and when I had interviewed all of the respondents recommended to me by
other respondents. I ceased the interviewing process when those two criteria were met.
Although Phase II constituted the completion of the semi-structured interviews, this
phase also overlapped with phase three in the collection of documentary data.
Phase III of Data Collection
The collection of official documents in Phase III overlapped in Phases I and II
of the data collection process because people provided information most often at the
time of the interview. Sometimes I requested any information they might have and
other times it was given voluntarily. Almost all provided information willingly and
enthusiastically.
61


During this process of data collection triangulation and the use of multiple data
sources was used to compare and cross-check the consistency of information obtained
at different times and by different methods.
Triangulation. Denzin (1977) explained why triangulation is essential in data
collection:
No single method ever adequately solves the problem of rival causal
factors___Because each method reveals different aspects of empirical reality,
multiple methods of observations must be employed. This is termed
triangulation. I now offer as a final methodological rule the principle that
multiple methods should be used in every investigation, (p. 28)
Patton (1980) further elaborated the need to use multiple methods of observation:
Where possible, triangulation is to be highly recommended. Indeed, the
capability to implement a strategy oftriangidation means that evaluators must
include in their repertoire of skills the ability to use qualitative methods.
(p.109)
Triangulation in this study was done by specifically asking questions in the interviews
that would allow for comparison of multiple answers to the same questions. The
documents and other forms of written evidence were used to verify information the
respondents in the interviews reported. For example, all of the respondents answered
the interview questions according to their perceptions and experiences while involved
in the formulation of House Bill 1159. Occasionally, however, their perceptions
conflicted very strongly. Either one of two conditions seemed to exist under those
circumstancesthat the respondents really did see the situation differently or that there
was some reason that they did not want to give an accurate picture of their role at the
62


time. In order to verify respondents' accuracy and honesty, I did ask others who
worked with those respondents in other contexts to provide their sense of the
respondents' willingness and ability to tell their perceptions accurately.
Multiple Sources of Data. Commonly, multiple sources of data for case studies
are collected by observation, interviews and documentary analysis (Goetz &
LeCompte, 1984; Patton, 1980; Yin, 1989). The sources of data included 12
interviews and 186 documents. Slices of data are a convenient way of melding a
variety of data sources in order to discover categories and their properties and "to
suggest the interrelationships into a theory_The adequate theoretical sample is
judged on the basis of how widely and diversely the analyst chose his groups for
saturating categories according to the type of theory he wished to develop" (Glaser &
Strauss, 1979, pp. 62,63). Primary sources for this study were interviews, archival
records, and personal notes and memos. Secondary sources were journal articles,
newspaper articles, and law cases.
Official documents are a particularly strong source of data and were used to
establish the chronology of the process, identify the key participants, and clarify the
issues involved in the policy formulation process (Anderson, 1984; Glaser & Strauss,
1979; Goetz & LeCompte, 1984). Both primary and secondary source data were use
to establish the historical background for the study and to provide information on the
issues of tenure. This case study drew heavily on an analysis of 186 documents which
were grouped into primary and secondary source categories:
Primary Source Documents
drafts of bills designed to reform tenure
letters and memoranda to and from special interest groups
63


reports from study committees and the Tenure Task Force
participants' handwritten personal notes
consensus matrices
formal charges given to study groups and task forces
minutes from meetings of the special interest groups
transcripts of legislative debate and testimony on the bill
a survey of Colorado superintendents
legislative journals
Secondary Source Documents
charts
legal opinions, speech transcripts and reports
journal and research articles
law cases
researcher's field notes
research reports from the Legislative Council
newspaper articles
The data sources are considered primary sources when they are archival, they
are from the original source or they were not duplicated in other publications. The
secondary sources of data are those not reported in the original source, are reports from
people who witnessed rather than participated in the process or are a collection of
information from a series of outside sources.
These documents were used in conjunction with the interviews, to present a
complete picture of the policy formulation process and to corroborate the information
presented by the participants in the first and second phases of data collection. Some
64


respondents provided documentary data that contained only information they had
already distributed publicly, others provided selected pieces of information and some
provided no documentary information at all because other respondents had already
provided it Data from both the primary and secondary sources enabled me to
triangulate on the information obtained in the interviews.
The content of these documents was used to provide further information
regarding the history of tenure, definitions of tenure, the attempts at previous tenure
reform, the attitudes of the special interest groups before and during the formulation of
House Bill 1159, the decision making processes, and the role of the legislature in the
policy formulation process. Some gaps in information were filled by research articles
on tenure, its history and its definition. Some sources of information did not
completely agree. For example, Fitzgerald said in one memo that there were nine
previous attempts at tenure reform. Both the House and Senate journals and the
research done by the Legislative Council revealed only seven attempts at tenure reform.
The purpose of the documents was to get a behind-the-scenes look at the
process and the specific content of the document, House Bill 1159 (Patton, 1980).
Additionally, the documents were used to determine whether there were rival
explanations for specific causes (Yin, 1989). The documents revealed the kinds of
information the participants in the Task Force had read prior to coming together, the
positions they took at the outset of the policy formulation process and the changes of
their positions by the end of the policy formulation process. The documents contained
directives to participants to "stand firm" on specific issues and not give in on them.
The primary documents also clearly identified the specific consensus process used to
reach agreement Testimony on the bill indicated the level of participation of the
65


members of the General Assembly in the process and how they supported the
ratification of the bill. Without this critical information, it would have been impossible
to completely understand the conflicts over the content and the positions of the special
interest groups. Additionally, it would have been impossible to see how those conflicts
were resolved and how the final product of House Bill 1159 came about.
Also worth noting in this phase of data collection were the documents not
available to the researcher. No personal memos or notes or correspondence within the
organizations came from either the CEA or the CFT. More information on their
processes came out of the interviews in terms of what they were willing to disclose
rather than in the documents they shared. Communication on other issues or hidden
agenda than those mentioned by the respondents indicated is highly likely, but what
that communication was about is only conjecture. The parents and business members
of the Task Force were not organized as groups in the same way the others were
organized, so their position papers were representative of their specific positions and
beliefs regarding tenure reform. There was no more documentary information to be
had. The only reason this is worth noting is that it appeared the parents and the
business community did not have any other communications behind the scenes. It is
important to note that the interviews without the documentation would not have made
sense and the documentation alone was not enough to tell the whole story of the policy
formulation process. Analyzed together, they clarified the nature of the problem and
produced the patterns of data provided a basis for determining a description of the
policy formulation process and the impact the process had on school reform.
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Data Analysis
Data analysis is a process of progressively reducing broad categories of data to
simpler groups from which interpretations and answers to research questions can be
obtained. In order to respond to the major research questions of the study, which
focused on the policy formulation process and the content of the policy document it
produced, analysis of the interview and documentary data was conducted in the
following phases:
establishing data classifications,
grouping the classifications into the category of either "process" or "policy,"
establishing relationships between the process and the policy,
comparing data in the process category with the theoretical models, and
synthesizing and evaluating the data so as to determine those conditions in the
formulation process which could be replicated.
Data Classifications
The intent of this investigation was to describe the nature of the policy
formulation process and to determine what impact this process had on the politics of
school reform. The policy formulation process has been conceptualized in the
theoretical models described by Kingdon (1984) and Polsby (1984). Kingdon and
Polsby have described the process as muddled and influenced by public perception,
policymakers' agendas, special interest groups, policy entrepreneurs, and political
bargaining. The policies are generally characterized as solutions in search of problems
resulting in a low degree of satisfaction where every body gets a little of something
(Cohen, March, & Olsen, 1972; Kingdon, 1984). The classifications of data, then,
67


have been derived from the theoretical models: public perception of tenure,
policymakers' agenda, issues of special interest, satisfaction with the policy, policy
entrepreneurs, bargaining v. persuasion and the decision making process.
The classifications were developed as a result of identifying patterns from both
the documents and the interviews. In the classification of "public perception of
tenure," for example, exploratory interviews indicated the reason the tenure law was
repealed was because the public disliked teacher tenure. Documentary data such as the
newspapers reported a negative public perception of tenure in all of the clippings from
1979 to 1990. All respondents in the semi-structured interviews talked about public
perception of tenure as being the key reason for tenure coming to the top of the policy
agenda. Polsby discussed the need for public saliency in his theoretical model. Public
saliency is the same as public perception in that the public, i.e., those persons who pay
for education and vote for legislators, have given a great deal of attention to the issue of
tenure and their perception of tenure was one of the reasons this issue came to the top
of the policymakers' agenda.
On the other hand, both Kingdon and Polsby discussed the factor of timing in
the policy formulation process. The models suggested that issues rise and fall on the
policymakers' agenda and that a specific window of opportunity opens and then the
issue is addressed. The data from the interviews and documents indicated that timing
was somewhat serendipitous in this policy formulation process and that public
perception was the most important reason for the issue coming to the top of the policy
agenda. In spite of the fact that the theoretical models indicate that both exist in the
policy formulation process, for the purpose of this study the classification of public
perception appeared to be more consistently identified as the key factor in getting tenure
68


to the top of the policy agenda than timing was identified. Therefore, based on the
consistency of identification in the data, the decision was made to include public
perception as a classification and omit timing as a classification.
Interviews and documents were analyzed and coded according to these data
classifications. The data were organized using the cells in a spread sheet to create
categories of information in column for across the various types of data, i.e.,
documents or interviews. For example, in the classification of "public perception" data
from the newspapers about the public's perception of tenure were grouped together,
data from surveys about public perception were grouped together and data from each
interview about the public perception of tenure was grouped together. Thus, there
were groups of data by source within each data classification.
By using this system it was possible to code information by classification and
place the data into the proper classification electronically so that there would be a visual
picture of the data classifications. All of the data classifications and data types were
limited to certain aspects of the theoretical constructs presented in Kingdon's (1984)
and Polsby's (1984) models. The classifications used from Kingdon's model were:
policymakers' agenda, key people, special interest groups, bargaining, and trade-offs.
The classifications used from Polsby's model were public perception (saliency) and
timing.
Additional classifications of data emerged from the data alone. For example, in
the interviews, the documents, the testimony and debates on the bill, the legal issues of
due process and the legal meaning of tenure appeared to be synonymous. Morris
indicated tenure means due process. Difford explained that the lawyers have said that
by removing the word tenure from the law, tenure has been eliminated altogether.
69


\
Tipton felt administrators needed to be able to deal with incompetency in the classroom
and still have due process. Tenure and due process were also linked to the Fourteenth
Amendment by Caplan (1990c), CDE (1986), CEA (1990), the Colorado Congress
PTSA (1977), Damas (1986), and Woodward (1984). Therefore, the meaning of
tenure as a due process legal issue was established as a classification of data along with
the other legal aspects of what the due process for teachers would be according to the
bill in its final form. This was an example of a category that emerged as a part of the
policy rather than the process used to formulate it.
Process and Policy Categories. To determine whether a relationship between
the policy formulation process and the policy the process produced, a matrix similar to
Pattons program evaluation matrix was used (Patton, 1980). Patton suggested this
technique of program evaluation because "sometimes the program is simply uncertain
about what the outcomes will be; and in many programs neither processes nor impacts
have been carefully articulated" (p. 318). This was a sorting and clarifying process
used to make sense of the data. Therefore, if there was a link between process and
outcome, this would provide evidence that would determine whether this process of
policy formulation can and should be replicated in future instances. If there appeared to
be no link between process and outcome, then this would indicate that the process used
to formulate House Bill 1159 may not necessarily be congruent with the models of
policy formulation described in the framework for the study. Second, the matrix
allowed me to determine whether the saturation of the categories was complete.
The process and outcome matrix was aimed at providing a method for
organizing and describing the "themes patterns, activities, and content of the program, r
than at elucidating causal linkages between processes and outcomes (Patton, 1980, p.
70


324). Determining whether there are causal links between the process and the policy is
based on speculation and conjecture. Therefore, the relationships identified in the
process were based on a careful examination of the data and were based entirely on the
speculation that relationships did exist. The absence of these relationships provided
other formations of conjecture about the impact of the process on the policy.
Process and Policy Relationships. In establishing relationships between
process and policy, an attempt was made to derive a holistic picture of the process and
how the policy came from it. The process was complex and impossible to say that one
variable in the process caused a particular part of the policy to happen. By isolating
specific variables in the policy process and specific variables about the policy, the data
was examined in an organized way to see if the relationships or the lack of them could
provide insight into the policy formulation process. By using the matrix to compare
variables, evidence could be examined that may support rival explanations of why
events occurred the way they did and if the process could have had a different impact
on the policy.
To clarify how the analysis was done, an example of data analysis where a
relationship appeared to be established was in the first cell. The data examined in the
first cell were that of the policymakers' agenda and the satisfaction of the policymakers
with the policy. The policymakers' agenda was a classification of data within the
process categorya category concerned primarily with how the bill was formulated.
Satisfaction was a classification of data within the outcome category that asked whether
the policymakers liked or were satisfied with the policy they created. The data showed
that the legislators wanted a tenure reform bill. This was evident not only in the history
of tenure reform, but it was also evident in the conversation Adkins, Bledsoe and
71


Romer had in the basement of the Capitol in early January at the start of the session.
Evidence of a high degree of satisfaction with the policy within the legislative ranks
existed because both the House and Senate leaders responded positively to the
agreement and took almost no action to change what the coalition had created. The data
showed the bill passed through both chambers with no significant changes. Therefore,
it is possible to speculate that there must have been something in the process that
produced a policy which could generate such a high degree of satisfaction among the
policymakers.
Data were examined in all of the cells formed in the matrix. Data appeared to
be ample to speculate that either relationships did exist as in the first example or they
did not as in the second example.
Policy Process Comparisons. In addition to determining whether relationships
could exist, the process was compared to the theoretical models. At this point a
comparison was made where the policy processes identified by Kingdon and Polsby
described the process used in the formulation of House Bill 1159. Additionally, the
data were examined to determine if there were points where the process of formulation
House Bill 1159 did not fit either Kingdon's or Polsby's patterns (Glaser & Strauss,
1979; Goetz & LeCompte, 1984; Patton, 1980).
Policy Formulation Process Replication. The study attempted to analyze and
evaluate the data so as to explore the factors within the policy formulation process that
may be replicated to enhance the nature of the politics of school reform. Theoretical
models of policy formulation have shown that the policy formulation process is
typically fluid and muddled (Brewer & deLeon, 1983; Cohen, March, & Olsen, 1972;
Kingdon, 1984; Lindblom, 1959; Polsby, 1984). The theoretical models have
72


described general tendencies of policy formulation based on numerous case studies and
empirical findings. Researchers have attempted to describe how the policy happened,
but little research has been done to investigate whether processes may be replicated in
order to enhance the policy formulation process and improve upon it. This study, then,
attempted to investigate whether there were specific factors that can be controlled by
policymakers to change the policy formulation process and, further, the study
attempted to determine if these factors were those that enhanced decision making and
improved the legislative process of school reform. The data were then recombined and
evaluated to determine from a holistic perspective what factors could be replicated and
under what conditions.
Summary
This case study was an attempt to reconstruct the policy formulation process of
a highly controversial bill which eliminated teacher tenure in Colorado by attempting to
answer the research questions. Because this study was an exploratory investigation of
a social process in a real-life setting, the case study approach provided the best
opportunity to collect perceptions of the participants and to study the content of relevant
documents so as to determine the policy formulation process. The methods of the
study were designed and carried out to support this approach and the stated intents of
the study.
Chapters 4,5,6, and 7 present the findings of the study. Each of the chapters
present of phase of the policy formulation process which are organized to answer the
first of the three research questions. Chapter 4 presents the tenure controversy in its
historical context preceding the formulation of House Bill 1159.
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CHAPTER 4
TENURE: THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Introduction
All fifty states have teacher tenure acts or laws that provide specific rights to
teachers upon termination of employment The basic purpose of a tenure act is to
assure continued employment to teachers who have been employed satisfactorily over a
period of time (See Appendix G). AEA Legal Services (1985) explained the following
misconception associated with teacher tenure:
There has arisen a common misunderstanding that once a teacher achieves
"tenure," that he/she cannot be fired or terminated from employment, despite
unsatisfactory performance. There is no tenure or "due process" act in any
state which assures permanent and continuous employment to a teacher who is
performing unsatisfactorily. Rather, the tenured or permanent teacher is
assured that he/she will receive a written notice, a statement of causes or
reasons for termination, and a hearing before a school board or other panel
prior to the board's decision to either dismiss the teacher or non-renew
employment for the following year______The rights and procedures guaranteed
to teacher upon termination arise from the United State Constitution which
requires that persons who are to be deprived of a "property right" must be
afforded due process before the deprivation. "Tenure" can be provided by law
through a state statute or earned through a period of continuous employment
["de facto tenure"]. (AEA Legal Services, 1985, p. 1)
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Tenure History
Definition
The definition of tenure seems to be somewhat hazy and confusing. Because
tenure originated in higher education, the public's perception of how it applies in
secondary and elementary schools is often erroneous or confused with a definition of
due process. Bridges (1984) described tenure as employment status conferred by law
after teachers have successfully completed at probationary period. He posits that once
teachers have worked for three years, they have a property right guaranteed under the
Fourteenth Amendment of the United State Constitution which can then only be taken
away through fair due process.
Cadwallader (1983) described tenure at the university level in much the same
terms as Bridges (1984) described it with the exception that through practice tenure at a
research university means that an exemption exists for certain faculty members from the
need to prove themselves as researchers or as publishing scholars every other month.
Public perception that tenure guarantees a lifetime job for teachers comes from the
erroneous assumption that elementary and secondary teachers are no longer evaluated
after three years of employment and, therefore, cannot be dismissed (Adkins, 1990).
Origins of Teacher Tenure
Teacher tenure has its roots in medieval Europe when teachers and students in
the twelfth century organized themselves into scholarly guilds under the protection of a
town, a king or a pope. "Like all medieval guilds, they were voluntary fraternities of
individuals involved in the same activities, and organized for mutual support and
75


protection" (Cadwallader, 1983, p. 3). In medieval times, universities, like any other
guild, wanted the right to self-government and a grant of immunity from outside
interference. Guilds of scholars created for themselves the same conditions that
faculties today believe that are necessaryfreedom to work without interference from
"truculent townsmen, arbitrary kings, officious bishops, and papal legates"
(Cadwallader, 1983, p. 4).
In 1875, President Eliot of Harvard wrote, "Permanence of tenure and security
of income are essential to give dignity and independence to the teacher's position"
(Lockard, 1973, p. 122). In 1885, NEA warned of the dangers of "personal or
political influence and the power of spoils and patronage" (Lockard, 1973, p. 122).
But it was not until 1915 that American Association of University Professors began to
investigate unjust dismissals of teachers. According to NEA, in 1936, only 20 percent
of teachers were covered by tenure or continuing contracts and by 1956, this had risen
to 84 percent (Lockard, 1973). Quinlan (1982) gave a broader picture of the history of
tenure:
Tenure originated in higher education where its raison d'etre is both the
protection of academic freedom and the establishment of economic security.
The [AAUP] 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure
states: Tenure is a means to certain ends; specifically: (1) Freedom of teaching
and research and of extramural activities, and (2) A sufficient degree of
economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of
ability. (p. 147)
In the United States more recently, teacher tenure has come to mean more than
just the right to teach without outside interference, it has come to be described as a right
76


of due process through the Fourteenth Amendment. "The first teacher tenure
legislation was enacted in 1906. By 1920 only five states recognized the principle of
permanent tenure for teachers" (Colorado Congress PTSA, 1977). In 1957, the United
States Supreme Court in Slochowerv. Board of Higher Education (350 U.S. 551,276
S. Ct. 637,100 L. Ed. 692) held the right of a tenure teacher to continue in
employment constituted a protected property right (Heaton, 1983; Lockard, 1973;
Stem, 1988). "Without tenure protection, the discretionary powers of school boards
would be absolute" (Heaton, 1983). The fundamental purpose behind tenure is to
protect adequate and competent teachers from arbitrary and unreasonable dismissals by
school boards. The courts have redefined tenure to mean due process. Damas (1986)
cited an article in the University of Michigan Law Review which discussed the reasons
for tenure laws in such a fashion that the Michigan Supreme Court adopted it in one of
their decisions:
The large turnover in the profession was due in part to certain practices which
were widespread through the country; among them may be noted discharge (1)
because of political reasons, (2) because of non-residents in the community, (3)
in order to make places for friends and relatives of board members or influential
citizens, (4) in order to break down resistance to reactionary school policies, and
(5) in order to effect economies either by diminishing the number of teachers
and increasing the amount of work assigned to those retained, or by creating
vacancies to be filled by lower salaried, inexperienced employees. Of these
practices, the first was exceedingly influential in the growth of the tenure
movement, some of the most notorious cases of political dismissal challenging
the attention of the public to the injury of professional morale and efficiency
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resulting from the misuse of the control vested in the administrative agencies.
The remedy for such abuses was sought in legislation designed to strip the
school boards of their autocratic power and to prescribe for them rules of
administrative action which would insure a greater degree of security to their
employees, (p. 1)
Originally the courts defined tenure as a protection for academic freedom for
higher education and then legislatures provided for it statutorily for lower levels of
education as in Colorado's 1967 Teacher Tenure Act. The Tenure Act was designed to
protect and prevent abuses in academic freedom, arbitrary capricious criticism and
dismissal, and removing master teachers who have reached the top of the salary scale
(Heaton, 1983; Lockard, 1973; Stem, 1988). Belsches-Simmons and Bray (1985), in
examining tenure in the 50 states, found that existing tenure laws are compatible with
pay-for-performance initiatives. Further, every state provides for public school
teachers to remain employed unless they are dismissed for cause. Some state statutes
use the term "tenure" while others use "permanent employees" or "continuing status."
In 30 states, teachers who have not been given notice of nonrenewal, receive automatic
continuous employment that has often come to mean that they have been granted
tenure. In other states, some specific action must take place where a teacher is granted
tenure. Due process is given for other jobs and/or professions when the courts have
ruled that a cause for action or property right exists. The due process must include
written notice, reasons and hearing (AEA Legal Services, 1985; Belsches-Simmons &
Bray, 1985; Fitzgerald, 1992).
Some tenure statutes address performance evaluation in great detail, others not
at all. Some leave it to the state board of education, others leave it to the local board of
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education. Nevertheless, tenure statutes may include performance evaluation policies
because evaluation is a basic concept of tenure and permits the dismissal of incompetent
teachers. Because tenure is generally regarded as a statutory right, the legislature may
alter or abolish tenure. Occasionally, "where a tenure system confers contractual
rights, due process requirements and constitutional prohibitions against impairing
contracts protect teachers" (Belsches-Simmons & Bray, 1985, p. 9).
Prelude to the 1967 Colorado Teacher Tenure Act
"Prior to 1949, the Colorado statutes left to the local school board the decision
of whether a tenure teacher was even entitled to a hearing before dismissal" (Heaton,
1983). During the McCarthy era of the 1950s the General Assembly in Colorado
expanded the rights of teachers and allowed a teacher facing dismissal charges a
hearing. In that same period, other employee rights were expanded to include written
charges filed and the opportunity to be heard. Because of the recognized need for job
protection and economic security as a result of administrative abuses, unions began to
organize. Nationally, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a subsidiary of the
AFL/CIO, early on took an aggressive stance regarding tenure. Some of the AFT
leaders, however, were also allegedly members of the Communist party or at least
sympathetic with these beliefs. By 1958-59 the AFT has established itself strongly in
New York City, Philadelphia and other major cities on the East Coast. The AFT was
able to offer job protection, union benefits, salary and other advantages to teachers
(Adkins, 1990; Frazier, 1992; Quinlan, 1982).
The roots of mistrust during the McCarthy Era between teachers and
administrators were firmly implanted in the issues of academic freedom and much later
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grew to focus on issues of teacher dismissal for capricious and arbitrary reasons.
Although protection of academic freedom had been an educational issue that can be
traced back to the Middle Ages, in a time when freedom of expression was challenged
across the country, it only made logical sense that teachers would become equally
fearful for their jobs as well. Teachers were also aware of other nefarious practices by
administrators around themnepotism, rumors of political dismissal, dismissal
because of non-residency in the community and reduction of force (Damas, 1986;
Frazier, 1992).
By 1963, the need for tenure bubbled up again in Colorado, but this time job
protection was needed for a different kind of reason. Not only had the American
Federation of Teachers begun to grow in Colorado by this time, but the National
Education Association (NEA), a rival teachers' union unaffiliatied with the AFL/CIO,
also began to recruit membership and offer similar union benefits. It was in 1963 that
the National Education Association held its convention in Colorado. At this
convention, the NEA voted to move from a meet and confer position with local boards
of education to a standard collective bargaining position. By 1965-66, Colorados
school boards and school administrators recognized the Colorado Education
Association (CEA) as the main teachers bargaining unit in Colorado. Although the
CEA was considered the official bargaining unit, joining the union in Colorado came to
be seen as tantamount to losing your job unless you had some kind of protection like
tenure (Frazier, 1992).
Other issues that created instability for teachers' jobs were those of racial/
gender equity and the Viet Nam War. By 1968-69, Denver Public Schools were under
investigation of de facto segregation as a result of attendance boundaries that resulted in
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the Keyes decision. The war in Viet Nam was also controversial enough that many
teachers believed that they needed protection from being dismissed according to their
beliefs about the war. The issues outside the educational milieu so significantly
influenced teachers and their work that teachers believed job protection was critical at
this time in history. Thus, the Colorado Education Association (CEA)began to lobby
for the 1967 Tenure Act, This action was not only in response to the need for job
protection stemming from the growth of unionism, racial/gender issues and the Viet
Nam War, but it was also in response to the growth of the Colorado Federation of
Teachers (CFT). These two rival groups vied for membership as the growth of
teachers in Colorado continued through the late sixties and early seventies (Frazier,
1992).
Job protection was not inherent in the 1967 tenure law so much as it was in the
master agreements, i.e., negotiated agreements between teachers and school boards
regarding issues of salary, benefits and working conditions, established at the same
time by the recognized bargaining units in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Denver and
Jefferson County. By this time, the issues were no longer job protection or academic
freedom, it became one of dollars. As the master agreements strengthened, they
strengthened in the issues of salaries and benefits. Once the growth of the districts
slowed down or stopped, the agreements grew longer and longer. The negotiation
process grew longer and longer. What once started out as a positive, collaborative
process between teachers and administrators now became a negative, secretive process
and, for some, threatened the health of the participants (Frazier, 1992).
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Case Law
According to Quinlan (1982), academic freedom is not an issue in lower levels
of education because curriculum and methodology are largely determined by school
administrators and the courts have been consistently unwilling to enter into those
arenas. "In Meyer v. Nebraska (1923), the Supreme Court ruled that the due process
clause protects against arbitrary restrictions on the freedom of teachers to teach and
students to learn" (Quinlan, 1982, p. 149). The goal of tenure has been to provide
"stability within the teaching profession by assurance of continued service to
experienced teachers rather than subjection to dismissals based on political or arbitrary
reasons" (p. 149). Quinlan went on to say that "tenure supposedly prevents political
and arbitrary factors from influencing decisions of whether or not to retain a teacher.
This, in turn, should create a situation whereby teachers are retained on merit rather
than external factors..." (p. 149).
Caplan (1985) and Damas (1986) noted two court cases that more clearly
identify the role the tenure law has in protecting jobs in accordance with the Fourteenth
Amendment. In the Board of Regents v. Roth (408 U.S. 564,1972) the court ruled
that governments could not deprive citizens of life, liberty or property without due
process of law, applied to employment situations in those instances where employees
had a legitimate expectancy of continue employment. On March 19,1985, the U.S.
Supreme Court ruled in the case of Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill (105
S. Ct. 1487,1985) that a public employee who may be subject to an adverse
employment decision is entitled to notice of the charges against him and an opportunity
to respond to the charges (Damas, 1986).
Because case law has shown that academic freedom and job protection have
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been upheld, the question of amending or repealing the Teacher Tenure Act was put
before the Colorado Attorney General Duane Woodward in 1984. Woodward
indicated significant changes could be made and have been upheld in Colorado case
law. The Colorado Supreme Court has held that the Teacher Tenure Act did give
contractual rights to those teachers who have already gained tenure rights (Woodward,
1984). However, in Woodlin School District v. Howell (198 Colo. 40,596 P. 2d 56,
60,1979) the court upheld that teacher tenure "engenders a reasonable and objective
expectancy of continued employment.. .even though not a guarantee under all
circumstances" and is a "constitutionally protected property right" (Woodward, 1984).
In other case law, the court determined that a contract did not "require a state to adhere
to a contract that surrenders an essential attribute of its sovereignty" (United States
Trust Co. v. New Jersey, 431 U.S. 1, 16, 1977; cited in Woodward, 1984).
Additionally, because teacher tenure is "integrally related to the quality of the
educational system, it falls within the police power of the state" (Woodward, 1984).
The Teacher Tenure Act may be repealed or modified as long as the modifications are a
reasonable exercise of the police power. Police power are those powers of the state
governments which protect the public welfare, safety, health, and morals. Their
constitutional basis lies in the Tenth Amendment which reserves these powers to the
states (Belsches-Simmons & Bray, 1985; Martin & Gelber, 1978, p. 499).
Reasonable exercise of police power can include dismissal of teachers based on
the teacher's conduct and provides for the cancellation of a contract as a result of a
reduction in teaching positions. Unreasonable exercise of police power would include
a situation where tenure has been repealed for some but not all teachers in a state.
Defining good and just cause within the language of the statute is a reasonable exercise
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of police power if the current law does not address revoking tenure status. In all cases
of revoking a tenured teacher's contract, the dismissal procedures must provide for a
minimum due process (Belsches-Simmons & Bray, 1985; Woodward, 1984).
Academic Freedom
Academic freedom has its basis in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Neither students nor teachers need leave their rights at the "schoolhouse gate" (Tinker
v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503,506, 1969).
Therefore, teachers' right of free speech is like anyone else's in that they have the right
to express an opinion without fear of reprisal on matters of concern outside the
classroom. Academic freedom is an added right in that the teacher may teach in a
particular way and may modify course content. But academic freedom is restricted in
the classrooms of K-12 education. If parents object to a particular piece of literature, it
is incumbent upon the teacher to find an alternative piece of literature that will teach the
same skills, that has approval of the parent and will not jeopardize the students standing
within the course. For elementary schools teachers academic freedom is more limited
than it is for high school teachers because young children do not have the intellectual
capacity to absorb concepts that may run counter to their experience or beliefs.
However, in Bob Cary v. Board of Education of the Adams-Arapahoe School District
28-J (427 F Supp. 945,952, C. R. S., 1977), the court ruled:
To restrict the opportunity.. .for the free exchange of ideas would not only
foster an unacceptable elitism, it would also fail to complete the development of
those on going on to college, contrary to our constitutional commitment to equal
opportunity___Consequently, it would be inappropriate to conclude that
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academic freedom is required only in the colleges and universities. (Belsches-
Simmons & Bray, 1985, p.18)
The teacher's right to teach comes from the student's right to know and to
access information. Although the right to an education is not specified in the
Constitution, the United States has made every attempt to provide a student with the
right to a good education. Therefore, the teachers right to teach is a necessary one if
the student is to learn. School officials may limit teachers' activities if they disrupt or
jeopardize students or the school environment. Courts will balance the teacher's
academic freedom against the interests of society as a whole (Belsches-Simmons &
Bray, 1985). In K-12 education academic freedom is probably best defined as:
"Academic freedom, then, does not give teachers free rein over classroom materials, it
merely protects the teachers right to present material not specifically forbidden, in a
manner that is not provocative" (Belsches-Simmons & Bray, 1985, p. 18).
Tenure Issues
The Controversy
Surveys and the media have indicated that the public, school board members
and school administrators have strongly opposed tenure throughout all levels of
education:
[Academic] tenure has been lambasted by three national commissions on
education, is under study at the Universities of Utah and Wisconsin, and under
legislative attack in eleven states. A poll by the National School Boards
Association showed that 58 per cent of superintendents and 70 per cent of board
members are in favor of the abolition of tenure. Defenses and attacks emanate
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from all levels of education, from the public schools to the graduate schools.
(Lockard, 1973, p. 121)
Public perception has shaped the arguments against academic tenure which are:
1. Although tenure protects academic freedom, the issues of tenure and
academic freedom should be separate.
2. Tenure keeps incompetent teachers on the job.
3. Tenure keeps school districts from being able to execute a reduction in force
policies.
4. When teachers are granted tenure early in their careers, their productivity
suffers.
5. Tenure guarantees a job for life and no one else gets that kind of guarantee,
why should teachers.
6. It is too hard to fire an incompetent teacher because of the high cost in both
time and money (Belsches-Simmons & Bray, 1985; Cadwallader, 1983;
Legislative Council, 1989; Lockard, 1973; Stem, 1988).
Teachers and other educational professionals have shaped the arguments for tenure
which are:
1. Tenure protects teachers from being fired as a result of an administrative
whim.
2. Tenure guarantees academic freedom.
3. Tenure is not the reason for the difficulty in firing teachers, it is only the
argument administrators use to hide behind rather than doing their jobs.
4. Tenure provides due process in teacher dismissal.
5. Tenure provides for security, not the opportunity to amass wealth (Belsches-
86