October 18, 2007

John Kingdon rides again

Ed Muir writes,

Just like mayoral and state takeover, [breaking up the L.A. Unified School District] is a solution that gets talked about in large part because people worried about L.A. schools need solutions to talk about.

In other words, people use the ideas that are "floating out there" in the social ether. I've written about John Kingdon as a theorist before, but one of the pieces he uses is certainly true here (people work the ideas in their heads and in the environment), and Kingdon's book is a wonderful manual for policy tacticians, if not for policy-oriented historians. Michelle Fine has also made this point, if in a different sense (that people can only work with the ideas that are in their heads). Neither is entirely correct: people can invent new ideas and ways of working, but having available ideas makes them more likely to be seen as solutions to existing problems (whether or not the solutions solve the problems).

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Posted in Education policy on October 18, 2007 2:34 PM |