From policy networks to policy preferences: Organizational networks in the opt-out movement

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Abstract

Organizational networks shape education policy by influencing power holders and elites, but do they have similar effects on grassroots activists? We use data from the National Survey on Opting Out (2016 and 2018; n = 2,909) to examine the role of organizational networks in mobilizing activists in the opt-out movement (a movement in which parents and caregivers refuse to have their children sit for standardized tests). Despite characterizations of the opt-out movement as a bunch of “soccer moms” disappointed with their children’s test scores, our findings show that opt-out is in fact a structured movement reliant on social movement organizations (SMOs) with agendas that go beyond standardized tests. Further, we demonstrate a small but significant correlation between contact with SMOs and individual policy preferences. These patterns suggest that organizational networks may inform education policy by creating a social space for activists to learn about different policy ideas in education. We discuss implications for research and practice.

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How to Cite
Green Saraisky, N., & Pizmony-Levy, O. (2020). From policy networks to policy preferences: Organizational networks in the opt-out movement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 124. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.28.4835
Section
Researching 21st Century Education Policy Through Social Network Analysis
Author Biographies

Nancy Green Saraisky, Teachers College, Columbia University

Nancy Green Saraisky is a research associate and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies. She received her PhD in political science and comparative education from Columbia University, where her studies were funded by the National Science Foundation. Recent projects focus on the relationship between data, politics and policy as it relates to educational assessment, both domestically and internationally. She also researches education activism and the rhetoric of education policy making.

Oren Pizmony-Levy, Teachers College, Columbia University

Oren Pizmony-Levy is an associate professor in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies. He holds a PhD in sociology and comparative and international education from Indiana University-Bloomington. His research and teaching focus on the intersection between education and social movements. One line of research examines the accountability movement and its role in the emergence of international assessments of student achievement (e.g., TIMSS, PIRLS, and PISA). Another line of research examines the Opt Out movement in the United States.