NEW YORK STATE POLICY-MAKING ON EDUCATION FOR THE GIFTED

JANET IRENE FARNHAM, Fordham University

Abstract

Harold D. Lasswell's policy analysis model was used to study New York State's policy process for education of the gifted. This analysis was conducted within the context of federal/state roles in education, as recently defined by New Federalism. Lasswell's model facilitated understanding of philosophies and policy positions of the governor, legislature, Regents, and interest groups.^ Less powerful than Rockefeller in relation to two very powerful legislative leaders, Governor Mario Cuomo's rising national eminence was not echoed in Albany. Although viewed as a philosopher statesman of scrupulous integrity, Cuomo lost several personal advisors, sidestepped the state Democratic party's appointment patterns, and was criticized for lack of specific proposals on statewide problems. His proposal for "regional schools of excellence" was unenthusiastically received in suburban and upstate districts.^ New York's Regents, more politically independent than most state boards, nevertheless have been overshadowed on dollar items by the legislature's "policy making through the budget." Non-dollar Regent's Rules and Regulations on testing and curriculum remain nearly unilaterally Regents' policy, but the legislature "could intervene if it wished." Part of a national trend, the legislature has been increasing its demands for specific outcomes of education aid.^ As earlier research predicted, New York's education interest groups were "fragmented"; NYS United Teachers were most influential, with the School Boards Association not a close second. Business interest groups currently influence education policy also.^ Lacking a cohesive lobby, gifted advocate groups attained general legislation and minimal aid but not coordinated statewide programming and standards. Some grants to individual legislators' local districts for particular gifted programs also weakened the general advocacy movement.^ Unlike many earlier studies, the research showed that New York State legislative staff, greatly increased in the last 20 years, initiated policy resulting in a new configuration, Parafederalism. While education has been the "number one dollar item" for legislators, expert full-time legislative staff negotiated the "final package" whose arcane education aid formulae were fully understood by few legislators. Low-budget items such as gifted aid were almost solely a function of staff policy and were included in a total aid proposal which was negotiated even before party conferences (caucuses). ^

Subject Area

Educational administration

Recommended Citation

FARNHAM, JANET IRENE, "NEW YORK STATE POLICY-MAKING ON EDUCATION FOR THE GIFTED" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8624481.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8624481

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