Local variation in policy implementation

Material Information

Local variation in policy implementation the case of standards-based education reform
Sims, Cindy Leigh
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
[171] leaves : ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Education -- Standards -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Educational change -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Education and state -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Education and state ( fast )
Education -- Standards ( fast )
Educational change ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 124-127).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Cindy Leigh Sims.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
53368822 ( OCLC )
LD1190.E3 2002d S55 ( lcc )

Full Text
Cindy Leigh Sims
B.A., University of California, 1981
M.A., University of Colorado, 1989
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation

This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Cindy Leigh Sims
has been approved
Rodney Muth

Sims, Cindy Leigh (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Local Variation in Policy Implementation: The Case of Standards-Based
Education Reform
Thesis directed by Professor Rodney Muth
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between the
local control aspects of policy and the resulting variation in implementation.
Research indicates tht policy should be written specific enough to address
particular, identified needs while allowing room for interpretation and
implementation by individual, unique school districts and schools in locally
appropriate ways. This study asks, will districts use the discretion provided in
Colorados House Bill 93-1313 to approach reform in locally appropriate
ways? Will the resulting variation in implementation between districts be
consistent with the lessons of implementation literature? And, will the
variation indicate that this model of reform meets the criteria identified in the
The policy is reviewed utilizing several policy frames, focusing attention
on policy actors and linkages across policy formulation, implementation and
evaluation arenas. Analysis of the policys implementation is provided using
criteria identified in literature as playing a key role in successful policy
implementation. Data collected from twelve school districts across the state
are analyzed for the presence of these criteria. Resulting variation is defined
through a system of coding around the criteria. The study finds that variation

place emphasis on specific areas as locally appropriate to address district
needs. These findings are consistent with the implementation literature
leading to the conclusion that this model of reform is appropriate for
implementing systemic change
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Rodney Muth

This thesis is dedicated to my family. Without the support, encouragement,
and understanding of my husband, Brad, and sons, Jordan and Jacob, this
project would never have been completed. I would also like to recognize my
parents, Dave and Martha Gann, who instilled in me long ago the belief that I
could accomplish anything I set my mind to.

My sincere thanks and appreciation go to Rodney Muth, who made everything
possible when things seemed impossible. I also wish to thank Randy Sinisi
for her empathy and comradeship during the difficult times, and Dorothy
Baker, who provided vision, clarity and focus during the early stages. Finally,
I wish to thank the staff of the School of Education and the Graduate School,
particularly Annette Beck, who always provided me with direction and
answers over technical and procedural issues.

Reform Policy and Implementation:
The Case for Local Control...............................1
Policy Implementation and Local Variation and Adaptation.3
Theoretical Perspectives to Guide the Research...........5
Nakamura and Smallwood: A Policy Perspective.......6
Odden: Critical Factors of Local Implementation....8
Research Questions........................................9
Research Design and Methods...............................9
Organization of the Study....................................10
Contribution to the Literature...........................11
Introduction........................................... 12
A Recent History of Educational Reform:
Federal, State and Systemic Reform.......................13
Waves of Policy Reform Leading to Systemic Reform........15
House Bill 93-1313: A Bill for Standards-Based Education..,18
Education Policy Implementation Literature:
The Case of Local Control and Capacity...............22
Summary of Education Reform and Local Capacity.......26
Policy Implementation: Nakamura and Smallwood............27
Linkages Across the Policy Process...................29
Environment I: Policy Initiation.....................32
Environment II: Policy Implementation................36

Additional Factors Influencing Policy Implementation..40
Polsbys Conditions for Innovation.................42
Brewer and DeLeons Factors Influencing Implementation ...45
Oddens Criteria Effecting Implementation..........48
Chapter Summary.......................................50
A Mixed-Method Study..................................52
Research Design and Subjects..........................54
Data Collection.................................. 55
Data Analysis......................................59
AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE.............................63
Introduction........................................ 63
Educational Reform in Colorado........................65
The Accountability Process.........................66
High Standards of Student Performance..............67
Roles and Responsibilities of Teachers........... 69
Parent and Community Involvement...................70
Colorado Education Reform and Standards-Based Education.71
Oddens Criteria for Successful Local Implementation..76
Ambitiousness of Efforts...........................77

Change Process..........................................78
Quality of Programs.....................................79
Policy Initiation.......................................80
Administrative Commitment...............................80
Teacher Preparation and Commitment......................81
Introduction to Data Analysis..............................83
Implementation Data: Ambitiousness of Efforts..............83
Sources of Standards....................................83
Sources of Assessment...................................84
Sources of Fiscal Support...............................85
Technology Sources......................................86
Involvement in Review Process...........................87
Higher Education Collaboration..........................88
Products Produces as a Result of Implementation.........90
Instructional Products...............................90
Parent / Public Information Products.................91
Accountability and Other Reports.....................92
Implementation Data: Change Process........................93
Implementation Plans....................................93
Levels of Implementation................................94
Implementation Data: Quality of Programs...................95
Implementation Data: Policy Initiation.....................96
Source of Change........................................96
Levels of Involvement...................................97

Implementation Data: Administrative Commitment..............98
Levels of Administrative Involvement....................98
Positions Funded........................................99
Implementation Data: Teacher Commitment and Participation ..100
Levels of Teacher Involvement..........................100
Direct Incentives......................................101
Implementation Data: Training..............................102
Level of Training......................................102
Training Focus Areas................................. 103
Training Models Used...................................104
The Dissertation Questions Answered........................107
Question One...........................................107
Ambitiousness of Efforts............................107
Change Process......................................110
Quality of Programs.................................Ill
Policy Initiation...................................112
Administrative Commitment...........................113
Teacher Commitment and Participation................114
Question Two...........................................116
Question Three.........................................117
Implications for Future Research...........................118
Limitations of Findings....................................119

Summary................................................. 120
Appendix A: Bibliography.....................................123
Appendix B: Survey...........................................129
Appendix C: Initial Sorting and Classification of Data
By Oddens Criteria..........................................146
Appendix D: Definitions of Scale.............................162
Appendix E: Categorical Sorting and Rating of Qualitative Data
According to Oddens Criteria...........................166
Appendix F: Ranking of Sub Categorical Data..................170

Implementation is in many ways a slippery subject.
(Majone and Wildavsky, 1979)
In his research around change and reform implementation efforts,
Cuban (1990) states that
.. many reforms seldom go beyond getting
adopted as a policy. Most get implemented
in word rather than deed, especially in
classrooms. What often ends up in districts
and schools are signs of reform in new rules,
different tests, revised organizational charts,
and new equipment. Seldom are the deepest
structures of schooling that are embedded in
the schools use of time and space, teaching
practices, and classroom routines
fundamentally altered even at those historical
moments when reforms seek those alterations
as the goal (p. 9).
How then can real change occur? What does research tell us about
successful policy implementation? To begin with, implementation is a
complex process by which the broad statement of public policy, including
goals, objectives, and rough means, are transferred into specific action
(Brewer & deLeon, p. 256). Research on implementation over the last

twenty years indicates the critical interplay between policy and local level
practice. Researchers have found that change occurs when top-down
mandates [state and federal regulations] and bottom-up initiatives [local
controls] connect (Fullan, 1994, p. 198). The goal, according to Fullan, is
achieve greater coherence without centralization. .
Top-down strategies result in conflict, or superficial
compliance, or both. Expecting local units to
flourish through laissez-faire decentralization
leads to drift, narrowness, or inertia. Combined
strategies that capitalize on the centers strengths
(to provide prospective direction, incentives,
networking, and retrospective monitoring) are
more likely to achieve greater overall coherence.
Such systems also have greater accountability, given
that the need to obtain political support for ideas
is built into patterns of interaction.
(pp. 200-201)
In Street-Level Bureaucracy, Michael Iipsky (1980) studied human
service bureaucracies (i.e., schools, courts, welfare agencies, etc.) at the
point where state policy was translated into practice. Summarized, Iipsky
found that for policy to be successfully implemented, a balance between
discretion (local autonomy) and policy controls and/or mandates must be
In their study of the interplay between state and district guidelines for
curriculum reform, Cantlon, Rushcamp, and Freeman (1990) found that
new state initiatives were more likely to result in modest changes when a
collaborative approach was taken between adoption of state-level policies
and adoption of locally devised initiatives. McLaughlin (1991) summarizes
in The Rand Change Agent Study: Ten Years Later that this conclusion

still holds, that local choices about how to put a policy into practice have
more significance for policy outcomes than do such policy features as
technology, program design, funding levels, or governance requirements
(p. 147).
Marsh and Crocker (1989) found that translating state reform goals
into practice at the local level required the cooperation, knowledge, and
skills of local (added) educators (p. 276). Fullan and Miles (1992) stated
that large-scale change is implemented locally and that change cannot be
accomplished from afar. . local implementation by everyday teachers,
principals, parents, and students is the only way that change happens (p.
22). This argument for local control is well supported in research
(McLaughlin, 1987; Iipsky, 1980; Fuhrman, Clune and Elmore, 1988;
Firestone, 1989), leading to the understanding that local control and/or
involvement by individual school districts at the policy implementation
level is critical to successful education policy implementation.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between the
local control aspects of policy and the resulting
variation in implementation. Education policy is written and passed by
legislature with specific purposes in mind; for example, improve test
scores, reduce drop out rates, and improve attendance. Individual school

districts across the state representing specific, independent communities
and cultures with their own sets of needs, accomplishments, and areas of
expertise must interpret the policy.
Mohrman and Lawler (1996) found that change is facilitated by very
clear performance definitions. Similarly, Paris (1995) argues that
successful implementation of federal and state mandates is determined by
an emphasis on clearly stated standards and accountability, as well as the
encouragement of community-based efforts and experimentation. Again, it
is suggested that clear aims and political effort. . are the main ingredients
for genuine reform (p. 8). These studies imply that policy should be
explicitly planned and allow for, or even encourage, local adaptation.
This research indicates that policy should be specific enough to address
particular, identified needs while allowing room for interpretation and
implementation by individual, unique school districts and schools in locally
appropriate ways. This dissertation investigates the implementation of a
policy, Colorado House Bill 93-1313: A Bill for Standards-Based Education, to
determine how a policy will be implemented that exemplifies the
characteristics called for in the literature. The policy reviewed using a
theoretical model by Nakamura and Smallwood (1980) in chapter two. The
Nakamura and Smallwood model focuses attention on policy actors and
linkages across formulation, implementation and evaluations arenas. Next,
the policy is reviewed in the context of reform in Colorado. This structures
the policy analysis in relation to the important characteristics identified in
the literature with an emphasis placed on the Colorado reform perspective.

The study asks, provided the opportunity for local control in implementing
a bill for standards-based education, how do school districts vary in their
implementation strategies? Is the resulting variation in implementation
between districts consistent with the lessons of implementation literature?
And, does the variation indicate that this model of reform is appropriate?
Iipsky (1980), Cantlon, Rushcamp, and Freeman (1990), McLaughlin
(1991), Marsh and Crocker (1989), and Fullan and Miles (1992) have
indicated the importance of local control in the implementation phase of
the policy process. In his summary of implementation literature, Fullan
(1993) argues that
Centralization errs on the side of overcontrol,
decentralization errs toward chaos. .Two-way,
top-down/bottom-up solutions are needed in which
schools and districts influence each other through
a continually negotiated process and agenda. .The
key will be to restructure so that bottom-up and
top-down initiatives can feed on each other.
(p. 128 and 131)
Ingram (1990) concurs that
the analysis of implementation needs to be broad
enough to include policy formulation and impacts
in order to be realistic and useful. Policy
formulation, implementation, and outcome need
to be seen as a seamless web rather than distinct
stages affected by separate variables, (p. 471)
Several models of policy formation and implementation are used to
inform the study since implementation is extremely difficult to describe

and classify analytically because so many factors influence it and thereby
cloud our understanding (Brewer &deLeon, 1983, p. 254). Linkages and
relationships between actors and arenas are identified across the policy
process using Nakamura and Smallwoods model of policy formation and
implementation environments (Figure 1.1).
Nakamura and Smallwood: A Policy Perspective
This study is framed from a perspective which takes into account
Ingrams seamless web, tracing the linkages between federal, state, and
local implementation levels and the cyclical nature of the policy process.
Nakamura and Smallwoods (1980) model of policy linkages and
environments is used to review the policy process. As shown in Figure 1.1,
the model recognizes and incorporates the linkages across different
environments, or phases, of the policy process.
The actors represent stakeholders who are involved throughout the
policy formation and implementation process. The arenas follow the policy
across the federal, state, and local levels of implementation. This
perspective allows one to view the policy within specific contexts while
recognizing the influential linkages throughout, or across, the policy
process. It allows a policy to be traced from its formation to its
implementation while noting the role that actors in a variety of arenas
play. Identifying specific actors and arenas also guides collection and
analysis of data for the study.

Figure 1.1:
Nakamura and Smallwoods Environments Influencing
Implementation (1980, p. 27)
The dissertation begins with a review of H. B. 93-1313s Policy Formation
(Environment I) to determine the extent to which it provides clear
specifications and local flexibility. Then the policy is reviewed in the
context of Colorado reform and the perspective of this states emphasis on
local control. Next, data about Environment II, Policy Implementation, are
described and analyzed.

Key provisions that provide for local flexibility are identified by
reviewing the Policy Formation Environment (Environment I) of
Colorados bill for standards-based education. To begin with, the bill directs
the state board of education to develop and adopt state model content
standards. Districts are then directed to develop and adopt local content
standards, and to develop/adopt and implement locally appropriate
curriculum, materials, instructional methods and assessments which are
aligned with those standards. In the Policy Implementation Environment,
Environment II, data were collected from twelve districts participating in a
project to support implementation of H. B. 93-1313. Data collected from
these districts, representing a wide range of district characteristics
including size, student demographics and location, were analyzed in
Environment III, the Policy Evaluation Environment, to determine whether
and how different districts went about the implementation process and to
answer the dissertation questions.
Odden: Critical Factors of Local Implementation
Oddens (1991) work helps guide the studys investigation of policy
implementation. In his summary of implementation research, Odden (1991)
found eight factors which seemed to be associated with an effective local
implementation change process, such as Colorados House Bill 93-1313.
Oddens factors are: ambitiousness of efforts, change process, quality of
programs, policy initiation, administrative support and commitment,

teacher participation, training, and teacher commitment. Together, these
elements form the frame used here when studying the implementation of
H. B. 93-1313.
Given the opportunity for local control built into House Bill 93-1313, this
study will answer the following questions:
> Given broad parameters for local control in
implementing standards-based education, how
do school districts vary in their implementation
> Is the resulting variation in implementation
between districts consistent with the lessons of
implementation literature?
>Does the variation indicate that this model of
reform which allows for local control is
The primary data for this study are reports and other sources of
information about twelve school districts participating in a National
Science Foundation (NSF) grant to Colorado for implementing standards-
based education in mathematics and science. The data represent year two
of the grant (1995 1996). I participated in the project to structure and
collect data which could then be used to answer the dissertation questions.
The districts in the study provide extensive data and capture about 45% of

the student population in the state. They are geographically scattered to
represent all regions as well as the states ethnic diversity.
The framework proposed to study data collected from the twelve
participating school districts involves the use of a matrix which categorizes
the specific elements of reform as identified by CONNECT district by district.
Data are then analyzed for content through the categorization of emerging
patterns in the narrative and survey responses (see Open Coding in
Strauss & Corbin, 1990, p. 61 75). These patterns are indicative of
variation which occured in the policy implementation environment.
This dissertation contains six chapters. Chapter One presents an
overview of the problem and the purpose of the study. Chapter Two is a
review of relevant literature concerning education reform, particularly
systemic reform, and provides a review of policy implementation
literature, including a review of Nakamura and Smallwoods model, noting
actors and arenas across the environments. Chapter Three introduces the
methodology used to conduct this study. Chapter Four presents an overview
of Colorado education reform and perspectives, building a case for local
control. Chapter Five presents findings related to local control and
variation in policy implementation and answers the dissertation questions.
Chapter Six presents a discussion of the lessons and insights gained from

the study, concluding summary remarks and questions to be raised in
future studies.
The literature on implementation indicates the crucial interplay
between policy and local implementation. This study investigates the role
local control plays in the context of a policy designed to promote local
discretion in the process of implementation. It will extend the literature on
policy and implementation.
This chapter presents a brief case for the importance of local control in
reform policy, the theoretical perspective used to guide this study, an
introduction of how data will be analyzed and an overview of the
organization of this dissertation. This study is an attempt to explore and
describe the nature of the policy formation process as it occurred in
different arenas across federal, state and local levels while identifying key
actors throughout the formation and implementation phases. The study
further tries to determine what impact local control has on the
implementation of a state policy in the hope that further information may
be gained to support and add to the current body of literature.

The purpose of this study is to review and compare the formation and
the implementation processes of an education reform policy. Specifically,
the study examines the formation of a Bill for Standards-Based Education in
Colorado and focuses on the methods used by twelve Colorado school
districts as they implement this Bill. Policy formation and implementation
will be traced across numerous federal, state and local arenas while
describing the involvement and control or power of a variety of actors.
Data are collected and analyzed to determine the presence and influence of
local control and capacity on the policys implementation.
The literature review has two purposes: first, to provide a brief
description of education policy reforms, specifically systemic reform; and
second, to describe the literature of policy implementation specific to local
adaptation and variability.

Fullan (1993) states in Innovation, Reform, and Restructuring
Strategies, that
the adoption era of the 1960s was generated by a
national concern that the U. S. educational system
was falling behind scientific accomplishments in
Russia.... Federal coffers were opened for major
curriculum reforms (PSSC Physics, Chem Study,
Chemistry, New Math), technology innovations. . .
and organizational innovations. ... At the same
time, the civil rights movement in the 1960s
pinpointed scores of inequalities. These
simultaneous concerns academic excellence
and equity for the socially and ethnically
disadvantaged drove federal strategies for
improving education, (p. 117)
Beginning in the 1960s, federal policy was developed ensuring
education to all; specifically, minority children, children of poverty, and
children with special education needs. Concurrently, these policies also
introduced the concept of federally funded programs: states received
federal funds as these federal programs and reforms were implemented.
These policies represent compliance-models of reform. States receiving
federal funds for the implementation of federal programs were directed to
demonstrate compliance to federal mandates, rules and regulations through
a system of reporting and accountability.

In a study of federal programs, McLaughlin (1976) found that it was
difficult to get new federal policy implemented unless there was a process
of mutual adaptation wherein local educators could tailor (adapt,
change, and mold) the program to meet their unique, local needs and
circumstances (in Odden, 1991, p. 2). In 1977, what Fullan (1993) calls the
most comprehensive study of the implementation of federally sponsored
programs (p. 120), Berman and McLaughlin found mutual adaptation
whereby local users had to interact with the innovation, reworking and
redeveloping it according to local needs and contexts. . (p. 120). It raised
questions about the links between Nakamura and Smallwoods (1980)
Environments I and II: Policy Formation and Policy Implementation.
With state governments being the constitutional center of U. S.
education, it seemed only natural for reform to focus on change through
legislation at the state level, as evidenced by education legislation in the
last two decades. First (1992) reviewed three models of implementation that
were used by the states in the 1980s reform movement: These are rational
planning, market incentive, and political interaction. . (p. 137). Rational
planning models consisted of top-down mandates, centralized authority and
decision making, standardization, and uniformity. Market-incentive
models were characterized by policy development concentrated at the state
level with implementation encouraged through fiscal incentives and
compliance. The focus of this study is a policy patterned after a political
interactions model whereby the state articulates broad policy goals but

goals are integrated with local conditions and practices.
Waves of Policy Reform Leading to Systemic Reform
Following one of these models and initiated by forces outside the
schools and mandated by state governments, first wave reforms sought
mainly to expand or improve educational changes. .and ensure
competency in basic skills (Smith and ODay, 1991, p. 233). As in the early
federal reforms, these first wave reforms focused on separate, specific
programs. The lack of noticeable improvements in student learning and
the fragmentation in programs that resulted from the first wave changes
of the 1980s lead to the need for more coherent reform (Fullan, 1993,
Clune, 1993, Smith and ODay, 1993).
The second wave of change efforts, beginning in the mid to late
1980s, called for a fundamental rethinking and restructuring of the
process of schooling, not a mere bolstering of the existing one (Smith and
ODay, 1991, p. 234). More specifically, second wave reforms addressed
the education system as a whole, rather than in its isolated parts. These
reforms sought ways to address education concerns through systemic
changes rather than with isolated program changes.
First termed such by Smith and ODay (1990), systemic reform refers to
the systemic linkage of assessment, curriculum and instruction, staff
development, personnel selection and promotion, and cohesive

state/district/school action. Fuhrman (1993) states that coherent policy
making at the state level, such as that proposed through systemic education
reform, is critical to creating lasting change because individual projects,
no matter how uniquely worthy, seldom reinforce one another and
frequently send different, even conflicting, messages to schools (p. 7).
Fuhrman (1991) suggests that systemic reform begins with policy
decisions being made at the state level about what society wants students to
learn. It is important that this happen at the state level because
it is highly unlikely that a school-by-school approach
to reform will lead to improvement in all 100,000
American schools. Without policy systems support for
ambitious outcomes, school-level efforts are rarely
sustained. .To achieve improvement throughout the
system in an equitable manner, therefore, requires
policy support, (p. 6).
Smith and ODay (1991) felt that
the states are in a unique position to provide
coherent leadership, resources, and support to
the reform efforts in the schools. States not only
have the constitutional responsibility for
education of our youth, but they are the only
level of the system that can influence all parts
of the K 12 system: the curriculum, the
curriculum materials, teacher training and
licensure, assessment and accountability, (p. 246)
With responsibility lying with the state, what then does systemic reform
look like in a state policy? Smith and ODays strategy ( 1991)
draws on the authority and responsibility of
the state to provide a systemwide structure of
educational goals and content within which
all schools and districts might restructure
to maximize the quality of their curriculum and
instruction. The state would design and
orchestrate the implementation of a coherent
instructional guidance system. The

cornerstone of the system would be a set of
challenging and progressive frameworks. .
The state would be responsible for establishing
a set of challenging student achievement
goals, based on the frameworks. .The
frameworks would also provide a substantive
structure for teacher professional development
and for student assessment, (p. 261)
Reforms focused on increasing student learning in the 1980s lead to an
emerging consensus around an unprecedented national goal of hard
content for all students in the K 12 curriculum. This goal continued into
the 1990s ( Porter, Archbald, and Tyree, Jr., 1991, p. 11) and lead to Goals
2000: Educate America Act. This federal legislation is a recent example of a
national school reform bill which addresses comprehensive systemic
reform. Along the guidelines proposed by Fuhrman (1993), Goals 2000
suggests a way that the system can support school change, without either
stifling school initiative or leaving schools to fare for themselves without
help from the wider policy environment. . [it is] an approach that
combines centralized leadership around outcomes with decentralized
decision making about practice
(p. 28). Further, Ingram states that effective implementation is said to be
partially preordained by the strength of the statute, including clear
delineation and ranking of unambiguous objectives (p. 464).
Goals 2000 serves as a centralized model for states as they develop and
pass their own decentralized legislature requiring individual school
districts to implement elements of systemic reform. Colorados House Bill
93-1313 is one example of such legislature. The bill orchestrates the
balance of power and responsibility between the state and local school

districts while attempting to provide unambiguous objectives. This
balance, which leaves some specific details of implementation to local
discretion, provides a test case for the lessons outlined in the
implementation literature.
House Bill 93-1313: A Bill for Standards-Based Education
House Bill 93-1313s legislative declaration states that
because children can learn at higher levels than
are currently required of them, it is the obligation
of the general assembly, the department of education,
school districts, educators, and parents to provide
children with schools that reflect high expectations
and create conditions where these expectations can
be met. Through a shared sense of accountability
and a cooperative spirit among state government,
school districts, parents, business persons, and
the community, school districts and educators
can develop and teach to high standards which
will enable students to achieve the highest level
of knowledge and skills. (H. B. 93-1313: 22-53-401)
The bill mandates a series of education reforms which represent the
system-wide reform it attempts to undertake. The areas of reform include:
> the powers and duties of the State Standards and Assessment
Development and Implementation Council, including first priority state
model content standards in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics,
science, history, and geography to be developed and recommended to the
board for adoption (93-1313: 22-53-405);
> the adoption of state model content standards, state assessments,
timelines, and the development of a resource bank (93-1313: 22-53-406);

> the adoption of state model content standards, state assessments,
timelines, and the development of a resource bank (93-1313: 22-53-406);
> the adoption of content standards by districts (93-1313: 22-53-407-1)
followed by the development of district plans (93-1313: 22-53-407-2)
(a) curriculum and programs of instruction;
(b) development of assessments;
(c) administration of assessments;
(d) equity by acknowledging different learning styles and the
needs of students of various backgrounds and labilities; and
(e) professional development in standards-based education;
> a Colorado Student Assessment Program under which it shall
administer statewide assessments adopted by the board (93-1313: 22-53-409-
1) and prepare annual, disaggregated reports of the results of the
assessments and use information gained from the reports to
diagnose the learning needs of individual students,
to provide feedback to students related to their progress
toward attaining higher performance levels on
district content standards, and to revise its programs
of instruction and assessments, as necessary, to assist
those students needing additional academic support
in attaining higher performance levels.
(93-1313: 22-53-407-4)
Critical to this study are the elements of local control embedded within
the legislation because, as Resnick and Nolan state in Standards for
Excellence (1995),
communities everywhere, sometimes mobilized
by political forces whose interests in education
may be secondary to more general political
aspirations, are expressing doubts about the
whole idea of standards-based systemic
education reform. .. Some claim that standards
coming from anywhere other than an
individual school, its students and parents,

and its immediately surrounding community
are an intrusion on the right of local
communities to decide what their schools
should teach, (pp. 99 -100)
For this reason, the bill specifies that each school district is to seek
input from and shall work in cooperation with educators, parents, students,
business persons, members of the general community who are
representative of the cultural diversity of the district, and the districts
accountability committee (93-1313: 22-53-407-1) in adopting standards and
aligning curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional
Local control enters into play when reviewing how each district
addresses this mandate. A part of the process may begin with familiarizing
teachers with both the state content standards and the districts own
standards and the use of the resource bank of curriculum frameworks,
assessments and professional educator development programs (93-1313: 22-
53-406). The resource bank is to provide examples for districts to use as a
guide when developing and updating their local curriculum frameworks
and assessments, and when developing and implementing district
professional educator training programs.
As outlined in the bill (93-1313: 22-53-405), the State Standards and
Assessments Development and Implementation Council shall:
> heavily utilize and rely upon the expertise of district personnel and
other education experts (93-1313: 22-53-405-1-b);
> following appropriate public notice, hold a series of at least six
public meetings throughout the state at which it shall hear testimony

regarding such state model content standards (93-1313: 22-53-405-1-c),
including seeking recommendations from and working in cooperation with
districts, educators, parents, students, representatives from post-
secondary education, business persons, members of the general community
who are representative of the cultural diversity of the state, the standards
and assessments task force. .and the state advisory accountability
committee; and
> conduct annual public meetings to discuss the effectiveness of
standards-based education (93-1313:22-53-410).
This section of the bill ensures that a number of actors will take part in the
bills implementation and evaluation process.
As directed by Goals 2000: Title III, Colorados Bill includes a section on
State Planning for Student Achievement Through Integration of
Technology Into the Curriculum. The goal of this section is to assist each
State in planning effectively for improved student learning in all schools
through the use of technology as an integral part of the State improvement
plan (Goals 2000, Sec. 317). Colorado has defined a vision for technology
and has outlined eight specific goals to meet that vision. Technology as an
integrated portion of content curriculum is evident throughout Colorados
proposed state model content standards and will be important for districts to
review as they consider their own capacity for implementing this portion
of the policy.

In Street-Level Bureaucracy, Iipsky (1980) studied human service
bureaucracies (i.e., schools, courts, welfare agencies, etc.) at the point
where policy is translated into practice. He defined street-level
bureaucrats as public service workers who interact directly with citizens
in the course of their jobs, and who have substantial discretion in the
execution of their work and street-level bureaucracies as public service
agencies that employ a significant number of street-level bureaucrats in
proportion to their work force (p. 3). Lipsky found that the decisions and
actions of most public service workers become, or add up to, agency
policy (p. 3). Further, he argued that
the decisions of street-level bureaucrats, the
routines they establish, and the devices they
invent to cope with uncertainties and work
pressures, effectively become the public
policies they carry out. .. public policy is not
best understood as made in legislatures or
top-floor suites of high-ranking administrators,
because in important ways it is actually made
in the crowded offices and daily encounters
of street-level workers, (xii)
Lipsky indicated that supervision and control provide guidance toward
the implementation of bureaucratic goals/policy. The clearer the goal
and the better developed the performance measures, the more finely tuned
guidance can be. The less clear the goals and the less accurate the

feedback, the more will individuals in a bureaucracy be on their own
(p. 40). As policy-makers at the implementation level, street-level
bureaucrats have the responsibility of interpreting and implementing
policy which reflects societal (i.e., the clients) values and expectations.
According to Iipskys study, the key then to successful policy
implementation is to find the balance between local discretion and policy
controls and mandates.
Cohen and Spillane (1993) point out that local districts are the
fundamental governance agencies, by tradition and practice (p. 39).
Doyle and Finn (1984) describe school districts as subordinate
administrative units of a state educational system, with some residual power
to modify statewide regulations and procedures in order to ease their
implementation within a particular community (p. 90). School districts,
their schools, and classrooms are the unit of local policy control and policy
The idea of local capacity and the role it plays in policy implementation
was introduced in a recent study on education reform. In their study of six
school districts implementing education reform, Fuhrman, Clune, and
Elmore (1988) identified one factor as crucial to successful implementation.
The authors found that compliance depends heavily on the extent to
which relevant technical knowledge exists and school personnel feel
competent to make the change (p. 216). That is, the degree to which
educators feel comfortable with new policies as a result of their training,

expertise, and knowledge will determine the ease with which the new
policy is implemented, or met with resistance.
The importance of local capacity is reiterated by Mohrman and Lawler
(1996) who tell us that large scale change is uncomfortable to people
because of the massive amount of personal change, effort, and insecurity
that is involved. People are asked to perform their jobs differently, use
new approaches, interact differently with others, and focus on new goals
(p. 117). Odden addresses this issue of capacity in his piece in Rewards and
Reform (Fuhrman and ODay, 1996) where he states that systemic
educational reform requires (1) that teachers develop a new array of
professional knowledge and skills to teach a thinking-oriented curriculum,
(2) a dramatic change in the organization and management of schools that
also requires new teacher expertise, and (3) focused attention on school
performance and student achievement results (p. 244).
Cohen (1996) takes a different stand on capacity. He feels
there are two sorts of individual professional
capacity will and skill. Professionalism includes
pedagogical skill, knowledge of subjects, and the
like, but is not just technical. Professionals also
must want to help students learn; they must take
responsibility for students work . Without technical
capacity all the values and commitments in the world
would be useless, but without those values and
commitments all the professional knowledge and
skill in the world would be impotent, (p. 83)
This is supported by McLaughlin (1991) who states that we have learned
that policy success depends critically on two broad factors: local capacity
and will (in Odden, 1991, p. 187). Taken in this light, capacity encompasses

not only skills, knowledge, experience, and expertise, but also will. Where
does this will come from? Local control plays a part in promoting buy-
in, which could lead to the will of capacity, but Mohrman and Lawler
(1996) propose another source: leadership. They state that
large-scale change is facilitated by strong leaders
who can define a compelling case for change, define
the new performance requirements, and create the
conditions for the immense amount of learning and
personal transition that has to occur. Although
leadership can and should be shared throughout the
organization, most successful large-scale change
occurs when the formal leader is a strong visionary
and enlists organizational members in the collaborative
work of effecting fundamental change, (p. 137)
Teachers themselves see the need to improve professional capacity in
order to successfully implement elements of systemic reform, such as
curriculum development and alignment. In her study on school reform
(1993), M. Roemer quotes teachers as stating Curriculum development is
our legitimate concern as teachers and integral to our daily work.
Planning, critical review, and refinement of processes belong to us but
we need the necessary time, space, and support (p. 13).
Capacity is crucial, then, to successful policy implementation and can be
identified and promoted in many ways, as stated by the teachers in
Roemers study. Other research proposes additional ideas. In the
conclusion of Rewards and Reform (1996), Fuhrman provides several
suggestions when she states that
it appears that policy makers and practitioners
are acknowledging the complexity of reform
and are planning for the learning that needs to
take place if reform is to become a reality. For

example, the widespread interest in professional
development, including the efforts of several states
to set aside funds specifically for that purpose,
indicates that policy makers are aware of the
challenges involved in changing instructional
practice. . reformers provide assistance money,
time, technical advice to teachers and other
educators; policy makers fund volunteering
schools to reform and make their activities
available to others as demonstrations; and,
increasingly, reform advocates develop
curriculum frameworks, model lessons, and
guides to serve as resources for reform, (p. 330)
These suggestions for increasing capacity are useful to assess the
components of Colorados H. B. 93-1313.
In summary, education reform moved from program specific reform, to
comprehensive, systemic reform and from the federal to the state levels of
legislature. The purpose of a more coherent policy system would be to
support and sustain school-based change (Fuhrman, 1994, p. 1).
Implementation research identifies the critical role that local control and
capacity plays in the successful implementation of policy.
How the twelve school districts participating in this study address the issue
of local capacity as the Bill for Standards-Based Education is being
implemented is the focus of this study.

example, the widespread interest in professional
development, including the efforts of several states
to set aside funds specifically for that purpose,
indicates that policy makers are aware of the
challenges involved in changing instructional
practice. . reformers provide assistance money,
time, technical advice to teachers and other
educators; policy makers fund volunteering
schools to reform and make their activities
available to others as demonstrations; and,
increasingly, reform advocates develop
curriculum frameworks, model lessons, and
guides to serve as resources for reform, (p. 330)
These suggestions for increasing capacity are useful to assess the
components of Colorados H. B. 93-1313.
In summary, education reform moved from program specific reform, to
comprehensive, systemic reform and from the federal to the state levels of
legislature. The purpose of a more coherent policy system would be to
support and sustain school-based change (Fuhrman, 1994, p. 1).
Implementation research identifies the critical role that local control and
capacity plays in the successful implementation of policy.
How the twelve school districts participating in this study address the issue
of local capacity as the Bill for Standards-Based Education is being
implemented is the focus of this study.

Policy implementation literature has moved from a classical,
hierarchical, linear model to one that is circular in nature (Pressman and
Wildavsky, 1973; Van Meter and Van Horn, 1975; McLaughlin, 1975; and
Rein and Rabinovitz, 1978). An example of such a model is proposed by
Nakamura and Smallwood (1980). In their model, the different actors
represent different stakeholders who are involved throughout the policy
formation and implementation process. The arenas permit the policy to be
traced across the federal, state, and local levels of implementation. This
perspective allows the data to be viewed within specific contexts while
recognizing the influential linkages throughout the policy process.
Nakamura and Smallwoods model is based on the view of
implementation of policy as a system characterized by a set of
interconnected elements, each directly or indirectly related to another
(Nakamura and Smallwood, 1980, p. 21). They believe that the key
elements in the policy process can be viewed as sets of functional
environments in which different aspects of the process take place. Within
each of these environments there are a variety of arenas where actors
interact (Ibid.).
Figure 2.1 depicts Nakamura and Smallwoods environments influencing

implementation. It shows the inter-relatedness of the actors across each of
the arenas. The role each of the actors plays is crucial in outlining the
formation of a policy and how its implementation is effected.
Figure 2.1:
Nakamura and Smallwoods Environments Influencing
Implementation (1980, page 27)
First (1992) describes her thoughts on policy formation and
implementation with the following:
Who can influence meaningful educational
change throughout the policy process? My
impression is that educational practitioners
can shape meaningful educational change
through their own actions and that these actions
can influence the policy process. In fact,
bottom-up educational reform may be the most

appropriate way in which meaningful educational
change can eventuate and that practice
leads policy, rather than the reverse, (p. 96)
Here again, local control and the capacity of the various actors is
crucial in the cycle of policy formation and implementation. Nakamura
and Smallwoods concept of a circular model corroborates Ingrams (1990)
observation that policy continually evolves instead of being initially
established and thereafter reformulated (p. 464). Nakamura and
Smallwoods (1980) model provides a framework to be used for identifying
or mapping the policy process. It brings a system of linkages to this study
which allow the bill to be traced from federal to state to the district level.
linkages Across the Policy Process
As Nakamura and Smallwood (1980) have stated: the key elements in
the policy process can be viewed as sets of functional environments in
which different aspects of the process take place (p. 21). This study
focuses on the linkages between actors and arenas across Environments I
and II: Formation and Implementation, and collected data are analyzed in
Environment III: Policy Evaluation.
Several actors and arenas were present during the development and
implementation of H.B. 93-1313. As outlined by Goodlad (1992), actors and
arenas for Goals 2000, the predecessor of House Bill 93-1313, include
federal and legislative halls of government, state capitols, and mayoral
offices, professional associations, the National School Boards Association,

and the National Congress of Parents (p. 236). Actors may also be
identified using the list proposed by First (1992): governors, the state
legislature, other state agencies (such as the Auditor of Public Accounts,
the Department of Children and Family Services, the Attorney General, the
State Teachers Certification Board, the Department of Labor, the Board of
Trustees of the Retirement Fund, the Scholarship Commission, and the
School Building Commission) and other education stakeholders, such as
education associations and parent organizations. Public and professional
involvement in a variety of arenas leads to broader support which can
nurture and buffer fragile political efforts that try to bridge traditional
divisions and overcome short-term blinders in service of coherent
policymaking (Fuhrman, 1994, p. 4). Other key actors, including the
federal government and national associations of policymakers and
professionals, such as the National Science Foundation, the National
Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the
National Conference of State Legislatures, and the Education Commission of
the States (Fuhrman, 1994), help to reinforce the commitment of state
An example of the linkage between these groups in their prospective
arenas across environments can be seen in House Bill 93-1313s policy
requirement that both the state and local school districts set content
standards and develop assessments to measure those standards: The
General Assembly therefore charges school districts with the
responsibility to develop content standards, programs of instruction, and

assessments that reflect the highest possible expectations (H. B. 93-1313:
22-53-401). The goal established in the Formation Environment within the
specific wording of the bill is then interpreted in the Implementation
Environment with the development of specific district content standards.
The actors are linked across both environments in separate arenas. The
importance of standards and their development will be further explored in
the analysis of the implementation phase.
A second example of linkage across the environments can be seen in
the active role that parent organizations have played. During the
formation of the policy, parent advisory groups such as the National Parent
Teacher Association, lobbied for specific language in the bill regarding the
standards themselves and the role that parents and community members
were to play during the bills implementation. This resulted in legislation
mandating parental and community support and involvement through,
among other things, annual parent meetings. Additionally, parents and
community members must play active roles on district and school-site
accountability committees where state goals are written and addressed in
Ideally appropriate ways. According to Polsby (1984), collaboration of
effort is a vital condition for innovation, therefore, the linkages across
environments must be an integral part of policy implementation.

Environment I: Policy Initiation
In his review of policy initiation, Polsby (1984) places the actors, or
stakeholders, into one of four main categories: the president, congress,
political interest groups, and the media. These are the actors which are
considered to have influence on the formation of education policy. In the
case of this study, standards-based reform can trace its roots to the National
Governors Association which first proposed national education goals.
These goals were followed with federal legislation under President Bush,
resulting in Education 2000: Six National Goals for Education. This measure
was then revised and followed by Goals 2000: Educate America Act, a
national education reform bill sponsored and passed by Congress under
President Clintons leadership in 1993.
At the state level, Colorados Governor Roy Romer took an active role in
education reform. In addition to his leadership with the National
Governors Association, Romers commitment to education reform
continued locally, leading to Colorados House Bill 93-1313: A Bill for
Standards-Based Education. like Goals 2000, this bill received bi-partisan
support and was the center of political negotiating between several key
actors in legislature, the department of education, and political interest

For example, Parent-Teacher Associations and Organizations (PTA/PTO)
have long been advocates of education reform which promotes parental
input into education policy and implementation. In the same manner,
teachers associations, such as the National Education Association, closely
monitor and lobby for legislation which impacts the classroom through
mandates regarding instruction, curriculum, assessment, and methodology,
such as that outlined in House Bill 93-1313.
Another political interest group is the Coalition for Excellence in
Education, a fundamentalist group promoting the back-to-basics
movement. This group has lobbied continuously for traditional education
models at both the national and state levels in direct opposition to
standards-based education. Their influence resulted in the specific
wording around skills embedded into the requirements for model content
standards to be adopted in Colorado.
Finally, the news media has played an influential role in the formation
of education policy. The news media has kept education on the front
burner at both the national and state levels of awareness. This has been
done through articles in periodicals and newspapers and through news
broadcasts, which often have specific field of education news reporters
whose sole responsibilities are to poll the public, report their concerns,
and follow and report on legislation as it emerges in congress. Depending
upon the perspective taken, the reporting can be favorable, inflammatory,
or informational.

For example, in his article Enacting Goals 2000: Educate America Act.
Kildee (1995) wrote that Goals 2000 opens a major window for new federal,
state, and local partnerships in the administration of education programs
(p. 71). In general, public education has been discussed in derisive terms.
Among other things, it has been considered to be a bureaucratic dinosaur
(Boaz, 1992). Barth (1988) writes that systemic, standards-based education
reform addresses the old, negative school experience where "ability
groups, grade retention, college pressure, working alone, denial of
strengths and focus on weaknesses, learning that is information-rich and
experience-poor, and an irrelevant curriculum that students must endure
and frequently ignore" (p. 642). ODay (1995) states that Goals 2000 goes
beyond either rhetoric or standard setting by authorizing federal moneys
to states for comprehensive reform of their education systems (p. 99).
These and other authors have played an influential role in disseminating
information through the media, in both public and educational fields, and
have helped the public to form their own opinions and perceptions
regarding education and reform.
Together, all of the actors as depicted in Figure 2.2 have played central
roles in the development, and influence of, education reform at both the
national and state level and comprise Environment I: Policy Formation.
The linkages were quite strong in this environment as the various actors
maintained ongoing dialogue and involvement throughout the policy
formulation process in an effort to sway or influence the political agenda
and the policys final outcome.

Figure 2.2:
Linkages Across the Policy Process
Environment I: Policy Formation
National Arena:
President Clinton
U.S. Dept, of Education
National Governors Association
National Education Association
Coaliton for Excellence in
Education (CEE)
News Media
Colorado Arena:
Governor Romer
State Congress
CO Dept, of Education
National Education
Coaliton for Excellence in
Education (CEE)
News Media
For example, as a result of linkages between federal and state legislative
bodies, state policy reflected wording found in Goals 2000. Governor Romer
is an example of a strong link between the two arenas. He served as the

Chairman of the National Governors Association, which first proposed
national goals and standards. Roemer later served in a similar capacity as a
sponsor of the bill for standard-based education in Colorados legislature. A
second link between the national and state and local arenas was the SSI
grant, CONNECT. The grant was designed to bridge the gap between
national, state, and local arenas.
In addition to the national and state arenas identified in the process of
policy formation, the arena of the local school district is added when
considering education policy implementation. In the case of H. B. 93-1313,
specific actors are not only identified, but are required to participate in the
policy implementation at local levels. For example, at the district level,
local school boards are required to adopt content standards which meet or
exceed the state model standards; the superintendent is required to
supervise principals who are in charge of monitoring how those standards
are being implemented in classrooms across the districts schools; and
teachers are required to participate in training for standards-based
education to ensure its successful implementation. The goal of this
training is to increase capacity as teachers are required to align their
instruction, materials, curriculum, assessment, and methodology with the
districts adopted content standards.

All of this must begin with individual districts determining their own
levels of compliance with the states mandates. Do they have district
content standards in place? If so, do they meet or exceed the states model
standards? If standards are not in place, how will they be written, and by
who? Who has the training and capacity to undertake and lead such a
process? Further, what capacity does the district have for implementation
of strenuous content standards? The bill mandates systemic plans for
monitoring implementation, for the identification of needs resulting in
training which will address professional growth requirements, and a
systematic process to promote parent and community support and
participation throughout the bills phases of implementation.
Actors who were identified in the policys formation phase continue to
participate in a number of ways throughout the implementation phase
across the federal, state, and local arenas. Political interest groups have
actively participated in the policys implementation as watch-dog groups
concerned with issues of equity and instructional practices. Parent
organizations have participated on content standards writing and review
committees. They also participate in district and school accountability
committees writing goals to address academics, graduation rates,
attendance, school safety, and technology concerns. Further, parents are
actively involved on curriculum review committees as materials are
reviewed for adoption in alignment with district standards.
In addition to their participation on similar committees, staff
representing education associations have collaborated on training and

licensure committees at the district and state levels of implementation.
Teacher associations work closely with the school board and
superintendent as districts outline teacher performance standards for
evaluation purposes which reflect the implementation of standards-based
education in the classroom. Teacher growth plans, a specific aspect of the
evaluation process, are geared towards this implementation. Teacher
associations also work closely with administration as training and staff
development needs are identified and opportunities provided.
And finally, the news media has continued to play a role in the bill
implementation by publishing dates and agendas of state and district
review meetings, student achievement scores, and copies of local content
standards proposals. Public debates have been televised to educate voters
on where congressional candidates stand on issues around education
reform and standards-based education in particular. Candidates receive
endorsements from both parent organizations and teacher associations, as
well as conservative groups such as the Coalition for Excellence in
Together, all of these actors linked across various arenas constitute
Environment II: Policy Implementation. The linkages do not appear to be
as strong between the federal and state arenas, or between the state and
district arenas at the implementation level as they were during the policy
formation environment. linkage tended to take the form of mandates and
timelines, reports for accountability purposes, and communication
processes. The linkages lacked ongoing interaction and support in each

arena which was needed to establish and support a growing and deepening
understanding of what standards-based education means in districts and
schools implementing the policy across the state.
For example, Title II of Goals 2000 (the national arena) authorizes the
National Education Goals Panel (NEGP) to investigate and report on state
opportunity-to-leam standards and the strategies and progress of states
that are implementing such standards. These opportunity-to-leam
standards are linked to Colorados Bill where districts are directed to review
the quality and availability of curriculum, instructional materials, and
technologies and check alignment of curriculum, instructional practices
and assessments with the states model content standards. Further, each
school is required to submit a School Accountability Report on an annual
basis with measurable goals and objectives pertaining to the
implementation of standards-based education as outlined in the bill.
While policy mandates what is to occur, and procedures outline how
interaction is to occur, regular, ongoing, open discussion, planning and
problem solving across the arenas takes place only on a limited,
intermittent basis between arenas. So, there are several linkages in
theory, beginning at the federal level with Goals 2000, moving on to the
state level with H.B. 93-1313, and filtering down to the district level with
local implementation, but the strength of the linkage varied from district
to district based upon elements of local control and capacity.

Other research sheds additional light on policy implementation. Polsby
(1984) states that policy innovations generally follow upon the
identification of a need (page 16) or a crisis (page 168). As indicated in,
among other studies, A Nation At Risk (1983), improved student learning
through education reform is a priority which has resulted in recent
legislation, such as Goals 2000: Educate America Act.
Polsby identified several dimensions and conditions for innovation. The
interplay of these dimensions and conditions helps determine whether or
not a policy will be successfully developed and instituted by legislation.
Polsby divides policies into two types of innovations: Type A and Type B.
They differ in how they are plotted along seven different dimensional
continuums: timing, specialization, subculture agreement, saliency,
political conflict, research solutions, and staging.
Generally speaking, Type A innovations are developed with a short lapse of
time between the actual idea and its enactment, leaving little time or
energy devoted to research of alternatives. There is no real staging of
ideas, rather an alternative is identified during the search process with the
first good solution being chosen. Type A innovations have little or no
conflict, are characterized by low partisanship with solutions being free of
ideology or elements of mass-appeal.
On the other hand, Type B innovations are generally slow, emerging

over a period of years with alternative solutions researched and
systematically justified by recourse to formally assembled facts and figures.
As a rule, there is a distinct separation between the proposal of alternatives
and the actual search for solutions to the problems to which the
alternatives are addressed. Type B innovations are typically characterized
by strong and opposed party positions and ideological justifications and
The standards-based reform movement is a Type B innovation. Reform
alternatives have been researched by specialists in the field of education
and publicized over the last decade, and the timing was right for this new
reform. This lead to a high degree of public saliency which added to the
momentum of the standards-based reform movement. As in earlier reform
movements, there continues to be some disagreement and conflict around
systemic reform based upon party positions and ideology. Current
legislative agendas have upheld standards-based education and Colorados
policy continues to be implemented. Because the policy was written
concurrently while research is conducted in the area of standards-based
education, a balance exists between research solutions and improvised
solutions with staging occurring simultaneously.

Polsbvs Conditions for Innovation
Polsby outlines seven conditions for innovation which will he feels will
determine successful implementation of either Type A or Type B
innovations. They are: Accumulation of Ideas, Concentration of Ideas,
Collaboration of Effort, Conjunction of Differences, Expectation of Change,
Dependence on Authority, and Competition of Rivals. These seven
conditions examine the linkages between the actors and arenas across the
formation and implementation environments. The successful
implementation of H. B. 93-1313 will be influenced by the degree to which
these dimensions are satisfied.
The first condition is the accumulation of ideas. Has education research
accumulated enough data to support the development and implementation
of a bill for standards-based education? Early research has identified the
importance of local control and the need for systemic change. This bill has
been based upon the accumulation of years of research and is a reflection
of current trends towards higher accountability across all educational
The second condition for innovation is the concentration of ideas.
Colorados Bill for Standards-Based Education is very focused on systemic
change, but systemic change in and of itself is very broad, or

comprehensive. The scope of the bill is extensive addressing alignment of
standards with instruction, materials, assessment, and training. This study
will describe how a bill with this many levels and elements for
implementation is addressed without losing its focus as system-wide
changes are implemented.
Polsbys third condition is collaboration of effort., This is perhaps the
strongest supporting condition for the successful implementation of this
policy. As previously addressed, local control is a key element of policy
implementation. The wording of this bill mandates elements of local
control and encourages the collaboration of a number of key actors across
a variety of arenas. Education professionals, business men and women,
parents, and students are coming together to review and/or develop
content standards and implement elements of standards-based education
across the state. This collaboration is different than previous top-down,
compliance reforms of the past.
Along the same lines is Polsby's fourth condition for innovation: the
conjunction of differences. Because of requirements in the bill for
collaboration, differences are being ironed out through continual, public
forums and committee representation. If differences are of such a severe
nature as to block implementation, the policy would fail to be implemented.
Colorados Bill outlines clear expectations and a timeline for
implementation, and leaves interpretation to local school districts. This
may in fact prevent differences from becoming so severe as to limit

The expectation of change in public education, Polsbys fifth condition,
is high and is both anticipated and even demanded. Research has lead to
the demand for system-wide reform. Among the mandates of this bill, are
systems for accountability. Change demonstrated in improved student
learning is a central theme in the accountability process.
Dependence on authority, Polsbys sixth condition for innovation, is an
issue in the implementation of this policy only that districts must wait for
the state to provide working models of standards and assessments. Until the
state adopted model standards, districts were forced to wait and see.
Because of the timeline for implementation identified by the state, districts
were forced to rush to comply. The state has had to revise the
implementation timeline in order to allow districts adequate time to
research and implement change. Local capacity may also prove to be a
stumbling block to successful implementation. With the state providing
limited authority, or leadership, districts must rely on their own experts
and expertise. This will be discussed in detail in following chapters.
Finally is Polsbys competition of rivals. The policy has not gone
unchallenged, especially by conservative interest groups who advocate
basic skills and specific program reform as opposed to systemic reform. If
these rivals see a rise to power in congress, a change in legislature could
inhibit the implementation of systemic, standards-based education reform.

Brewer and DeLeons Factors Influencing Implementation
Other factors influencing implementation are mentioned by Brewer and
deLeon (1983). They include source of the policy, clarity of the policy,
support for the policy, complexity of administration, incentives for
implementors, and resource allocation. Brewer and deLeon list five policy
sources: presidential declaration, passage of legislation, joint effort by the
president and Congress, upper levels of governmental bureaucracy, and
the courts. They found that each policy originator has different roles,
powers, and functions in the government which determine its capacity to
define, select, and execute a particular policy (Brewer and deLeon, 1983, p.
266). Colorados House Bill 93-1313 beginnings may be traced back to its
federal predecessor, Goals 2000: Educate America Act. Goals 2000 represents
a policy sponsored by the president and passed by Congress and as Brewer
and deLeon (1983) state, the executive branch, sometimes through its
personal powers but usually through the bureaucracy, has the most
influence on implementation (p. 266). The state and federal support
behind the standards-based education reform movement provide a positive
force promoting its implementation.
Brewer and deLeons second factor which influences implementation is
policy clarity. They explain that the more precisely the intent is stated -
be it by the legislature, the courts, or the executive the more likely the

policy will be implemented in harmony with the original intent and
possibly the more likely it will be implemented at all (p. 267). The intent
of standards-based education is clearly articulated in House Bill 93-1313.
Tracing standards-based education from the national level with Goals 2000,
to the state level with Colorados Bill, to the implementation level in
specific school districts, one can see general recommendations at the
federal and state levels becoming more and more specific actions at the
local level of implementation.
The concept of policy clarity is closely related to Rein and Rabinovitzs
goals saliency.
Legislation can be classified in terms of how
clear it is about what it wants to accomplish . .
Ambiguous, symbolic, low-saliency programs are
characteristically implemented in a very complex,
circular fashion. Programs whose goals are clear,
instrumental, and urgent are generally more
centrally and hierarchically implemented ...
Clarity, consistency, sincerity, and saliency of
goals should lead toward greater centralization of
the process of implementation. The fewer loops
between legislation, guidelines, and practice, the
more will be done, and the less urgent will be the
need to monitor and review the process.
(Rein and Rabinovitz, 1978, p. 326 327)
The strength of Colorados Bill lies in the general guidelines of the policy
which are balanced with the ideals of local control. The resulting variation
in implementation is the basis of this study.
Support for the policy is Brewer and deLeons third factor which
influences implementation. They state that how a policy is implemented -
or whether it is implemented at all depends on the support the policy
generates among those who are affected (1983,

p. 268). Support covers a broad spectrum including resources such as
time, money and personnel; level of implementor/client support and
participation; and commitment over time by both policymakers and
Colorados Bill specifies a timeline for implementation which districts
must meet. The timeline allows for district discretion in how to meet
specific requirements of the bill while holding districts accountable for
when specific actions are implemented. This timeline is spread out over a
number of years, insuring long-term commitment by both implementors
and policymakers. Implementor support is promoted through issues of
local control and autonomy built into the bill, such as the requirement in
the bill which requires each district to adopt standards which meet or
exceed the states model standards. While providing a general guideline of
standards, the bill allows for local control in developing standards which
reflect local norms and practices.
Complexity of administration is Brewer and deLeons fourth influencing
factor. The further removed the implementation of a policy is from its
governing body, the greater the likelihood that distortion or variation
from the original intent will occur. Brewer and deLeon (1983) state that
implementation is best served by early attention to project evaluation,
careful specification of intent, and thorough consideration of the
motivations and incentives of the policy implementors (p. 272). Colorados
Bill addresses these issues through ongoing evaluation in the form of
school and district accountability reports, the clearly defined intent of

implementing standards-based education, and the motivation provided
through the elements of local control characterized by the bill.
Brewer and deLeons final factors influencing implementation are
closely related to and directly effect implementor support for the policy.
They are implementor incentives and resource allocation. Resource
allocation in the form of state and federal funding is directly tied to
districts implementation of standards-based education, an example of how
incentive has been built into the policy. Additional incentives and
resource allocations are addressed at the district level and are not mandated
by the bill.
Together, Polsby (1984) and Brewer and deLeon (1983) have provided
comprehensive research outlining additional factors which may influence
implementation. A more concise model has been chosen for this study. In
his summary of implementation research, Odden (1991) identifies several
essential elements, or criteria, in the local change process. His criteria
summarize or incorporate findings of other implementation research.
Oddens Criteria Effecting Implementation
In his summary of implementation research, Odden (1991) found several
essential elements, or criteria, in the local change/ implementation
process. Odden found that:

1. Ambitiousness of Efforts had more impact on classroom change than
did either narrowly focused projects or projects to change the entire local
education structure (p. 305).
2. Micro-implementation/Change Process was also key. The specific
change processes were more important than the type of change pursued,
geographical location or ethnic characteristics of districts or schools. How
a change effort was conducted was more important than what it was, where
it was attempted or for whom it was attempted
(p. 305).
3. High Quality, Proven Effective Programs worked well. Research-
based programs with a track record of success produced more outcome
success than locally created programs (p. 305).
4. Policy Initiation was crucial. Top-down initiation could work [and
was] successful in more instances than bottom-up initiated efforts. [Top-
down was conditional and worked only if} a proven effective program was
adopted, if adoption was followed by teacher involvement in designing
implementation strategies, and if intensive ongoing assistance was
provided to teachers in classrooms and schools (p. 306).
5. Administrative Commitment was critical. Central office support and
commitment, as well as site administrator support, commitment and
knowledge were needed . Without district and site administrator support
throughout the change effort, successful implementation was hindered
(p. 306).

6. Teacher Participation, especially in designing implementation
strategies, mattered (p. 306).
7. Training was found to be essential: Extensive, intensive, ongoing
training and classroom specific assistance for learning new instructional
strategies was critical (p. 307).
8. Finally, Teacher Commitment was key. Few successful change
efforts reached advanced stages unless teacher commitment to the project
was developed (p. 307).
All of the criteria as listed by Odden have been identified as playing an
influential role in successful policy implementation. These criteria are
supported throughout the literature, and encompass other criteria
proposed by Brewer and deLeon (1983) and Rein and Rabinovitz (1978).
They will be used when reviewing the implementation process used by the
twelve school districts participating in this study.
This chapter introduced the literature on standards-based education in
national and federal policy, explaining the emergence of systemic reform,
emphasizing state and local adaptation as a key element of policy
implementation in research (Berman & McLaughlin, 1975, Berman &
McLaughlin 1977; Iipsky, 1980; Fullan, 1993, etc.). Colorados House Bill 93-
1313: A Bill for Standards-Based Education is described as a policy developed
with clear directions and mandates for systemic reform balanced by

provisions for local adaptation and variation in implementation. The
implementation of this bill and the role played by local control is the focus
of this study.
Policy formation and implementation is affected by several factors,
among them the political climate under which the policy is created, and the
publics expectations during the implementation phase. The historical
perspective of Colorados House Bill 93-1313 will be described in more detail
in Chapter Four. The roles and influences of actors across the policy
process will be described in more detail as implementation data are
analyzed using Oddens (1991) criteria for successful policy
implementation. Data are analyzed for the presence of these criteria, and
emerging patterns outlining variation in implementation as a result of
local control will be described in more detail in Chapter Five.

This study investigates the relationship between the local control
aspects of a policy and the resulting variation in implementation.
Specifically, the study examines the formation of Colorados House Bill 93-
1313: A Bill for Standards-Based Education, and its implementation across
twelve school districts. Data are collected and analyzed for variation and
for patterns as school districts approach implementation in locally
appropriate ways.
This research representsa linked qualitative-quantitative study. Why?
As Miles and Huberman (1994) put it: Qualitative data are. .a source of
well-grounded, rich descriptions and explanations of processes in
identifiable local contexts. With qualitative data one can preserve
chronological flow, see precisely which events led to which consequences,
and derive fruitful explanations (p. 1). It is critical to be able to describe

the flow as the policy is traced from its formation to its implementation
and evaluation phases, or environments. The study incorporates elements
of quantitative data because during analysis [they] can help by showing
the generality of specific observations. .and verifying or casting new
light on qualitative findings (Miles and Huberman, 1994, page 41). The
authors support a mixed-method approach to research and data collection
and analysis because each method can be strengthened by using intrinsic
qualities of the other (page 42).
This study follows the three levels of linkage described by Miles and
Huberman (1994). The first is the quantitizing (page 42) level where
qualitative information can be either counted directly or converted into
ranks or scales. The conceptual frameworks described and graphically
described in Chapters One and Two help sort information into bins that
hold the discrete phenomena . map likely relationships . divide
variables that are conceptually or functionally distinct, and . work with
all of the information at once (Miles and Huberman, 1994, p. 22). Coding
represents the operations by which data are broken down, conceptualized,
and put back together in new ways (Strauss and Corbin, 1990, p. 57).
Coding the data using the theoretical framework will provide answers to
the dissertation question. Quantifying the data will provide an overview of
the qualitative information.
Miles and Humbermanss (1994) second level of linkage represents the
combining of the two distinct data types. In the case of this study, the
quantified data are a result of analyzing and depicting the qualitative data,

specifically the codes and subcatagories which resulted from the data
sorting. The third linkage indicates the overall study design. This study
follows Miles and Hubermans (1994) Design 1 (page 41). Shown here in
Figure 3.1, the study involves steady, integrated collection of both
quantitative and qualitative data, as neded to understand the case at hand
(Miles and Huberman, 1994, page 41) involving a combination of case study,
survey, and unobtrusive measures.
Figure 3.1: Illustrative Design Linking Qualitative and
Quantitative Data
(continuous, integrated collection
of both
kinds of data)
Following a mixed-method design, the study incorporates both
qualitative and quantitative elements of research design. Miles and
Huberman (1994) list several key features of qualitative sampling. They
state that qualitative researchers usually work with small samples. In the
case of this study, twelve school districts in the state of Colorado comprise
the study sample providing a multiple-case sampling. Secondly, the
authors state that samples tend to be purposive, rather than random. The

twelve districts in this study each represent districts participating in the
implementation of standards-based education through their participation
in the Statewide Systemic Initiatives Program (SSI) sponsored by the
National Science Foundation. This participation demonstrates three things.
First, a level of commitment to implementation; second, a small consistent
source of external support including knowledge, funding, and other
resources; and finally, willingness to provide extensive, structured
information about implementation.
In this study, school districts their programs, their schools, and their
classrooms are the unit of analysis about local policy formulation and
implementation. The study describes how twelve school districts implement
the requirements of standards-based education as outlined by H. B. 93-1313.
Data Collection
In 1993, Colorado received a $10 million grant, referred to as CONNECT,
from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support local
implementation of H. B. 93-1313 in mathematics and science. The data used
here were collected as part of the formal evaluation of CONNECT funded by
NSF and the Colorado Department of Education. The data used here describe
the development and implementation of mathematics and science standards
in the initial twelve participating school districts statewide. These districts
represent a wide range of district characteristics including size, student
demographics and location.

The evaluation study was designed and conducted by Professor Nancy
Sanders as part of the School of Education doctoral laboratory on Standards
and Systemic Reform. The lab provides students with hands-on experience
in policy and evaluation research. I participated in the lab for the initial
three years during which we developed data collection instruments and
gathered data from the twelve school districts participating in the grant.
My role has been contributing to instrument design, field testing, revision,
data collection and analysis. The dissertation is an independent analysis of
the data to investigate the questions posed here. This analysis is part of an
ongoing research agenda investigating school reform and the effects of
the NSF grant.
During the first year of the grant, Dr. Sanders worked with the CONNECT
grant management team to develop a set of benchmarks that guided data
collection from participating districts (see Table 3.1). The benchmarks
provide the structure for data collection and analysis. They represent
elements of consensus about what is required to fully implement the
mathematics and science standards in classrooms. They provide a set of
indicators based in the national literature and primarily reflecting Smith
and O'Days (1990) conception of systemic reform (described in Chapter
Two). The grant provides access to school districts that have indicated
commitment to implementing the standards in mathematics and science.
The benchmarks are used here to organize data collection.

Table 3.1:
Key Elements of Systemic, Standards-Based Education Reform
(as outlined by the CONNECT evaluation team)
Developing Content Standards
Aligning Curriculum & Instruction with Standards
Aligning Assessments with Standards
Aligning Professional Development with Standards
Aligning Teacher Preparation with Standards
Educators and Community Collaboration
Alignment of K 12 and Higher Ed With Standards
Education Policy Alignment With Standards
Statewide Scale-Up
Evaluation Process
Instructional & Networking Uses of Technology
The nature of qualitative research design allows for multiple data
sources, such as artifacts, surveys, questionnaires, interviews, etc. it
adjusts for data in the form of words rather than numbers. The words are
based on observation, interviews, or documents (Miles and Huberman,
1994, p.). To that end, a set of questions was developed for each of the
benchmarks. These questions, in the form of an open-ended and structured

survey, were then piloted on five school districts not participating in the
SSI grant. LeCompte and Preissle (1993) define such instruments as
confirmation surveys those whose purpose "is to assess the extent to which
participants hold similar beliefs, share specific constructs, and exhibit
comparable behaviors" (p. 164).
The goal of the pilot survey was to see if the questions did in fact get at
the information needed for the evaluation process by providing districts
with guidelines to follow in describing their process for implementing
standards-based education. After the initial pilot, the questions were
refined and administered to the twelve participating districts at the end of
the first year (and each subsequent year) of the grant. Data were collected
and analyzed for commonalities, evidence of key elements or factors of
systemic, standards-based education programs, and progress toward
identified SSI goals. The questions were revised slightly for the second
year of the grant.
The data to be analyzed in this study represent the data collected during
the second year of the SSI grant, or the 1994 1995 school year.. This does
not represent an analysis of all data collected during the evaluation
process, only an analysis of data pertinent to the topic of local control and
capacity and the implementation of systemic, standards-based education.
The survey in its entirety may be found in Appendix A.
Several personnel (actors) in each of the twelve participating school
districts were identified to complete the various parts of the survey. Key
personnel, or informants, are "individuals who possess special knowledge,

status, or communicative skills and who are willing to share that
knowledge and skill with the researcher" (LeCompte & Preissle, 1993, p.
166). These personnel were identified as key players in the policy
implementation of each school district. Key actors, the arenas in which
they operated and their environments are those identified in the
description of Nakamura and Smallwoods model (1980) in Chapters One and
Data Analysis
The first step in the analysis of the data collected from the twelve school
districts is conceptualization, which is taking apart an observation, a
sentence, a paragraph, and giving each discrete incident, idea, or event, a
name, something that stands for or represents a phenomenon (Strauss and
Corbin, 1990, p. 63). While a matrix of criteria associated with successful
local policy implementation change processes as outlined by Odden (1991)
is used during the conceptualization phase, it does not preclude the
emergence of new or different conceptual categories. This grouping of
like phenomena into conceptual categories is called categorizing.
Initially, the category names, or codes, are represented by the criteria
identified by Odden (1991) with one category named Other. This bin, or
category, is used to sort miscellaneous information that does not seem to
fit neatly into one of the other bins. It is held in the Other category until
data from all twelve school districts are sorted and coded. Then, the Other

data is reviewed a second time to see if it can in fact be categorized in one of
the other bins, or if new, undefined concepts or categories have emerged.
Each category, or code, represents an element associated with effective
local policy implementation and related subcategories or properties.
Strauss and Corbin (1990) define properties as the characteristics or
attributes of a category and the dimensions of a property as locations of a
property along a continuum (p. 69). It is hoped that the properties and
dimensions of the data will help to identify the influence of local control
and define local capacity in each of the participating districts.
So, data are first conceptualized and sorted into specific categories
dependent upon its properties (see Table 3.2). This is a way to organize the
data for further analysis. The data are then sorted a second time within
each category according to subcategories which emerge. This process is
what Lincoln and Guba (1985) refer to as filling in, extension,
bridging, and surfacing (in Miles and Huberman, 1994, p. 62).
Table 3.2: Oddens (1991) Criteria Affecting Implementation
Ambitiousness of Efforts
Change Process
Quality of Programs
Policy Initiation
Administrative Commitment
Teacher JParticipation/ Commitment

Similarly, as stated by Strauss and Corbin (1990),
two analytic procedures are basic to the coding process,
though their nature changes with each type of coding.
The first pertains to the making of comparisons, the other
to the asking of questions ... These two procedures help
to give the concepts in grounded theory their precision
and specificity, (p. 62 and 63)
By comparing responses on the surveys, similarities or patterns and
differences emerge. By asking very specific questions and providing
opportunities for structured responses in the survey, precise details
emerge for data analysis.
For example, how did districts approach the first requirement in
H. B. 93-1313 to develop content standards? Did they form content standards
writing teams, use proficiencies or outcomes, develop content standards
from existing curriculum, or adopt state model content standards?
Depending upon the ambitiousness of the efforts and the expertise, or
capacity of district personnel, the content standards could be developed in a
number of ways, resulting in a variety of standards. Small districts with
limited capacity may have less ambitious efforts and simply adopt the
states model standards; other districts with newly revised and aligned
curriculum may use that for their guide; other districts may simply hire
trained Curriculum Directors to write theirs, and so on. Each approach,
resources used, and number of people involved provide information about
ambitiousness, change process, and the other factors. In order to observe
these emerging patterns, relationships, and categories in a concise
manner, the data are organized into tables and counted, or quantified (an

element of the mixed-methodology). Findings of the data are discussed in
more detail in Chapter Five.
Data outlining the process by which twelve school districts in Colorado
implement a bill for systemic, standards-based education featuring
elements of local control are collected through surveys which are
completed by key actors in the formation and implementation
environments. Data are then categorized according to the criteria of
effective local policy implementation as identified by Odden (1991). It is
then analyzed for subcategory properties, dimensions, patterns, and
relationships. Categorization is supported by anecdotal records and
artifacts which are a part of, or are collected from, school districts along
with their surveys. After categorization, data are quantified for analysis of
trends and variation to answer the dissertation questions.

Odden (1991) drew the conclusion from his review of implementation
literature that
federally (or state) initiated programs, for
education or other social services, were doomed
to failure on the beaches of local implementation
resistance, and that the priorities, orientations,
and pressures of local governments (school districts
in the case of education) were simply at odds with
those of higher level of governments, (p. 1)
Findings like this and others (Fullan, 1994; Iipsky, 1980; McLaughlin, 1991;
Marsh and Crocker, 1989; etc.) led to an evolution of sorts in the knowledge
and theory of policy implementation. This evolution depicts policy
development and implementation moving from simple top-down,
compliance models toward a more complex interplay among policy levels:
from the arena of the federal government to the state, and from the state to
the local arena of implementation.
Further, research suggests that rather than being linear, policy
development, implementation and evaluation is in fact cyclical in nature.
For example, Rein and Rabinovitz (1978) and Nakamura and Smallwood

(1980) indicate that policy is influenced by a variety of actors in numerous
arenas across the phases of the policy in a cyclical, non-linear fashion.
This is crucial because, as Roemer (1993) states, reform and educational
change in general has different meanings for differently positioned
people (p. 13). Who these people, or actors, are and the roles they play in
policy interpretation will determine the policys development and
implementation in many ways. Similarly, Lipsky (1980) states that
decisions made by street-level bureaucrats, the people implementing the
policy, become, or add up to, agency policy (p. 3).
Colorados House Bill 93-1313 represents one states endeavor in
developing policy taking into account a number of stakeholders, or actors,
following a non-linear model with local control and implementation in
mind. It was driven by national mandates around school reform as outlined
in Goals 2000. The bill is reflective of a policy environment particular to
Colorados approach to implementing standards is
neither top-down nor bottom-up, but rather a
meeting-in-the-middle. The strategy is aimed at
bringing about coordinated change and improvement
in a highly decentralized system, without encroaching
on local prerogatives or priorities,
like many western states, Colorado maintains a proud
opposition to central control, whether in law
enforcement, water policy, health care or transportation.
No where is the tradition of local control stronger
or more fiercely defended than in public education.
(Education Commission of the States, 1996, p. 21)
The purpose of this chapter is to summarize the recent history of
educational reform in Colorado, and to describe the trend, or emphasis on,
elements of local control. This trend has influenced legislation in many

ways across the state. This chapter will outline how the national move for
standards-based education has been interpreted in Colorado through the
focus, or filter, of local control.
Colorado is one of the few states that does not practice a top-down model
of education delivery. The state does not mandate what textbooks districts
are to use, or what subjects are to be taught. Nor does the state mandate
uniform high-school graduation requirements. Colorados diversity is one
reason for its tradition of strong local control. Districts range in size from
large, urban districts serving student populations of 60,000 or more, to
small, rural districts with fewer than 500 students. Colorados model of
education delivery, then, is characterized by a balance between top-down
and bottom-up support.
Elected school boards exercise a great deal of local control over the
shape and direction of schools in Colorado. Local boards set goals and
policies, hire personnel, oversee facilities, set budgets and provide
direction regarding curriculum and instruction. Under the supervision of
the State Board of Education, the Colorado Department of Education has the
responsibility for overseeing the state role in the K 12 education system.
The state role includes regulating teacher certification, processes for
evaluation and dismissal of school personnel, and school accreditation and
accountability. The Governor and the Legislature influence educational
issues through the budget and legislative initiatives.

Colorado emphasizes four strategies in educational reform:
accountability, standards, teachers, and parent and community
involvement. The strategies, while addressed through specific legislation,
are interrelated in leading to systemic reform across the state.
The Accountability Process
This legislation involves a statewide method for placing responsibility
for school improvement in the hands of local school communities. School
and District Accountability Committees develop their own goals and
accountability programs tailored to community standards while addressing
state goals for educational improvement. Each accountability program is
guided and implemented by a representative Accountability Advisory
Committee which reviews improvement plans, makes recommendations and
reports its progress frequently and clearly to all appropriate audiences,
including both the public and the State Board of Education.
This accountability process promotes parental and community
involvement in education reform while holding schools and districts
accountable for reaching high goals for student achievement, attendance
and graduation rates as outlined in the goals established by the State Board
of Education in 1988. The process also promotes local control in the
establishment of specific objectives to meet target goals, reflecting local
expectations and addressing local concerns.

For example, through the use of a community survey, needs specific to a
particular school may be identified. These particular concerns may be as
specific as improving the extra- or co-curricular programs, or as diverse as
improving traffic patterns around the school and community. So, in
addition to goals written for student achievement, attendance, and
graduation rates, additional goals reflective of specifically identified school
concerns are developed and added onto the school accountability plan. This
is one example of how state guidelines are addressed while allowing for the
implementation of goals reflective of particular community needs.
High Standards of Student Performance
Another component of Colorados systemic restructuring strategy is
reflected in the call for high educational standards. The move towards
standards places an emphasis
on such things as critical thinking, problem solving
and communication, as well as mastery of mathematics,
the sciences, history and the social sciences.
(Colorado Department of Education, 1992, p. 3)
Standards reform at the state level, as reflected in H. B. 93-1313, is
important because, as Kildee (1995) writes:
Goals 2000 starts with content and performance
standards. The development of these standards is
extraordinarily important for education. Content
standards focus the education system on results
rather than inputs. They establish priorities about
the purposes of education and help students, teachers,
parents, school authorities, business and higher
education leaders, and the public to establish explicit

shared expectations for learning. The process of
setting standards with all these participants is
essential to enable students to meet the standards.
Content standards inform the curriculum, materials,
professional practices and development, and the use
of technologies, assessments, and accountability
systems to enable more effective results. They help
to link local education agencies and state agencies
(p. 69).
Colorados bill provides outlines for reform through the development and
adoption of state model content standards, but again, provides for district
autonomy in the development and adoption of specific district standards
reflective of local priorities, addressing local interests, and promoting local
values. As in the case of the state mandated local accountability committee,
districts are expected to involve teachers, parents and other members of
the community in the design and development of its district standards.
Prior to the passing of H. B. 93-1313, the Colorado Department of
Education (1992) stated that
It is important to note that setting state and national
standards does not mean establishing a state or
national curriculum. The use of national standards is
intended to be part of both state and local restructuring
strategies that put decisions about what to teach and
how to teach it into the hands of communities and
professionals in the schools. With the high standards
for students clear, those professionals will be free to
decide for themselves how to help students reach them.
It is expected that this strategy will produce much more
variation in the curriculum and in teaching methods
than we now have.
(p. 5)
How variation occurs in the implementation of this legislature, and around
what circumstances, is the focus of this study.

Roles and Responsibilities of Teachers
Separate, but related to standards implementation is teacher preparation
and training programs, and licensure and renewal legislation. This
legislation specifies types of licensure, beginning with a provisional
license for entry-level teachers. These teachers must have completed an
approved teacher preparation or an alternate program and have
demonstrated professional competencies. Entry-level teachers are placed
in an induction program which includes supervision and assistance from a
mentor and the completion of a professional development plan to advance
to a professional license. A state-approved assessment is required for
movement from a provisional to a professional license. A final option,
master certification, recognizes professionals who are involved in ongoing
professional development programs, have advanced competencies or have
demonstrated outstanding achievement.
As individual districts develop and adopt standards, a process for
aligning curriculum, materials, instructional methods, and assessments is
to follow. Districts are responsible for providing ongoing professional
development around standards implementation and alignment procedures.
Professional development is to follow locally appropriate models of
delivery, addressing areas of local concern. This is vital because, as
Resnick and Nolan state, achieving systemic, standards-based education

reform will require interlocking and coherent changes in several
components of the education system, including curriculum, textbooks,
teacher preparation, and continuing professional development (1995,
p. 95).
Parent and Community Involvement
With an emphasis on local control and autonomy, Colorado reform has
woven parent and community involvement throughout the reform process.
Beginning with an active role on school and district accountability
committees, legislation has been passed requiring parent and community
participation across levels of school decision making. H. B. 93-1313 began
by drafting model content standards following extensive design work,
debate and public review. Three rounds of draft standards were issued,
each accompanied by a broad range of public review and input and
followed by revisions, leading to the final version adopted by the state in
April, 1995.
The Colorado Department of Education (1996) reports encouraging
results when measuring public awareness and involvement. For example
two recent statewide opinion polls showed that a majority of Coloradans
know about and support the new K-12 standards [and at the local level],
12,000 Colorado educators, parents and community members have
participated in workshops and training sessions on standards-driven

emphasis on local control, particularly in the field of public education.
The previous, individual focus areas of education reform in Colorado -
accountability, standards, teachers, and parent and community
involvement are all embedded within, or an integral part of, Colorados
House Bill 93-1313. In fact, the Bill appears to have systematically linked
these previous, independent reforms by integrating them into one
comprehensive reform package. These individual elements of education
reform are also aligned with Goals 2000: Educate America Act.
For purposes of clarification, Table 4.1 lists the various programs across
Goals 2000 and H. B. 93-1313. As shown, the states bill is closely linked to
the national Title II category of Reform, Leadership, Standards and
Assessment, and the national Title III category of State and Local Systemic
Reform. While demonstrating compliance with federal mandates, the bill
promotes linkages with individual districts at the local level of
implementation through its requirements for local participation and
individual district adoption of a variety of programs in locally appropriate

Table 4.1: Alignment of House Bill 93-1313 with Goals 2000
GOALS 2000 HOUSE BILL 93-1313
Title I: National Education Goals
Title II: National Education Reform, Leadership, Standards, and Assessment -Content Standards -Optional Outcome Standards -Performance Assessments
Title III: State and Local Education Systemic Improvement -Standards and Assessments Technical Council -Resource Bank -Professional Educator Development Program -Diplomas Certifying Competence -State Board Duties -Temporary Waiver of Regulatory Requirements -Immunity From Civil Damages -Administrative Appeal -Annual Public Meeting
Title IV: Parental Assistance
Title V: National Skills Standards Board
Title VI: International Education Program
Title VII: Safe Schools
Title VIII: Minority-Focused Civics Education
Title IX: Educational Research and Improvement
Title X: Miscellaneous
President Clinton, Congress, the U. S. Department of Education, and
specific political interest groups played active roles in the development of
Goals 2000: Educate America Act. This national policy led to the
development of specific state initiatives. This study focuses on the

implementation of Colorados House Bill 93-1313: A Bill for Standards-Based
Education. House Bill 93-1313, passed by Governor Roy Romer and
Colorados legislature, is endorsed by Colorados Department of Education
(CDE). This bill marks Colorados transition to a systemic, standards-led
system and is marked by state leadership balanced with implementation by
districts in locally appropriate ways.
The influence of local control and the effects of local capacity on the
policys implementation is the crux of this study. Local capacity is
important because, among other things, "peoples skills, insights, ideas,
energy, and commitment are an organization's most critical resources"
(Bolman and Deal, p. 120). The effects of local control and capacity on this
policys implementation will be addressed in the next chapter.

Odden (1991) states that
the important overall conclusion from stage two
implementation research is that higher level
government programs eventually get implemented
locally, that the initial conflict gets worked out over
time, and that the opportunity for bargaining
ultimately produces a workable program for both
parties. Another conclusion is that state and federal
initiatives do impact local practice: there may be
questions about the impact, but impact occurs.
(p. 8 and 9)
Reviewing the policys implementation for the presence and influence
of local control and capacity form the basis of this study. Chapter Four
presented an overview of education legislature in Colorado which
emphasized elements of local control and led up to, or played a part in the
formation of Colorados House Bill 93-1313. This bill provides a strong
framework of support in the form of mandates and timelines in the policy
itself, while utilizing systems linkages for control during implementation.
These linkages allow individual districts to approach implementation in
locally appropriate ways rather than from a mandated, top-down approach.

Districts implement the bill in locally appropriate ways according to
areas of local control and capacity. Capacity is increased as districts
identify areas for staff professional development, obtain outside resources
to fund standards implementation, and develop partnerships with
businesses and higher education organizations. The support linkage
provided by the state in the form of state model content standards and the
Resource Bank of best practices for materials, instruction, and assessment
is an example of how the state aims at increasing district capacity. This
system for policy implementation is supported by research, as indicated by
McLaughlin (1991) who states that
perhaps the overarching, obvious conclusion running
through empirical research on policy implementation
is that it is incredibly hard to make something happen,
most especially across layers of government and
institutions. .We have learned that policy success
depends critically on two broad factors: local capacity
and will. Capacity, admittedly a difficult issue, is
something that policy can address. Training can be
offered. Dollars can be provided. Consultants can be
engaged to furnish missing expertise. But will, or the
attitudes, motivation, and beliefs that underlie an
implementors response to a policys goals or strategies,
is less amenable to policy intervention, (p. 187)
Elements of implementation reflective of local capacity and variation in
implementation are the focus of this study and are outlined in this chapter.
First, criteria associated with successful policy implementation as outlined
by Odden (1991) are reviewed, then data collected from the twelve
participating school districts are analyzed for the presence of these
criteria. Finally, similarities and variation in implementation across the
twelve districts are described.

In his summary of implementation research, Odden (1991) identifies
eight criteria associated with effective local implementation change
processes. In later research, Odden and Marsh (forthcoming)
analyzed the relationship between the strength of
the eight factors and both the level of student
performance gains and the organizational capacity
to manage the change process. They found that
the stronger the schools and districts were ranked
on the eight key change variables, the more they
produced both in terms of student academic
achievement and in terms of organizational
capacity to implement major change.
(in Odden, 1991, p. 307)
Colorados House Bill 93-1313 represents a policy developed with
consideration of local control and implementation by a number of actors
across various arenas. This provides a test case for the lessons outlined in
Oddens (1991) implementation literature.
Oddens (1991) factors are: ambitiousness of efforts, change process,
quality of programs, policy initiation, administrative support and
commitment, teacher participation, training, and teacher commitment.
These criteria form the frame for data analysis used here when studying
the implementation of H. B. 93-1313. An explanation of the different
criteria follows.

Ambitiousness of Efforts
Ambitiousness may be defined as the comprehensiveness, the scope, or
the thoroughness of the reform effort. Comprehensive reform addresses
issues of change from all sides, including a variety of key actors across
implementation levels or phases. The scope of the reform should include
the involvement of these actors across the impacted implementation
arenas. The thoroughness of the reform should be reflected in the end
products of the reform.
When reviewing the data from the CONNECT survey for elements which
could be categorized as evidence of ambitiousness, several subcategories
> Sources of Standards indicates models which were
used as districts developed and/or adopted local
content standards.
> Similar to Sources of Standards is Sources of
Assessment in that it too indicates models which
were used as districts developed and/or adopted
assessments aligned with the local standards.
> Sources of Fiscal Support represent the resources,
both district operational budgets and outside
resources, allocated for the systemic implementation
of the bill.
> Technology Sources identify how each district
approached technology integration and alignment
with standards.
> Involvement in Review depicts the steps, or actions
taken by individual school districts as standards
were reviewed and adopted, and systemic elements
of the bill, such as curriculum, materials, instruction,
assessment, and professional development opportunities,
were aligned. This subcategoiy also identifies who

has been involved in the review and alignment
>Higher Ed. Collaboration characterizes the degree to
which higher education organizations were involved
with districts, and at what levels of the implementation.
>Equitv Integration as a specific subcategory of
ambitiousness relates to how districts addressed issues
concerning equity and opportunity to learn across each
level of the implementation process.
instructional Materials represent the resources and
documents developed and made available as curricular
and instructional tools and resources as a result of the
implementation process.
Parent/Public Information Materials represent the literature
And/or media compiled by each district as a part, or
result of, the public review of standards, materials,
and assessment alignment processes.
>Accountability and Other Reports represent documentation
each district provided as evidence of systemic, standards-
based education implementation.
Together, these subcategories were used to determine the ambitiousness of
efforts utilized by districts across the state as they implemented H. B. 93-
Change Process
The second criteria Odden (1991) identifies with successful policy
implementation is related to the micro-implementation/change process.
Micro-implementation indicates the local changes required by reform
programs. Colorados House Bill 93-1313 mandates very specific changes,
which are to be implemented in each school district. These changes
Address elements of systemic, standards-based reform. The data collected
were analyzed for the presence of these elements as described in literature

and outlined in the CONNECT evaluation. Sub-categories relating to
Implementation Plans and Levels of Implementation were identified.
implementation Plans reflect the scope of the
change process, or implementation.
>Levels of Implementation outline each districts
levels of participation in the phases of implementation
by identifying participants in the implementation process.
Whether districts adopted the state model standards or developed their own,
each of the districts had the opportunity to balance top-down change
mandates with bottom-up reform through the local participation of a
variety of actors in each phase of the implementation process.
Quality of Programs
Odden (1991) states that research based programs with a track record
of success produced more outcome success than locally created programs
(p. 305) and subsequent studies showed that
externally developed programs that had been
shown by research to be effective for a particular
problem could be exported to other districts, and
perhaps with modes tailoring at the margins to the
new local context, could be effective in the new
setting [and that] one risk local program
development takes is in creating a program that
does not work. (p. 305)
This theory is evident in the date describing Program Sources.
>Program Sources indicate whether districts utilized
tested program sources, and to what extent.

Policy Initiation
The data outlines the Source of Change and Levels of Involvement when
reviewed for elements of policy initiation.
> Source of Change indicate whether the policy
is implemented through top-down or bottom-up
strategies, or a combination of the two.
> Levels of Involvement or support identify who
the key participants were at each level of the
policys implementation.
Administrative Commitment
Research completed by Odden (1991) indicates that
administration commitment at the beginning, during
the process of implementation, and when complete
implementation occurred was important for successful
implementation and institutionalization [because]
administrators pass new policies. . allocate money, time,
and personnel resources, schedule activities and conduct
an entire array of administrative functions that can
help or hinder the change process, (p. 306)
In the case of this study, administrative commitment was divided into two
sub-categories: Level of Involvement and Positions Funded.
> Level of Involvement indicate programs and
implementation procedures that central office
and building-level administrators were involved in.
> Positions Funded represent additional staff
added during the implementation process and
serve as an example of districts administrative

Teacher Participation and Commitment
While Odden (1991) lists participation and commitment as separate
factors related to successful policy implementation, they appeared too
similar to separate for the purposes of this study. Odden (1991) suggests
that teacher participation was most valuable in designing implementation
strategies and that teacher commitment was important up-front, before
implementation began. .involving teachers in identifying the change
focus, in selecting the change program and in developing materials
(p. 306). Odden (1991) concluded that teacher input into designing the
specific implementation strategies that would be used helped to develop
teacher commitment to the change effort (pp. 306 and 307).
Research has conflicted on this point. Other researchers (Miles and
Huberman, 1984) have indicated that teacher commitment was an end
result of the implementation process, that commitment came after mastery
and after teachers saw that the program worked (in Odden, 1991, p. 307).
It is hoped that data from this study will help to clarify the issue. The data
collected in this study are analyzed with Oddens (1991) conclusions in mind
regarding teacher participation and commitment. In the course of
analysis, two subcategories emerged: Levels of Involvement and Direct

> Levels of Involvement outline areas of teacher
collaboration and involvement during the
implementation phase of the policy.
> Direct Incentives are those categorized as being
of direct benefit to staff and serve as a motivation
for implementation.
Each of the studies Odden (1991) researched indicate the importance of
extensive, intensive, ongoing training. They found that often times,
training begins with an introduction emphasizing new knowledge or
expertise needed for implementation and expands to cover areas of need
that arise as the policy is implemented over time. Odden (1991) states that
training should take many forms, such as concrete, teacher specific help,
classroom assistance from local staff, teacher observation of similar efforts
in different classrooms...regular project meetings to sort out practical
problems...coaching with feedback, etc. (p. 307).
The data collected for this study are analyzed for elements of training
and broken down into five emerging subcategories: Level of Training.
Areas of Focus for training, and Training Models which were used in the
different districts.
> Level of Training indicates the level of training
that all staff members have received in standards-
based education implementation.
> Areas of Focus specify topics or areas of standards-
based reform for which training was provided.
> Training Models represent the various types of
training opportunities provided by each district.

As mentioned by Odden (1991), different training models and areas of focus
are important in order for teachers to feel mastery of new skills has
occurred. This in itself is important because implementation, or change,
requires new learning.
Having outlined Oddens (1991) criteria for successful local
implementation and identified subcategories for analysis, the data from the
twelve districts were then sorted along a four-point scale:
>1 = limited,
>2 = expanded,
>3 = extended, and
>4 = extensive.
The Definitions of the Scale utilized in the coding process may be found in
its entirety in Appendix D. Following are brief summaries of similarities
and differences in implementation found during the analysis of each of the
Sources of Standards
The twelve districts varied in the ambitiousness of sources used when
developing and/or adopting local, district standards. Sources ranged as

follows: 1 = limited to state standards only; 2 = expanded to include state and
national standards; 3 = state and national standards plus extended to
encompass district curriculum or another outside source; and 4 = extensive
sources including state and national standards, district curriculum, and
another outside source.
Only one district demonstrated limited (1) use of sources. One third
(four) of the districts used expanded (2) sources utilizing both state and
national standards as models. Five districts with extended (3) capacity
utilized district curriculum and/or outside models during their standards
development and/or adoption process. Two districts exercised extensive use
of sources participating in both district curriculum standards and national
curriculum projects.
Table 5.1: Sources of Standards
District 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
sources of standards 3 3 2 4 2 3 4 1 3 2 2 3
Sources of Assessment
Similar to Sources of Standards, this sub-category outlines models used
by the twelve school districts as they worked to comply with the bills
directive to develop or adopt assessments which are aligned with adopted
standards. Sources ranged as follows: 1 = limited to standards only; 2 =
standards plus expanded to include another source or model; 3 = standards,

another source or model and extended to include participation in an
assessment pilot program; and 4 = extensive use of standards, two outside
sources or models and participation in an assessment pilot program.
One third (four) of the districts utilized expanded sources (2) including
state standards plus one other source when developing and/or aligning
assessment. In addition to utilizing state standards and an outside source,
half (six) of the districts were also participating in extended (3) activities,
such as assessment pilot projects. Two districts exhibited extensive (4)
sources during this process by their participation in more than one pilot
program and/or implementation of more than one outside resource when
developing and/or aligning assessment
Table 5.2: Sources of Assessment
District 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
sources of assessm 3 4 3 3 2 2 2 3 2 3 4 3
Sources of Fiscal Support
In addition to the districts general operational funds, districts
demonstrated the ability to leverage additional outside resources to finance
the systemic implementation of the policy. Finance ranged as follows: 1 =
funding limited to CONNECT and Federal Program funds, such as Title I; 2 =
CONNECT, Federal Program funds, and expended to include an outside grant;
3 = CONNECT, Federal Program funds, and extended to include multiple

grants; and 4 = extensive funding including CONNECT, Federal Program
funds, at least one grant, and a business or higher education program
Two districts indicated the use of limited (1) funds in addition to district
general operation funds. Five of the districts provided expanded (2)
resources, receiving at least one grant from an outside source. Two
districts indicated they had extended (3) use of resources with multiple
grants, and two districts exhibited extensive resources (4) having at least
one outside grant and a community/business partner.
Table 5.3: Sources of Fiscal Support
District 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
sources of fiscal support 1 2 1 3 2 1 2 3 2 4 4 2
Technology Sources
Three districts were limited (1) in their use of technology sources,
indicating only the presence of a District Technology Plan. Two other
districts expanded (2) their technology sources by also including other
reports as evidence of technology implementation. Three districts
indicated extended (3) technology sources with the presence of appropriate
technology use descriptors in addition to the district Technology Plan and
reports. Three other districts demonstrated extensive (4) technology
implementation by including other uses and documentation in addition to

the district Technology Plan, reports, and appropriate use descriptors.
While one district mentioned the use of technology, it did not report the
presence of a Technology Plan or any other reports or documentation. This
district received a 0 rating.
The Technology Plans themselves were not reviewed as a part of this
study, but a careful review of the district plans would provide additional
information regarding the depth, or ambitiousness of technology
implementation in each of the districts.
Table 5.4: Technology Sources
District 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
tech. sources 4 1 3 2 3 4 0 1 3 2 1 4
Involvement in Review Process
The bill mandates collaboration between actors and arenas as a part of
the implementation process. Districts implemented processes based upon
locally appropriate standards. One district exhibited limited (1)
involvement in the review process with only representation on review
teams and/or committees. Another districts involvement was expanded (2)
to include representation on writing teams as well as involvement in the
public review process. One district extended this involvement (3) to
include K 16/higher education collaboration. The remaining nine
districts indicated extensive involvement (4) in the review process,

including a system of staff and/or community feedback and input through
the use of feedback sheets, surveys, etc.
Table 5.5: Involvement in Review Process
District 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
involve- ment in review 4 1 3 4 4 4 2 4 4 4 4 4
Higher Education Collaboration
Another subcategory of ambitiousness of efforts is district collaboration
with institutions of higher education. Here, the type of variation activity
was diverse, making coding difficult. One district indicated no
collaboration at all, and received a 0 rating. Seven of the districts
indicated extended involvement (3) with collaboration on pre-service
programs and post-secondary training, recruitment programs,
participation on standards development and/or alignment activities. In
addition, four districts demonstrated extensive involvement (4) by also
providing additional staff and/or programs to schools.
Table 5.6: Higher Ed. Involvement
District 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
higher ed. involve. 3 0 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 3