Title

An analysis of the politics of the policy implementation environment of Connecticut's Public Act 93-263: An Act Improving Educational Quality and Diversity

Date of Completion

January 1998

Keywords

Law|Education, Administration|Political Science, General

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This study examines policy initiatives which have been implemented as a result of Connecticut's Public Act 93-263: An Act Improving Educational Quality and Diversity. This Act, the only one of its kind in the United States requiring citizen input into solutions to existing de facto school segregation, was passed in 1993 by the Connecticut General Assembly in the shadow of an impending court decision in the desegregation case of Sheff v. O'Neill. After dividing the state into eleven regions, the Act required towns to draft voluntary plans which were then to be voted upon by representative citizen groups in each Connecticut school district. Regions which passed their plans then had the option of progressing to an implementation phase.^ Using case study methodology, the study seeks to address this question: What programs have Connecticut school districts implemented as a result of their involvement in the PA 93-263 process, and what led to the implementation of these programs? Data collection methods include semistructured interviews, nonparticipant observation, and document analysis centering around one Connecticut region which passed its Diversity Plan and has moved to implement various programmatic options. Data are analyzed through the frameworks of Kingdon's (1995) and Nakamura and Smallwood's (1980) conceptual models for policy analysis, and Gamson's (1968) and Meier and Stewart's (1991), theories of power and influence.^ The study indicates that programs directed toward improving student diversity and awareness of diversity are the predominant outcomes of the Act. Programs directed toward improving opportunities for limited-English proficient students, improving school and student performance, and reducing barriers to opportunity have not been pervasively undertaken in the districts studied as called for by the Act The study provides insights which might aid other regions of Connecticut in implementation of initiatives directed toward resolving issues of school segregation. ^