Power, brokers, and agendas: New directions for the use of social network analysis in education policy





social network analysis, policy networks, education policy, organizations


In this special issue, Researching 21st Century Education Policy Through Social Network Analysis, authors use social network analysis (SNA) to explore policy networks, broaden the current literature of sociological approaches to SNA, and/or incorporate new lenses for interpreting policy networks from political science or other academic disciplines. This editorial introduction first provides an overview of policy networks and their relevance in education. Then, the editors describe existing work applying the tools of SNA to education policy and highlight understudied areas before describing the articles included in this issue. These articles apply SNA to a variety of education policy issues, including large scale policies such as the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Common Core State Standards, charter schools, and the relationship between system and non-system actors. Articles highlight multiple applications of SNA, including how SNA can be used to advance theory, as well as describe and predict policy networks.


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Author Biographies

Emily Hodge, Montclair State University

Emily M. Hodge, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Montclair State University. She received her PhD from the Department of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her work uses qualitative methods and social network analysis to understand the changing nature of strategies for educational equity. Recent projects have explored how educational systems, schools, and teachers negotiate the tension between standardization and differentiation in the context of the Common Core State Standards, and the varied strategies state education agencies are using to support standards implementation.

Joshua Childs

Joshua Childs is an assistant professor of Educational Policy and Planning (EPP) in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. Joshua received his PhD in Learning Sciences and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh. Joshua's research focuses on the role of interorganizational networks, cross-sector collaborations, and strategic alliances to address complex educational issues. Specifically, his work examines collaborative approaches involving community organizations and stakeholders that have the potential to improve academic achievement and reduce opportunity gaps for students in urban and rural schools.

Wayne Au

Wayne Au is an educator, activist, and scholar who focuses on issues of race, class, and power in schooling. He is a professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington-Bothell, where he currently serves as dean of diversity and equity. Au is an editor of the social justice teacher magazine Rethinking Schools and the author or editor of numerous other publications, including Teaching for Black LivesRethinking Ethnic Studies, and A Marxist Education: Learning to Change the World.




How to Cite

Hodge, E., Childs, J., & Au, W. (2020). Power, brokers, and agendas: New directions for the use of social network analysis in education policy. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 117. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.28.5874



Researching 21st Century Education Policy Through Social Network Analysis