Honors Theses

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Amy Wells-Dolan

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study is to investigate the political process related to educational legislation and initiatives. To accomplish this purpose, I conducted four interviews with educational experts who either have been active participants in the educational legislative process or been life-long educators. From these interviews, I organized their responses into four categories. These categories were Educational Issues in Mississippi, Passing Educational Legislation in Mississippi, Polarization of Politics, and Media Influence. With these categories, I did extensive research to bring in outside literature and documents to analyze the political process related to education legislation. In my qualitative study, I found Mississippi has historically been ranked near the bottom in education. Because of this ranking, many have ideas of how to implement positive change for Mississippi's educational system such as privatization of schools and increased teacher training. Historically, Mississippi has been able to pass prominent educational legislation, such as the Education Reform Act of 1982 and Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP). These significant educational legislations were passed through the use of thorough legislative strategies. However, in recent history passing educational legislation has become far more difficult. Polarized politics have taken over the country and the state of Mississippi. New forms of media have left the electorate either misinformed or uninformed. Also, partisan media has created an electorate which favors ideology rather than truth (Koppel). Hence, these sound legislative strategies formerly used by advocates of public education to enact legislation has been co-opted by polarized politics and perpetuated by new means of propagandizing the electorate. Nonetheless, these ideas of how to implement positive change are never enacted, and the problems with Mississippi's education system remain.

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