Theoretical Frameworks

Theoretical Frameworks

A Chapter by Debbie Barry

an essay about the theoretical framework of public policy for education. Written for EDU 108: Introduction to Policy & Education.


Theoretical Frameworks

December 16, 2009


After reviewing Fowler's (2009) four theoretical frameworks to evaluate education policy historically (pp. 334-336), I believe the current turbulence in education policy is caused by an ongoing shift from basic, localized education to globalized education.  The world has become much smaller because of rapid advances in electronic and digital communications, and as world markets become more homogeneous, so do "the school systems around the world ... becom[e] more like each other" (Fowler, 2009, p. 336).  This fits with the theoretical framework of international convergence described by Fowler (2009, p. 336).

At the same time, there appears to be a shift from bureaucratic and professional structures in America's education system to more of a market structure.  This shift, described by Fowler (2009) as institutional choice (p. 335) produces turbulence as American students transition from having "clearly defined role[s]" (Fowler, 2009, p. 335) in an ordered hierarchy to being consumers in a competitive atmosphere.  Education in the United States has been largely bureaucratic for much of its history, with parents, students, teachers, and administrators knowing how education worked, what to expect, and how to interact with one another.  Although a shift to an educational market will ultimately bring about "efficient operations and high-quality products" (Fowler, 2009, p. 336), meaning improved educations for students, the transitional period is, by necessity, more turbulent than earlier times have been, as the parents, students, teachers, and administrators adjust to a world where choice replaces routines and where schools and districts adjust their educational, social, and other products to attract student-consumers and to provide more consumer satisfaction to America's society.  It is to be hoped that this transition will be able to progress smoothly so that the resulting turbulence can be reduced, and eventually eliminated, as quickly as possible.  It is reasonable to expect that, once the turbulence of transition has passed, education in the United States will be better than it has been in a very long time.



Fowler, F.C. (2009). Policy Studies for Educational Leaders: An Introduction (3rd ed). Boston:    Allyn & Bacon.

© 2017 Debbie Barry

Author's Note

Debbie Barry
Initial reactions and constructive criticism appreciated.

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School shopping sounds like a win/win.

I wish that I still had gray matter available to address the economic factors of this concept, but I just finished your piece on polygamy and, well, quite frankly...I still have laundry to do....

Posted 1 Week Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Debbie Barry

1 Week Ago

Hi Carol! Thank you for the comments. I wish school shopping had been an option with my kids, but .. read more

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Added on November 10, 2017
Last Updated on November 10, 2017
Tags: essay, education, public policy, theoretical framework, law

A Journey through My College Papers


Debbie Barry
Debbie Barry

Clarkston, MI

I live with my husband in southeastern Michigan with our two cats, Mister and Goblin. We enjoy exploring history through French and Indian War re-enactment and through medieval re-enactment in the So.. more..