While a considerable attention is being paid to educational policy legitimation to empower local governments, schools, and communities for administration, implementation , and budget, the processes of educational policy legislation procrastinating a long time still remain insufficient critiqued and studied in Taiwan. There is an urgent need to reconsider as, in spite of political democracy and free election, major problems of lower legislation productivity, postpone, inefficiency, continue to blight our education systems. The main purposes of this study are: (1) to probe into the influential actors of educational policy legitimation, (2) to investigate the strategies of educational policy legitimation, (3) to explore the difficulties of educational policy legitimation, (4) to summarize the results and offer improvement strategies for practicing educational policy legitimation.
The legitimation of educational policy is often studies from the theoretical framework of rational comprehensive model (Banfield, 1959), disjointed incrementalism (Lindblom, 1959) the mixed-scanning model (Etzioni, 1969) , normative optimum model (Dror, 1968) approach. Policy models are ‘megapolicies: A kind of master policies clearly distinct from detailed discrete policies’(Dror, 1971). In Taiwan, there are contrastive pragmatism and ideology in educational policy making in educational reform since the end of party-state system and also conflict in national identity at curriculum preparatory stage especially after party turnover at the year of 2000. Thus, the results of these political conflicts are standoff and malaise between dominant party and opposite party in which interest groups and media propagate cynically each other for self- interest. When we go beyond the above portrayal of progress of political conflicts in legitimation as simply the history of political struggle, we argue that there are four theories that could be analyzed and applied in the educational policy legitimation in Taiwan.
First, in rampant pork barrel politics, Taiwanese voter are mobilized in election time partial by the allurement of pork barrel (Wu, 2000) ; Second,. Mazzoni arena model consists two arenas: the ‘subsystem arena’ which includes members of legislature, interest groups as well as agencies with predictable, pluralistic bargaining process seeking to accommodate all major stakeholders and ‘macro arena’ which consists various type of leaders, groups, the media, and individuals not include in subsystem arena .Macro arena concerns about public opinion and grassroots constituencies. Mazzoni also hypothesized that when the policy process shifts from the legislative subsystem to the macro arena, innovation becomes possible.
Third, Weider argued compensatory legitimation (Weider, 1983). In Taiwan, Some the intensity of the legitimacy problem happened and policy was administrated by executive order, not via legitimation. Therefore, government adopted policy strategies of compensatory legitimation that appear to be particularly well suited for this compensatory purpose. It seem particularly pronounced when it comes to education, as education is particularly exposed to conflicting norms and thus in need of especially high levels of legitimation (Weider, 1983).
Fourth, the theory of institutional choice (Gormley, 1987). For example, when Taiwan government decide to make health insurance policy, they often choose themselves as the protector of health; and, if they decide not to protect public health, they inevitably make some other institutional choice by default (Lin, 1997).
In order to accomplish the objectives, the study adopts documentary research, questionnaire survey and interview. The subjects of this study, on questionnaire survey with a sample size of 561 subjects, and the effective number of 388 subjects, are randomly selected from those who - formulate educational policy, influence educational policy, and implement educational policy. The data from the questionnaire is processed for statistical analysis using "SPSS for Windows 12.0" statistical package software.
Additionally, the subjects of this study on semi-structured interviews, with a sample size of 16 subjects, are selected from those who - formulate educational policy, influence educational policy and implement educational policy. The data from the interviews are sorted, homogenized by the researcher and continue to be analyzed.
Questionnaire survey data:
The possible influence of actors in educational policy legitimation ranks from high to low: faculty of Ministry of Education (3.72), legislators (3.57), faculty of Administration Yuan (3.41), media (3.34), experts and scholars (3.31), president (3.29), interest groups (3.72), teachers(2.96), principals(2.90), parents(2.82), faculty of party(2.76), student(2.51), faculty of Judicial Yuan(2.50).
The actual influence of actors in educational policy legitimation ranks from high to low: legislators (3.41), faculty of Administration Yuan (3.36), interest groups (3.19), media (3.17), faculty of Administration Yuan (3.12), president (2.99), experts and scholars (2.91), faculty of party (2.69), parents(2.52), principals(2.51), teachers(2.39), faculty of Judicial Yuan(2.17), student(2.03).
The strategies should be utilized in educational policy legitimation ranks from high score to low as Table 1: media (3.14), party negotiation (3.06), lobby (3.05), contact legislators personally (2.98), legislation plan (2.93), benefit exchange (2.83), demonstration (2.79), coalition (2.78), petition (2.69), providing fund (2.60), cosign and mailing list (2.60), testify on hearing (2.52), sending letters (2.40), conference (2.40), report (2.39), publication (2.33), draw up draft (2.28).
The strategies had been utilized in educational policy legitimation ranking from high score to low as Table 1: lobby (3.10), media (2.99), party negotiation (2.85), contact legislators face to face (2.80), petition (2.74), demonstration (2.71), testify on hearing (2.68), sending letters (2.63), coalition (2.57), cosign and mailing list (2.49), benefit exchange (2.48), conference (2.45), legislation plan (2.38), publication (2.36), report (2.22), providing fund (2.19), draw up draft (2.03).
Difficulties encountered in educational policy legitimation rank from high score: legislation inefficiency (3.62), ideology (3.62), personalism (3.61), party over-intervene (3.58), popular issues (3.57), interest groups influence (3.54), hearing system defect (3.46), legislation system dysfunction (3.39), educational agenda neglect (3.36), information transparency, general hearing system, short of related professionals (3.33), lack of professional knowledge (3.33), stakeholders disinterested(3.24), scanty of academic groups participant (3.20).
Improvement methods for educational policy legitimation rank from high to low: construction well-developed hearing and consultant system (3.47), disclosure legislation process (3.56), educational law amended periodically (3.44), integrity legislation system and efficiency, educational affair regulation easily administrated (3.40), enforced law education (3.38), unbound overcontrol educational law (3.38), train up professional related to policy legislation (3.38), teacher and student right regulation (3.37), simple phase in regulation (3.35), promote professional knowledge of legislators (3.34), norm contain both incentive and penalty (3.33), party ideology restrained (3.18).
From the opinion of interviewers, the strategies of interest groups include lobbying, hearing, demonstration, mailing letter or E mail, media, direct contact with legislator, plan legislation, seminar, report, coalition, manipulation and even illegal campaign contributions. Appeal to media and form pressure, party negotiation and lobbying are most effective strategies of educational policy legitimation of all.
Appeal to media and form pressure
People who formulate, implement and influence educational policy argued that Legislators, officers, interest groups and even people often take any opportunities to appeal to media and expand the issues visibility or test the possible reaction. They utilize the media as amplifier in order to affect the targets for legislation.
The one like interest groups, academic groups, legislators and people who wants to make influences on policy-making often utilize the same strategies such as writing a article, reports, telephone, mailing list, through members and media (G20050729).
People who implement and influence educational policy claimed that, when the intransigency act in conflict could not pass the subcommittee, it will send to the party negotiation.
When the case in subcommittee comes to the deadlock, it will come to party negotiation or votes. General speaking, party negotiation is often used rather then votes, because you use votes this time, next time you break the relation with the opposite party (O20050726).
The direct strategies of interest groups are lobbying to associate members.
University will united as coalition to come to committee, if the subcommittee members thought the subjects they lobby about are making sense, they will vote for their idea (C20050727).
At the 2004 AERA annual meeting, Russ Whitehurst (2004), Richard Shavelson, said that “what the committee concerned was that the federal government would legislate what counts as science and scientific method (St.Pierre, 2006). Therefore, scientific method for exploring the educational policy played a critical role of in data analysis and finding interpretations.
The influential actors we had examined by questionnaire survey data closely clearly indicate faculty of Ministry of Education had the most influential power, and then legislators and faculty of Administration Yuan. Although political party Caucus with little influence on policy legitimation is seemingly the end of party-state system, now policy is constantly shaped and reinforced by media and interest groups probably operated by party indirectly. The findings highlights the important influence of interest groups and media in legitimation, on the contrary, students and teachers, and experts seem to have limited right in policy legislation. Actors from the department of education, legislature and executive staff should influence legitimation. Actually, it should promote increased influence from teachers and students. The strategies should be or had been utilized in educational policy legitimation are lobby, media, party negotiation, contact legislators personally.
Improvement methods for educational policy legitimation are construction well-developed hearing and consultant system, disclosure legislation process, and educational law amended periodically, and integrity legislation system and efficiency. A key improvement method of well-developed hearing system and consultant system suggests that present hearing and consultant system may not be sufficient to ensure the diversity opinion and different background group’s participant. And that a wider range of public information about hearing process is badly needed.
Discussion and Conclusion
From analyzing theoretical framework, investigating actors, difficulties, strategies in legitimation, we aim to construct improvement methods for educational policy legitimation by examining theory, reducing legitimation barriers as inefficiency, ideology, personalism, party over-intervene and strategies application.
The analysis of data clearly lead us to conclude: first, media relations and lobbying are effective, while seminars and study reports are not as effective. It may be dangerous that media with unchecked power had supervised the legislation.
Second, the results tend to focus on influential actors including legislators, administration officials, media, and interest groups. The actual influence of media and interest groups still need to be measured in future study. However, interest groups and media should be rational with self-discipline and should not have unchecked influence. In Taiwan, the democracy society had free media; media had his social responsibility in different aspects, though. If media are not self-discipline, his unchecked influence may act on the educational policy dreadfully. Inspecting Pierre Bourdieu's field theory, the understanding of the media production and culture production could realize the power of journalism. When educational policy concerning controversial issue merged, interest groups could make use of the media in attempt to sway public opinion to support their standpoints.
Third, the difficulties of legitimation are autocratic and party over- intervention, and the ineffectiveness of the council is the most difficult in all of above. A common deficiency is irrelevancy and creating an elitist dialogue; though most of it is to over emphasize administration system. To improving legitimation, making public of process and information; and releasing appropriate law is feasible. However, in practice, advanced professional knowledge and capacity are very important.
Fourth, before the legislation, hearing systems allow public to provide diverse opinions into draft, but in the interview, it seemed that hearing system is a close and conservative environment and discourage stakeholders to express their opinions. We argue that establishing the integrity of hearing and consultative systems by accepting diverse opinions while reducing possible resistance and the processes of legislation should be flexible, diversiform, openly and applied to different situation and groups adapting to capriciously and changeful political situation, or minefield.
This study argues obvious party negotiation and unobvious benefit exchange provides evidences support pork barrel politics occurred in Taiwan. This may, in part, be because benefit exchange may happen under the table. From the Mazzoni arena theory, we found that it is no surprise that legislators and officials in subsystem arena actually be affected by media in macro arena. This study seems to offer useful improvement methods for educational policy legitimation as integrity of hearing system in shaping educational law in Taiwan.