- School choice agenda setting: A national analysis of individual state legislators
Authors: Francis X. Shen, Kenneth K. Wong
This paper applies a state politics literature in political science to better understand the statehouse political dynamics that are likely to affect charter school policymaking in the future. The premise is that the future of charter schools in the United States will be shaped by a subset of the over 7,500 state legislators who are responsible for proposing, amending, and passing the legislation governing charter school creation and operation. The empirical question examined in this paper is what individual and legislative district factors determine whether a State House Rep or State Senator will be a charter advocate, charter skeptic, or simply a legislator who does not put charter schools on their policy agenda. Each legislator brings to the statehouse a unique combination of partisan and personal identity. Each legislator also represents a constituent district with distinct demographic characteristics and needs. The paper investigates these questions in the context of the 2007 legislative sessions, and analyzes a newly created database of the 297 charter school bills proposed in 2007.