Allocating State Funds for Public School Library Media Programs: A Case Study of Education Policymaking in Maryland

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2007-11-30

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The research had three purposes: to determine what factors account for the legislative decision outcomes resulting in the allocation of state funds for Maryland's school library media programs in 1998 and the denial of continued funding in 2001; to test the capacity of an integrated policymaking model to account for legislative victory and defeat; and to add to literature on state education policymaking in Maryland and school library media funding decisions in state arenas.

The study employed an integrated framework developed by combining Kingdon's (1995) multiple streams model with Mazzoni's (1993) power and influence model to examine each legislative decision making event as a political process influenced by the power of the players and shaped by developments in each of the multiple streams. In combination, these two frameworks helped to analyze how efforts to secure dedicated state funding for school library media programs succeeded in 1998 and failed in 2001. The investigator employed an exploratory case study to render a provisional interpretation of the two legislative decision outcomes regarding state funds for school library media programs.

The case study produced findings that point to two significant factors that impacted the ability of advocates to secure categorical state funding for school library media programs in 1998 but not in 2001: (1) the key role played or not played by the governor and (2) contextual forces that either enabled or constrained advocacy efforts.

The study demonstrates the utility of the integrated model in explaining state education policymaking. Kingdon's multiple streams concept provides broad analytic categories as manageable units of analysis and Mazzoni's power and influence categories provide the analytic tools required to map out the dynamics in each stream. The study includes implications for those who may want to influence education policy decisions in state arenas.

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