Date

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

American Studies

First Adviser

Davis, Frank

Abstract

Public schools are political institutions that have been transforming in recent years and this paper will use “new institutionalismâ€? to understand some of the dynamics motivating this transformation. Vivien Lowndes’ “manipulated institutionâ€? provides perspective regarding why this transformation is occurring. Legislators have used the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to maximize their chances of reelection by transferring power from teachers to parents of students with special needs, making them more important actors within the institution, and, in the process, creating a reliable voting bloc that they can use to win future elections. By their actions, legislators have given parents the power to influence the work rules of public education.

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