Reflections on the concepts of "politics," public policy and education policy


  • Oscar Espinoza Universidad Diego Portales, Chile



Educational policy, public policy, policy, policy analysis, critical theory, functionalist theory


The purpose of this article is to shed light on three key issues: a) the concepts of policy, public policy and educational policy and the interrelations that those concepts have when conducting policy analysis; b) some procedures to conduct policy analysis; and c) some trends observed during the development of educational policies based on the assumptions of critical theory and functionalist theory. Methodologically, this is a qualitative study which uses secondary sources (based on in depth literature review). The study concludes that the design and the implementation of educational policies are framed in different ways by policy makers and other stakeholders adopting the critical and the functionalist paradigm. Policy makers using critical theory as their main framework emphasize the necessity of linking the analysis, design and implementation of educational policies to the demands of those actors that usually are not the target of public policies, that is, poor people and minorities. On the other hand, policy makers that work with functionalist-positivist frameworks use to consider in their analyses technical factors, privileging in that sense, cost-benefit analysis, cost-efficiency analysis, and social indicators.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Oscar Espinoza, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile

Oscar Espinoza es Investigador del Programa Anillo en Políticas de Educación Superior de la Universidad Diego Portales y del Programa Interdisciplinario de Investigaciones en Educación (PIIE). Obtuvó su Ed. D. en Policy, Planning and Evaluation in Education, University of Pittsburgh (2002).



How to Cite

Espinoza, O. (2009). Reflections on the concepts of "politics," public policy and education policy. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 17, 8.




Most read articles by the same author(s)