An essential read for rethinking and improving how education policy is made and implemented.
In Deliberative Policymaking, Elizabeth Grant advances a fresh framework for making collective decisions about US schools. Grant argues that education policy itself can be made fundamentally better by improving education policymaking methods. Informed by accounts of recent policymaking actions as well as her own considerable experience as a federal-level policymaker, she offers a keen assessment of which components of existing education policy and policymaking have been effective and which have not.
In this deeply reasoned work, Grant presents new approaches to the art and craft of policymaking—specifically, the processes by which policymakers define public problems, determine a theory of change, aid implementation, and test policy approaches. She endorses policy design thinking, including user-centered design; greater attention to education statecraft, such as reinforcing federal-state relations; and partnering with intermediaries who can help policymakers determine where the public interest lies. She underscores how these deliberative practices support democratized policymaking and implementation, which can lead to more inclusive and equitable policy.
In a discussion of the implications of this deliberative approach, Grant notes that the success of policy work depends on civic capacity to initiate and sustain improvement efforts, and on policy's ability to meet the demands of the time. This book is essential reading for anyone who makes policy and anyone interested in how education reform is realized.
Elizabeth Grant is the superintendent of schools for the Salt Lake City School District and former associate professor of education at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development.