Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association


This paper is a case study of Kentucky's attempt to fix not only failing schools but a failing public school system. It reports on the policy making and implementation conundrums of the debate over Kentucky's high stakes accountability system. As a political policy analysis, the study relies on documents, media reports, and interviews with key players to expand understanding of the issues. The paper reports primary and secondary focus group and interview data from a variety of professional educators and parents. The combined frameworks of political culture and authentic policy perspectives are useful for depicting the story of Kentucky's debate over accountability and assessment. Political culture emerges as a defining influence on Kentucky's educational accountability debate. What becomes of assessment and accountability in Kentucky remains to be seen, but it is apparent that fixing failing schools has enormous political overtones. However, the power of professional culture must not be underestimated in this equation. An appendix contains the statement of principles from the Kentucky Task Force on Education Reform.

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