Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-31-1969

Abstract

This study investigated the informal political process operative within one state legislature, the 1969 New Mexico State Legislature, in relation to three education bills. A conceptual framework by Lewis A. Froman, Jr. proposed the following questions within which the study was framed: (1) Who are the leaders in the political process? (2) What are the leader's resources (values, beliefs and attitudes)? (3) What is the intensity of the leader's attitudes? (4) What decision-making systems are used?

Ten major lobbyists cooperated the research by providing data pertinent to Froman's categorical questions. The data were collected from pre-legislative session interviews and interviews throughout the complete sixty day in-session period. Sought in the interviews were the lobbyists' assessments of the informal process in terms of leaders, their resources, attitude intensity and decision-making systems.

Distinct coalitions were found to be operative within the informal political process which affected each of the education bills. For example. the educational coalition was instrumental in the passage of SB 1 (public school finance bill), but the opposing coalition was able to influence the reduction of the appropriation from $26.8 to $11.7 million new dollars.

The coalition favoring higher education effectively acquired $5.6 of the requested $6.2 million increase in funds, largely because the attitude intensity expressed by the opposing coalition was considerably less than it's attitude of oppositions toward SB 1.

The membership of the coalitions influencing the Public Employees Bargaining Act consisted of considerably different participants than the other two bills. This issues assumed more the character of an internal education-labor matter, as evidenced by fragmentation within the educational groups and defeat of the bill.

It was determined that the resources (values, beliefs and attitudes) of the leaders were key factors in determining their roles in the informal political process. For example, a conservative legislator, a governmental official obligated to austerity programs and a lobbyist committed to low taxes were found to gravitate toward a common position in opposition to increased expenditure of state funds.

It was also concluded that the intensity of leaders' attitude toward issues (such as increased state spending) implicitly influenced their orientation to issues and access to information, and explicitly affected the passage or defeat of legislation. In addition it was determined that Froman's concepts of decision-making (bargaining and hierarchy) were operative functions of the informal political process.

In conclusion, it was discerned that Froman's model nicely provided specific categories through which one could analyze the functioning aspects of an informal political process. The model was limited, however, in relation to the empirical tools provided in Froman's theory to undertake such an analysis.

Document Type

Dissertation

Level of Degree

Doctoral

First Committee Member (Chair)

Herbet Hughes

Second Committee Member

Martin Burlingame

Third Committee Member

Richard Holemon

Fourth Committee Member

Unknown

Fifth Committee Member

Charles Telly

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