Committees and controversy

Our article has finally been assigned to an issue in Educational Policy.

Committees and Controversy: Consultants in the Construction of Education Policy

Rachael Gabriel & Trena Paulus

The increasingly common practice of engaging consulting firms to assist states with educational policy agendas requires an analysis of the role these consultants play in what is positioned as a democratic decision-making process. In this study, we examine the discourse of a state-level advisory committee formed to develop a new teacher evaluation policy under Race to the Top. We used discourse analysis methods to analyze audio recordings of 11 meetings of this committee. We identified two patterns of consultant talk as it related to committee decision making: making decisions through validation and deferring and redirecting decisions, and we describe their implications.

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