Data: The DNA of Politically Based Decision Making in Education

Authored by: Bruce S. Cooper , John Sureau , Stephen Coffin

Handbook of Data-Based Decision Making in Education

Print publication date:  October  2008
Online publication date:  April  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415965033
eBook ISBN: 9780203888803
Adobe ISBN: 9781135890841


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The politics and processes of making decisions in education are particularly complex, and at times, utterly confusing. While business policies, by contrast, are often based on a more limited set of concerns (e.g., viability, profitability, and availability) and are created apart from the larger political landscape, decision making for U.S. schools involves the interaction of three terribly complex areas, which are the topic of this chapter:

(1) the multiple governmental-jurisdictional levels at which politics flourishes and decisions are made (e.g., federal, state, local, and school-site);

(2) the complex processes of forming, instituting, and evaluating education decisions and policies; and

(3) the levels of educational policy data gathered by the nation, states, districts, schools, and students, creating a “double helix” of information that “flows up” from each child to the system to the country (and world); and in return “trickles down” to performance norms by system, school, and student.

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