Education Policy: Bridging the Divide between Theory and Practice (2Nd Edition)

By Cassano, Alethea | Canadian Journal of Education, October 2018 | Go to article overview

Education Policy: Bridging the Divide between Theory and Practice (2Nd Edition)


Cassano, Alethea, Canadian Journal of Education


Education Policy: Bridging the divide between theory and practice (2nd Edition)

by Jerome G. Delaney

Edmonton, AB: Brush Education Inc., 2017 reprint, 100 pages

ISBN 978-1-55059-724-0 (softcover)

Increasingly, there is a tendency to turn to educators to provide a panacea for the social, moral, political, and economic problems plaguing our society. Delaney offers a systematic and straightforward approach to examining education policy, what it means, and how it is developed, implemented, evaluated, and disseminated. He acknowledges that while his approach to writing about education policy has been quite linear, the work of implementing education policy is somewhat less than linear. In fact, it is a circuitous and challenging undertaking, for teachers, building administrators, and school board officials alike, made all the more difficult by the relationship of policy to power and control.

Prior to becoming an academic, Delaney was a teacher and principal in Newfoundland and Labrador's K-12 public school system. Through this lens, he is able to address some of the underlying assumptions of policy implementation. Admittedly, some of these assumptions may be common knowledge to those outside of the domain of public education, such as the fact that educational institutions tend to be tradition-bound and resistant to change. However, other of Delaney's assertions reveal an insider perspective, such as his firsthand understanding that many policies are met with skepticism by classroom teachers, who as professionals are prone to reflecting critically on new policy, that is often formed or at least authorized by lay boards.

Education Policy: Bridging the Divide Between Theory and Practice is divided into fifteen chapters and allows a clear framework to ease the transition from idea to implementation. From the first chapter, "An Overview of Education Policy," in which Delaney demonstrates that "There are as many definitions of education policy as there are writers on the subject" (p. 3) to the final chapter, in which he endorses educational policy as a way to improve teaching and learning, this book guides the reader through a systematic approach to mastering what policy means, and why it is beneficial. Furthermore, Delaney examines the role of research, and the challenges that surround its implementation, evaluation, and dissemination. He delineates practical examples, tips, and guidelines for approaching the topic, and clearly enumerates many of its primary points. Each section provides a focused framework, using headings and subheadings, often written in list format. Finally, each chapter culminates with a set of relevant discussion and reflection questions, designed to unpack the terminology and to provoke further explorations into practical applications.

In the opening chapter, the author enumerates the benefits of "well-written, well-organized, and regularly updated policies" (p. 5). Chapters 2 and 3 examine values and principles as well as types of education policies, respectively. …

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