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Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 87, Issue 5, 2012

State Level Education Policy

The role of the federal government in driving education policy has grown increasingly visible since the passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the announcement of the Obama administration’s Race to the Top grant. Because of this increased visibility, the role of the federal government has become a hot topic of researchers and policy analysts. The increased presence of the federal government in the policy-setting process, however, belies the fact that state and local governments still provide the bulk of educational funding, making these forms of governance equally important fields of study. In this edition of The Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, guest editor David Sevier recognizes the need for continued analysis of state level education policy by bringing together a variety of articles detailing diverse topics in state education policy. Sevier has crafted an issue that broadens the discussion of education reform to include the creative reforms occurring at the state level, the roles of governors and state-level policymakers, and even analyzes the role of states in leading research designed to improve schools.

David Sevier begins the issue with an introductory article that outlines the goals of the issue and describes the subsequent articles. Providing a basic description of the recent shift back to state level education policies, Sevier’s piece lays the groundwork for the rest of the issue. The issue then shifts its focus to a specific state in Christopher Harrison and Lora Cohen-Vogel’s article detailing Florida’s transition to a state-wide system of teacher evaluations, performance pay, and tenure elimination. The two authors then analyze these policies’ impact on the narrative describing Florida’s education system.

Catherine Natale and Janet Cook next explore the role of virtual learning environments and how they relate to state education agencies. The authors use three states as case studies—Alabama, Florida, and Idaho—to analyze how technology has changed the role of the state in education. The next article, by Arnold Shober, describes the growing role of governors in dictation state education policy. Shober argues that fiscal pressures and shrinking budgets have pushed many governors to take an active role in the management of state education systems.

The next piece, by Maida Finch, outlines the process by which Tennessee earned one of the initial Race to the Top grants. Finch interviews key policymakers from the state and also leverages theories of policy innovation to describe the factors that made Tennessee a leading candidate for the initial round of grant awards. Jennifer Wallner then shifts the conversation from the United States to a discussion of Canada’s education system. Focusing on the things that Canadian provinces and American states can learn from one another, Wallner argues that much of the success of the Canadian education system lies in the more indirect support of the nation’s federal government.

Authors Diane Massell, Margaret Goertz, and Carol Barnes focus their article on the role of states in the acquisition and use of research. Citing the fact that state education agencies have been tasked with improving underperforming schools, the authors analyze three education agencies in order to discern the way information flows across and between departments to accomplish turn-around efforts. Finally, Paul Manna concludes the issue with his article detailing the broader trends occurring in state level education policy. Manna argues that states have a growing opportunity to influence and craft new policies that will impact the nation’s many students.

As always, the Peabody Journal of Education would like to extend its gratitude to David Sevier for organizing this excellent issue. The PJE is thankful as well to all the authors for their contributions, without which this issue examining state level education policy would not be possible. We hope practitioners and researchers alike will find this discussion insightful and useful.

CONTENTS
Journal abstracts are linked to titles.

Introduction
David G. Sevier
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 5: pages 515-516.

The Politics of Teacher Reform in Florida: Analyzing Causal Narratives Surrounding State Adoption of Performance-Based Evaluations, Performance Pay, and Tenure Elimination
Christopher Harrison and Lora Cohen-Vogel
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 5: pages 517-534.

Virtual K-12 Learning: New Learning Frontiers for State Education Agencies
Catherine Fisk Natale and Janet Cook
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 5: pages 535-558.

Governors Make the Grade: Growing Gubernatorial Influence in State Education Policy
Arnold F. Shober
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 4: pages 559-575.

Precursors to Policy Innovation: How Tennessee Entered Race to the Top
Maida A. Finch
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 5: pages 576-592.

Looking North of the 49th Parallel: P-12 Education in Canada
Jennifer Wallner
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 5: pages 593-608.

State Education Agencies’ Acquisition and Use of Research Knowledge for School Improvement
Diane Massell, Margaret E. Goertz, and Carol A. Barnes
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 5: pages 609-626.

State Education Governance and Policy: Dynamic Challenges, Diverse Approaches, and New Frontiers
Paul Manna
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 4: pages 627-643.


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