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Influence of Political Interests Groups on the Educational Policy Making Process Impacts on Budget and Resource Allocation Essay

Pages:6 (1844 words)

Sources:8

Subject:Government

Topic:Special Interest Groups

Document Type:Essay

Document:#31534900


Budget and Resource Allocation Influence of Political Interest Groups on the Educational Policy Making Process

Introduction

State support for public education has wavered over time as a consequence of other competing interests. This is more so the case given the competing demands of a wide range of other things including, but not limited to, healthcare (i.e. Medicaid). There are, however, variations from state to state. There is need for educational theorists, education policy practitioners and various other stakeholders in the education framework to better comprehend the various political forces having an impact on state fiscal policy. This text concerns itself with the influence of political interest groups on the educational policy-making process, with regard to budget and resource allocation. The context of this particular discussion will be Florida and Texas.

Discussion

Interest groups do not have an assigned definition. This is to say that there is no single accepted definition for ‘interest groups.’ However, to a large extent, interest groups could be described as formations that seek to either represent, protect, or advance the interests as well as concerns of specific stakeholders. Some of the tactics employed by the said formations on this front include, but they are not limited to, public campaigns and advocacy. Thus, common examples of interest groups include political interest groups, economic interest groups, labor interest groups, etc. Interest groups could also, more specifically, be categorized on the basis of their focus on specific issues. Towards this end, we could have public-interest advocates and single-issue advocates (Anderson, 2003). While the latter could largely focus on issues that could be described as single-policy (i.e. K-12 education), the former are advocates of broader causes such as the environment, consumers, etc.

It is important to note that as Tandberg (2009) observes, “since the mid-1970s, state legislators have played an increasingly important role in drafting public education policy” (107). As the author further points out, in crafting legislation related to education, state legislators have always been assisted – explicitly or implicitly – by various interest groups. Some of the said interest groups in Florida include Fund Education Now, Foundation for Florida’s Future, and Florida Education Association (Vote Smart, 2020). On the other hand, in Texas, we have Texas Organizing Project, Texas Home School Coalition Association, Texas AFT, and Jolt Action (Vote Smart, 2020). It therefore follows that the voting behaviors of lawmakers cannot be delineated from the influence of special interest groups. Delaney and Doyle (2007) are categorical that during the debating of bills in a committee, or when bills are brought for final passage, there is often a significant amount of information that state legislators have to process. In some instances, the said information could be contradictory. Thus, legislators often have to rely upon specific sources in an attempt to create an all-inclusive and refined education policy. Jolt Action in Texas has been instrumental in this regard. This is more so the case when it comes to the provision of research data on factors including, but not limited to, the viewpoints of constituents, federal and state reporting agencies, colleagues, and interest groups.

It is important to note that campaign contributions happen to be one of the most important tools deployed by political interest groups in their attempt to ensure that policy makers are friendly to their interests. According to Abbott, Rathbone, and Whitehead (2012), “contributions from interest groups are based on some expectation that the legislator will vote favorable…

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…taken care of by specific laws and regulations that govern a wide range of aspects including, but not limited to, freedom of information, asset disclosure, as well as conflict of interest and lobbying. It therefore follows that political interest groups ought to be allowed to flourish especially given their relevance from diverse perspectives – as has been highlighted elsewhere in this text. There are studies that have also indicated that political interest groups happen to have greatest impact when there are not many within a state, and when their activities or undertakings are largely concentrated. It is also important to note that when it comes to the implementation of an effective lobbying strategy, the relevance of credibility cannot be overstated.

Conclusion

It is likely that going forward, the competition for resources at the state level will most likely to continue. Without the specific influence of political interest groups on the educational policy-making process, the said competition for scarce resources could disadvantage education in the aforementioned states. Political interest groups will most likely continue having a say in as far as state spending priorities are concerned. The relevance of assessing the influence that special interest groups have on the educational policy-making process and how this influences resource as well as budget allocation is of great relevance. This is more so the case given that in the past, various authors have indicated that there is indeed a correlation between the attainment of equitable education among students and political action. Adequate funding is one of the most important factors in as far as equation quality is concerned. There is need to, however, further research the actual impact of various political forces on state fiscal policy. This is more so the…


Sample Source(s) Used

References

Abbott, I., Rathbone, M. & Whitehead, P. (2012). Education Policy. New York, NY: SAGE.

Anderson, J.E. (2003).Public Policy-Making. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Delaney, J. A., & Doyle, W. R. (2007). The role of higher education in state budgets. Journal of Education Finance, 36(4), 343-268.

Grapevine. (2016). Appropriations: State Tax Funds for Operating Expenses of Higher Education, 1983-1984. Retrieved from: https://education.illinoisstate.edu/grapevine/tables/

Larrabee, B. (2016). Education groups put big money into political causes. Retrieved from https://www.gainesville.com/news/20160828/education-groups-put-big-money-into-political-causes

Tandberg, D. A. (2009). Interest groups and governmental institutions: The politics of state funding of public higher education. Educational Policy, 24(5), 104-117.

Vote Smart (2020). Texas Education Special Interest Groups. Retrieved from https://votesmart.org/interest-groups/TX/27#.XrVCzsBRW00

Vote Smart (2020). Florida Education Special Interest Groups. Retrieved from https://votesmart.org/interest-groups/FL/27#.XrVKScBRW01

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