The purpose of this study was to investigate the political process that resulted in the establishment of the Minnesota Center for Arts Education as a state funded educational policy option. This research identified the interest group actors who initiated the idea and the key actors who guided it through the policy arena, and analyzed the interactions of the participants from the political perspective of actors, goals, motivations, resources, strategies, arenas, critical interactions, and outcomes. This study focused on the executive and legislative arenas in Minnesota government. The study was bounded in time by the initial policy proposal set forth to the members of the Minnesota Alliance for the Arts in Education in 1976, and the final enabling legislation passed in 1989. The research methodology was single case study with qualitative data gathered from interviews with 27 significant informants, archival sources, and the public record.
The research found that human agency and personalization of policy were key elements in the policy making process and a constant factor in the dynamic interaction between Governor Perpich and state legislators. The concept of a state financed arts high school originated outside the K-12 policy subsystems and gained crucial support when the Governor attached himself and the resources of his position to the idea in 1984. The findings are significant for proponents of educational reform who believe that education policy options ought to be enacted on the merits of the idea and underestimate the importance of the complex interplay of human behavior: power, motivation, advocacy, executive leadership, and political strategy. This research concluded that the legislation for the Minnesota Center for Arts Education was enacted because of the effective use of resources controlled by the Governor and his staff, and a pragmatic understanding and implementation of political strategies during critical interactions in the legislative arena.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Dr. Neal Nickerson. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 387 pages, appendices A-O.
Hainlen, James Douglas.
The process of politics: a study of the political process leading to the establishment of the Minnesota Center for Arts Education..
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