Chelsea Brown


EDU 5420 Politics in Education

Frank Smith, Ed.D.

Course Description

Analysis of political powers and authority that influence the structure and function of schools.  The first course in politics focuses on the micro politics of the school and its immediate social and political environment.

Course Synthesis

     The second course in this journey came very close to throwing me off course!  Meeting Dr. Smith for the first time and cracking open Debra Stone’s Policy and Paradox challenged me more than any other course I have ever taken.  A political journey with the Market and the Polis embarked us on a journey of problem solving within the political arena. 

     The format of the class was quite simple at times: divide and conquer!  Each small group/pair was assigned different segments of the book and became “experts” in that area.  Then we reported out using notes, power points, and class discussions.  Overall, we concluded that daily decisions create an unending ripple effect.  Today’s leaders are left with the daunting task of managing these decisions while juggling equity, efficiency, security and liberty issues that those decisions may impact?  When creating solutions, leaders must decipher how the symbols, numbers, and personal interests might influence the presentation of needs within the school and community?  Reading and applying Debra Stone began to bring clarity and light to these issues.  A long and rugged journey, this class challenged me and strengthened my ability to grasp the concepts discussed and begin to apply them to the daily decisions I was faced with in class and at work!

     In addition to Debra Stone, we studied Clarence Stone’s study of Civic Capacity.  Stone defined “Civic Capacity as the extent to which different sectors of the community-business, parents, educators, state and local officeholders, non profits, and others- act in concert around a matter of community-wide import through sustained effort.”  He studied the success and failures of several school districts identifying deficiencies in districts that civic capacity were low.

     Our conclusion to this class proved not to be the end, but the beginning of a long and deep relationship…knowing that I would be applying both “Stone’s” to future assignments, discussions, and coursework.  Learning to look globally at issues and solutions helps the knowledgeable leader to make soluble decisions.


Stone, D. (2002). Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.


bullet Civic Capacity Chart
bullet Deborah Stone Presentations
bullet BRI Paper ~ Final Project - Blue Ribbon Initiative Group Paper



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To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature.  Most persons do not see the sun.  At least they have a very superficial seeing.  The sun illuminates only the eye of man but shines into the eye and heart of the child. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson