Urban Regime Theory and the Reform of Public Schools: Governance, Power, and Leadership

Authored by: Dorothy Shipps

Handbook of Education Politics and Policy

Print publication date:  June  2008
Online publication date:  June  2008

Print ISBN: 9780805861112
eBook ISBN: 9780203887875
Adobe ISBN: 9781135595586


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The last decade of the 20th century saw the application of a new political paradigm to urban education and its reform. Regime theory has since invigorated the politics of education with fresh analytical opportunities. Unlike two other recent theoretical innovations—a concentration on the micropolitics of schooling (Blase & Anderson, 1995; Iannacone, 1975; Malen, 1995; Marshall & Scribner, 1991; Owen, 2006), and at the other extreme, a focus on the global struggle between neoliberal and neoconservative institutional forces (Anyon, 2005; Apple, 2000; Lipman, 2004; Mickelson, 2000)—regime theory applies to school systems that have public authority to govern a geographically defined set of schools. 1 As such, it seeks new explanations for school governing arrangements and addresses schooling where policy change typically takes place. Since city school systems have been confounding to both policy makers and researchers for half a century, regime theory’s persistent interest in urban governance is especially expedient.

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