The politics of charter school authorizing : the case of New York State



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Drawing on interview data from charter school policy actors in New York State, this study applied Kingdon’s (1984, 1995/2002) multiple streams model to explain how the system of multiple statewide charter authorizers was created as part of the New York State Charter Schools Act of 1998. A combination of factors influenced the emergence of the law and resulted in an authorizing system that included an effective set of policy entrepreneurs, a strong executive, and a key political opportunity. Ultimately Governor Pataki promoted charter school policy to high agenda prominence by deciding to use the issue as his desired policy in exchange for a legislative pay raise (agenda setting). The findings of the study suggest that the applicability of Kingdon’s national-level model to the state level is valid and features a strong participation of the state executive branch.