Dynamics of policy formation in Turkey and the U.S. : a comparative case study of two reform initiatives

Keser Aschenberger, Filiz
The bond between the state and education has become stronger due to expended role and control of the state over education especially in the 21st century. Control of the state on education is embodied in educational policies which are the apparatus of modern states used to shape the education system in accordance with the basic interests and values of the society. However, educational policy is a complex, dynamic and multi-tiered concept that is formulated in a diverse sociopolitical system. Understanding the context and the dynamics of educational policy making is required to understand the dynamics of any educational system. This study aimed to investigate the formulation process of educational policies in Turkey and the U.S. through the perceptions of key actors in policy making process. On a broader perspective, this study tried to examine how certain issues became the agenda of the governments, how educational policies were formulated, under what conditions, in which context, and by which agents (persons or groups). For this purpose a qualitative comparative case study design was applied. Two specific policy initiatives of teacher education and teacher quality policies in Turkey (Career Ladders for Teachers, 2005) and Wisconsin, U.S. (Teacher Education Program Approval and Licenses: PI34, 2000) were focused as cases. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and document analysis. Seven key policy makers in each case were interviewed, and primary and secondary documents related to policies were collected. A descriptive, analytical and comparative approach was followed during the data analysis and interpretation. Results of this study showed that policy formulation process in education in two countries is highly complex and under the influence of various factors which determine the policy context in which the policy is developed. Policy context, in both countries, is intertwined by political, economic, social and international factors as well as the culture, values, beliefs, experience, variety and number of the policy actors. Policy process in Turkey, on the account of CLT, can be described as more politicized, and bureaucratic, more straightforward without policy games, and serious conflicts among the policy actors, yet more constrained, top-down, closed, government oriented and elitist process in which democratic procedures were ignored. Wisconsin, on the other hand, demonstrates a more complex policy contexts nested in different levels of government and high number of interest and pressure groups competing with each other, and based on consensus building and participation in within the realms of pluralist tradition.
Citation Formats
F. Keser Aschenberger, “Dynamics of policy formation in Turkey and the U.S. : a comparative case study of two reform initiatives,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2012.