The Administration and the Policy Making Process -an Insider's View

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ACTE's Alisha Hyslop recently interviewed the Office of Vocational and Adult Education's Deputy Assistant Secretary, Hans Meeder, about the role of the administration in the process of policy making. Meeder has been actively involved in the Department of Education's preparation for the reauthorization of the Perkins Act, and offers his unique insights below.

ACTE. How are policies developed by the Department of Education and/or OVAE?

MEEDER. In reviewing expiring laws or those that are coming up for reauthorization, the program office (such as OVAE) will generally seek input from outside constituent groups. These outside groups inform and assist the program office in developing new policies through focus groups, public meetings, or a formal public comment process through a Federal Register notice, for example. This allows the department to hear from those in the field who are directly responsible for implementation of the programs. In developing policy, it is important to learn first-hand how well the programs are working at the state and local levels, what changes should be made to improve their effectiveness, what impediments or barriers exist that limit a program's usefulness, or what additional flexibilities in the law should be considered, among other things. The program office consults with the secretary and the White House about general themes or overall policy direction for the reauthorization. A policy statement or blueprint is ultimately developed that will be cleared internally at Education and with the White House. The department also confers with the congressional education committees (on both the House and Senate sides) for their recommendations before a policy document is finalized, and considers the legislative history and any congressional action taken on these programs since the last reauthorization.

ACTE. How do agencies interact and work with the White House? …