Whose Opinions Count in Educational Policymaking?


  • Joel Malin University of Illinois
  • Christopher Lubienski University of Illinois


agenda setting, decision making, educational policy, expertise, information dissemination, political influences, politics


The success of some advocacy organizations in advancing their preferred policies despite questionable evidence of the effectiveness of these policies raises questions about what contributes to successful policy promotion.  We hypothesize that some education-focused organizations are advancing their agendas by engaging media, with individuals who may not possess traditionally defined educational expertise. Using two distinct expert lists, we examined relationships between measures of expertise and educational impact.  We found non-significant positive relationships between these measures with a list of experts complied by a conservative think tank, while a second list from a university-based center showed a significant positive relationship. We conclude that media impact is at best loosely coupled to expertise.  This issue should be explored in greater depth because deleterious outcomes are more likely if individuals are more successful in shaping policy discussion based on criteria outside of expertise.

Author Biographies

Joel Malin, University of Illinois

Joel Malin is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois.  He is also a school district administrator for Lake Forest School District 67 (Illinois).  His research focuses on educational policy analysis and educational assessment. 

Christopher Lubienski, University of Illinois

Christopher Lubienski, PhD is Associate Professor of Education Policy, and Director of the Forum on the Future of Public Education at the University of Illinois.  His research focuses on the political economy of education reform, with a particular interest in the equity effects of markets in education.




How to Cite

Malin, J., & Lubienski, C. (2013). Whose Opinions Count in Educational Policymaking?. Current Issues in Education, 16(2). Retrieved from https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/1086




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