Who has power in education policymaking, what motivates them, and what this means for educational policies and outcomes
Jon Valant

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Stanford University

Primary Discipline

Political Science
My dissertation examines who has power in U.S. education policymaking, what defines their values and interests, and how this combination of power and interests translates to educational policies and outcomes. This is fundamentally about the politics of education, an area with comparatively little rigorous research. My work offers insight on these sources of power and how they affect which policies succeed, fail, and are never pursued. The dissertation features three journal-style articles. The first is a regression discontinuity-based study of whether the political party controlling state governorships and legislatures affects policies, outcomes, and agendas. The second uses randomized experiments to test how people?s desires for schools depend on their perspectives as school-choosing parents, taxpayers, or citizens. The third explores what Americans hear and believe about educational equity, drawing from media reports, political texts, and nationally representative survey experiments.
About Jon Valant

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