The Politics of Education Policy in an Era of Inequality: Possibilities for Democratic Schooling, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Politics of Education Policy in an Era of Inequality

Possibilities for Democratic Schooling, 1st Edition

By Sonya Douglass Horsford, Janelle T. Scott, Gary L. Anderson


240 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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In a context of increased politicization led by state and federal policymakers, corporate reformers, and for-profit educational organizations, The Politics of Education Policy in an Era of Inequality explores a new vision for leading schools grounded in culturally relevant advocacy and social justice theories. This timely volume tackles the origins and implications of growing accountability for educational leaders and reconsiders the role that educational leaders should and can play in education policy and political processes. This book provides a critical perspective and analysis of today’s education policy landscape and leadership practice; explores the challenges and opportunities associated with teaching in and leading schools; and examines the structural, political, and cultural interactions among school principals, district leaders, and state and federal policy actors. An important resource for practicing and aspiring leaders, The Politics of Education Policy in an Era of Inequality shares a theoretical framework and strategies for building bridges between education researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.


"Conceptually framed by critical policy analysis, this book presents an alternative to traditional education policy and politics texts by focusing on issues of power, voice, democratic participation, and the reproduction of inequality in the policymaking process. As importantly, through the narrative, discussion questions, and real-life case examples, the text lays out how educational leaders can disrupt this policy inequality at multiple levels…I am grateful all education preparation programs will have access to this text for their leadership and policy courses to further develop leaders for equity who truly make a difference."

from the Series Editor Introduction by Colleen A. Capper, Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Table of Contents


List of Figures, Tables, and Boxes

Series Editor Introduction



Chapter 1 The Politics of Education Policy in an Era of Inequality

Chapter 2 Critical Policy Analysis: Interrogating Process, Politics, and Power

Chapter 3 Public Schools or Private Goods? The Politics of Choice, Markets, and Competition

Chapter 4 National or Special Interests? Federal and State Education Policy and Reform

Chapter 5 School District Governance and Education Leadership: A Shifting Landscape

Chapter 6 Philanthropy, Donors, and Private Influence over Public Education

Chapter 7 The New Professional: Teaching and Leading Under New Public Management

Chapter 8 In Pursuit of Democratic Education

Chapter 9 Building Power: Community Organizing, Student Empowerment, and Public Accountability

Chapter 10 Reclaiming Democracy and the Transformative Power of Education: Possibilities for Democratic Schooling



About the Authors

Sonya Douglass Horsford is Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Columbia University, USA.

Janelle T. Scott is Associate Professor of Education Policy, Politics, and Leadership at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Gary L. Anderson is Professor of Educational Leadership at New York University, USA.

About the Series

Educational Leadership for Equity and Diversity

This exciting new series, Educational Leadership for Equity and Diversity, addresses the core areas of leader preparation and development in the field of educational leadership. By extending the foundations of the field to new conceptions of leadership that reflect educational diversity, equity research, and emerging theory, this series moves the educational leadership field forward. These powerful books from a diverse set of authors combine research, theory, and practice to support a new generation of scholarship. This series provides aspiring principals, assistant principals, district level leaders and researchers with the necessary tools to successfully lead inclusive and socially just schools.

Special Features of Series:

  • The series books align with the core content areas within Educational Leadership preparation programs
  • Written by respected authors in the field (established and emerging), diverse by race, language, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, disability, and their intersections
  • Addresses the full range of student and staff diversity including race, culture, social class, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, language, religion and their intersections
  • Grounded in relevant and emerging theory--includes foundational, traditional perspectives and also extends the conversation to current critical perspectives
  • Explicitly takes an inclusive and integrated approach to schooling
  • Draws from current and classic literature and empirical research
  • Integrates examples from practice to illustrate theories and concepts
  • Explicit links are made between preK-12 and higher and postsecondary education
  • A series companion website with suggestions and activities for teaching chapters, power points, and video links

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Leadership