New Directions in Education Policy Implementation

Confronting Complexity

Edited by Meredith I. Honig

Subjects: Education Policy And Leadership
Paperback : 9780791468203, 300 pages, July 2006
Hardcover : 9780791468197, 300 pages, July 2006

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Table of contents


1. Complexity and Policy Implementation: Challenges and Opportunities for the Field
Meredith I. Honig

2. Communities of Practice Theory and the Role of Teacher Professional Community in Policy Implementation
Cynthia E. Coburn and Mary Kay Stein

3. Policy Implementation and Cognition: The Role of Human, Social, and Distributed Cognition in Framing Policy Implementation
James P. Spillane, Brian Reiser, and Louis M. Gomez

4. Language Matters: How Characteristics of Language Complicate Policy Implementation
Heather C. Hill

5. Revisiting Policy Implementation as a Political Phenomenon: The Case of Reconstitution Policies
Betty Malen

6. Connections in the Policy Chain: The “Co-construction” of Implementation in Comprehensive School Reform
Amanda Datnow

7. Building Policy from Practice: Implementation as Organizational Learning
Meredith I. Honig

8. Toward a Critical Approach to Education Policy Implementation: Implications for the (Battle)Field
Michael J. Dumas and Jean Anyon

9. An Economic Approach to Education Policy Implementation
Susanna Loeb and Patrick J. McEwan

10. Social Capital and the Problem of Implementation
Mark A. Smylie and Andrea E. Evans

11. Implementation Research in Education: Lessons Learned, Lingering Questions, and New Opportunities
Milbrey W. McLaughlin


Provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive review of contemporary research in education policy implementation.


A companion to Allan R. Odden's Education Policy Implementation, also published by SUNY Press, this book presents original work by a new generation of scholars contributing to education policy implementation research. The contributors define education policy implementation as the product of the interaction among particular policies, people, and places. Their analyses of previous generations of implementation research reveal that contemporary findings not only build directly on lessons learned from the past, but also seek to deepen past findings. These contemporary researchers also break from the past by seeking a more nuanced, contingent, and rigorous theory-based explication of how implementation unfolds. They argue that researchers and practitioners can help improve education policy implementation by not asking simply what works, but rather focusing their attention on what works, for whom, where, when, and why.

Meredith I. Honig is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington at Seattle.