23 SES 07 C, Policy Development in Diverse Contexts (Part 1)
Paper Session to be continued in 23 SES 08 C
Research Background and Research Questions
This paper aims to compare national parents’ organizations (NPOs) in UK, Finland, Taiwan, Australia and the U.S. to understand parents’ effectiveness in influencing national educational policy. Parents are important stakeholders in education. When shaping important educational policies, parents deserved to be consulted and their views should be taken into decent account. Evidences from Taiwan (Wang, 2014) show that parents’ organizations play important roles in shaping national educational policies despite the fact that parents often do not necessarily agree on many educational issues. Representativeness of parents’ organizations continues to be a controversial issue. The question of whose interests do parents organizations serve has been brought out often. To provide better suggestions for shaping parents’ inputs in national educational policy, cross-national comparisons of national parents’ organizations (NPOs) are conducted to address the following questions:
What are the major NPOs in the selected countries? How are they formed? What are their major functions and roles?
How do NPOs organized to influence national educational policies in the selected countries? What are the effective strategies? What have been their major accomplishments? What are the major challenges of these NPOs in affecting national educational policies?
How should NPOs organize themselves and function to enhance the inputs from parents in shaping national educational policy?
In the pluralist or neo-corporative society, interest groups play an important roles in shaping educational policies. Interest group is defined as an organization that is separated from the government but work closely with the government to shape public policy. Wilson considered interest group as an important linking and buffering organization that facilitates democratic practices. Interest groups provide opportunities for political socialization, the expression of ideas, a check-and-balance mechanism for political governance, and an issue generating organization (Wilson, 1990). NPOs thus play an important roles in monitoring and shaping the development of national educational policies. Common strategies used for influencing educational policies include media, legislation, legal approach, protest, and coalition (Herrnson, Shaiko & Wilcox, 2005；Hula, 1999；Lipsky, 1968；Opfer, 2001).
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