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The Initiative Process and the Reform of Educational Policies


Bali, Valentina Andrea (2002) The Initiative Process and the Reform of Educational Policies. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/ABR6-EV23.


This dissertation examines how educational policy reforms are carried out through the initiative process. First, I develop a model of consensus-making among members of a group when members may care about each other’s policies. The immediate application of this model is to the initiative process when multiple districts implement the new policies. From the theoretical model, I find that discretion can play an important role in the initiative process: discretion will be incorporated into the proposal of the initiative group when voters have heterogeneous preferences across districts or when local agents of implementation are better informed. Next, I study how voters vote on educational measures and then how school districts implement them. I find that, when looking at educational measures in California in the last thirty years, voting on them is not particularly different from voting on other measures, or voting in general, in terms of turnout or voter behavior. Examining voter behavior on Proposition 227 on dismantling bilingual education in California, I find that local school conditions did not seem to have a strong impact on voter support for the measure. Examining school districts' compliance to Proposition 227 I find that voter support for the measure did not have a strong impact on districts' compliance. Finally, I end the dissertation with a careful examination of the impact of Proposition 227 on those directly affected by it: bilingual students in a California school district. I find that this educational reform had a positive impact on students previously enrolled in bilingual programs though the effect was small. Educational initiatives are shaped (and sometimes diluted) by local attributes both at the stages of proposal-making and implementation.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Social Sciences
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Humanities and Social Sciences
Major Option:Social Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Jackson, Matthew O.
Thesis Committee:
  • Jackson, Matthew O. (chair)
  • Alvarez, R. Michael
  • Kiewiet, D. Roderick
  • Sherman, Robert P.
Defense Date:17 August 2001
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04242012-135518579
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6965
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Apr 2012 21:38
Last Modified:18 Aug 2022 22:49

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