Equity is Non-Negotiable: Shaping State Education Policy Through the Lens of Interest-Based Bargaining
Tim Moriarty - Capstone - FINAL - 04-30-2021.pdf (1.526Mb)
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Moriarty, Timothy A.
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CitationMoriarty, Timothy A. 2021. Equity is Non-Negotiable: Shaping State Education Policy Through the Lens of Interest-Based Bargaining. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
AbstractHow can stakeholders from across the education ecosystem work collaboratively to ensure that equity of student access and outcomes is placed at the center of state and local policies and practices? This central question framed my residency experience with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Commonwealth’s state education agency. Our work focused on shaping a policy proposal to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) intended to close demographic gaps in enrollment in the state’s secondary Career/Vocational Technical Education (CVTE) pathways, which offer students proven educational and career benefits.
Due to interdependence in the state’s system of education (DESE relies on local districts to implement policies and practices aligned to state regulations), the Department engaged the field in informal interest-based negotiations to craft a mutually beneficial policy proposal. To better understand and incorporate the field’s interests into the negotiation process, I analyzed both the root causes of enrollment disparities in the state’s CVTE system and the contextual factors that influence superintendents’ equity decision-making. These analyses drove stakeholder engagement and shaped the Commissioner’s proposed regulatory changes to BESE, intended to elicit equitable enrollment through removing barriers to information about, and access to, CVTE pathways for underrepresented student populations, while ensuring local district control over implementation with Department monitoring.
This project illuminated the need for DESE to be clear about its values and commitments—particularly equity—when engaging stakeholders, as well as about the level of authority the Department is offering constituencies outside the agency in influencing state policy and practice. This work also illustrated the need for DESE to build and maintain trusting relationships with stakeholder groups, particularly local educators, through authentically collaborating with key constituencies on initiatives from problem diagnosis through solution proposal and into implementation guidance. With local leaders’ contextual factors often predisposing them to uphold the status quo, state education agencies like DESE are well-positioned to place equity at the center of policy considerations through mandating diversity, equity, and inclusion components in both educator preparation programs and licensure requirements, thus shifting the occupational context that influences educators’ daily decisions impacting students’ lives.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37370264