Education Interest Groups and Congress: Using an Advocacy Coalition Framework to Investigate Policy Change
Elizabeth DeBray

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Georgia

Primary Discipline

Political Science
The proposed project examines recent changes in the education interest group sector in Washington, D.C. that attempts to influence federal education legislation for elementary and secondary schools. How well are educators, and education researchers, represented in the legislative process for elementary and secondary education? Which organizations drive the content of policies considered in Congress? These questions are central to understanding the content and direction of federal education policy, yet there have been no recent systematic investigations of them.During the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act between 1998 and 2001, the groups representing professional educators and researchers saw their influence diminished as newer, more conservative coalitions formed. With a Republican-controlled Congress and President in 2005, the hypothesis is that more conservative coalitions and think tanks will increasingly gain access to the legislative process. The study utilizes an advocacy coalition framework from political science to investigate the composition and beliefs of education interest groups during the 109th Congress. Questions to be investigated include what constitute the core beliefs of education interest group coalitions and how they pursue their policy objectives. The methodology employs interviews with leaders across interest group coalitions, as well as with selected staff to congressional education committees.
About Elizabeth DeBray

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