This paper examines the relationship between policy formation in the United States and educational policy researchers. The experience of one independent 'think tank', namely, Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), located within universities, illustrates how research might inform policy and how it might not be victim to the problems, well rehearsed in the literature, of poor dissemination.
Subway riders in London are constantly warned to “mind the gap,” the dangerous empty space between the platform and the train. Unwary riders who fail to heed this advice may suffer a variety of unpleasant consequences, ranging from scuffed shoes to broken ankles.
This article seeks to deepen our understanding of the nature and quality of democratic participation in educational reform by examining the first-year implementation of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) mandating civic engagement in district decision-making. Drawing on democratic theory, empirical literature, and data from 10 districts, we find that even when district leaders committed to involving stakeholders in decision-making, achieving this vision was often constrained by power imbalances, deeply engrained institutional habits, and limited capacity.