Date of Graduation
The study of bill introductions can broaden our understanding of how policy alternatives are formed by and for congressional actors. This agenda setting study builds on the work of Baumgartner and Jones (1993), King (1997), Kingdon (1989), Schiller (1995), Worsham (1997), and Wilkerson, Feeley, Schiereck, and Sue (1999). Specifically, the focus will be on education policymakingâ€”an agenda that has ascended to higher status over the last fifty years. Three basic objectives will undergird the analysis. The first is to learn what the education agenda has been in order to understand more about where it is going. Second, is to understand more about how issues evolve and, the third is to gain insight into how agenda-setting studies on large-scale issues are constructed. Two qualifiers help focus the analysis: (1) Congress is used as the venue of agenda-setting activity, and (2) bill introductions are used as the measure of agenda status and governmental attention. The analysis derives from a data set collected by the author on education-related bills in Congress from 1945 to 1998 (âˆ¼12,000). All told, the data set includes more than 230,000 data points, allowing for multiple permutations of the data, several of which will be presentedâ€”general patterns of introductions, issue composition, and membership participation trends. Several endogenous and exogenous variables will be tested for influence on these trends. After reviewing the historical and political context of American education policymaking, the analysis is divided into two parts. The first is descriptive, addressing the basic questions of what gets attention, how much, and by whom. The second addresses three specific inquiries: what factors influence member participation in education agenda building; what drives agenda setting activity in each chamber; and, finally what conditions have facilitated issue expansion on the education agenda. The findings will show that the density of issues on the education agenda increased, particularly after major educational reforms of 1965. Presidential interest, public mood, media attention, and congressional committee dynamics all help explain the changes in both participation of congressional actors and concomitant diversification in the mix of issues on the agenda.
Fisher, Jennifer Lynn, "A hermeneutics approach to studying agenda-setting: The postwar education agenda (1945-1998)." (2000). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8852.