23 SES 01 C, Policy Processes and Sources of Legitimation in Decision Making 1
Using manifesto data for 2000–2013, this article examines policy positions in party programs in school policy across the German federal states. The literature on the politics of education has largely ignored the study of party manifestos. However the analysis of parties` election programs is significant, because it offers the opportunities for a better understanding the preferences, programs and policies of political parties (Klingemann, et al. 1994). In the study of party manifestos in international comparisons, Germany is often treated as a whole and only the party manifestos at the national level are considered (Jakobi 2011, Busemeyer et al. i.E.). But in federal countries like in Germany, party competition is foremost structured within the regions (Laender). And even more regional party manifestos are an optimal source for extracting party positions, because due to Laender sovereignty in the field of education the regional parties are the main actors in school policy at subnational level. Previous analyses indicate, that in programme profiles significant differences between left and conservative parties exist (Stern 2000).
In recent years, the school systems in the 16 Laender have experienced profound changes. Two strands in school policy have become central issues in public debate: structural reforms in secondary education and the inclusion of children with special educational needs in the highly segregated education system. The ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities requires that the single Laender implement an inclusive education. Furthermore, a number of East and West German Laender introduced two-tiered models consisting of an academic and a combined vocational track.
What are the positions of the different regional parties in these school debates? Have the described developments in school policy led to programmatic convergence in party manifestos? Or could we still recognize distinct positions between the parties? To answer these questions we look at the relative positioning on multiple dimensions in school policy, such as school structure, inclusion of students with special educational needs as well as changes in party positions since 2000. We refer to all regional elections and to all parties who are represented in regional parliaments (N=195 election manifestos).
Our theoretical perspective refers to the main conflict dimensions that are assumed to be significant for party differences: capital versus labour (Lipset/Rokkan 1967, Pappi 1984, Pappi/Shikano 2002). Moreover, we refer also to a specific conflict dimension in German education policy, which is not considered in the analyses of election manifestos until now: the different understanding of giftedness and it`s change across time.
Busemeyer, Marius/Franzmann, Simon T./Garritzmann, Julian L., i.E.: Who owns education? Cleavage structures in the partisan competition over educational expansion, in: West European Politics. Jakobi, Anja P., 2011: Political Parties and the Institutionzalization of Education: A Comparative Analysis of Party Manifestos, in: Comparative Education Review 55 (2), 189-209. Klingemann, Hans-Dieter/Hofferbert, Richard I./Budge, Ian, 1994: Parties, Policies and Democracy, Boulder. Lipset, Seymour Martin/Rokkan, Stein, 1967: Cleavage structures, party systems and voter alignments: An introduction, In Lipset, Seymour Martin/Rokkan, Stein (Hrsg.), Party Systems and Voter Alignments, New York, 1-64. Pappi, Franz U., 1984: The West German Party System, In Bartolini, Stefano/Mair, Peter (Hrsg.), Party Politics in Contemporary Western Europe, London, 7-26. Pappi, Franz Urban/Shikano, Susumu, 2002: Die politisierte Sozialstruktur als mittelfristig stabile Basis einer deutschen Normalwahl, in: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 54 (3), 444-475. Stern, Jutta, 2000: Programme versus Pragmatik. Parteien und ihre Programme als Einfluß- und Gestaltungsgröße auf bildungspolitische Entscheidungsprozesse, Frankfurt a.M.
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