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Look Inside The Politics of Institutional Reform

The Politics of Institutional Reform
Katrina, Education, and the Second Face of Power

$44.99 (C)

  • Date Published: April 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108481151

$ 44.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • In this ground breaking analysis, Terry M. Moe treats Hurricane Katrina as a natural experiment that offers a rare opportunity to learn about the role of power in the politics of institutional reform. When Katrina hit, it physically destroyed New Orleans' school buildings, but it also destroyed the vested-interest power that had protected the city's abysmal education system from major reform. With the constraints of power lifted, decision makers who had been incremental problem-solvers turned into revolutionaries, creating the most innovative school system in the entire country. The story of New Orleans' path from failure to revolution is fascinating, but, more importantly, it reveals the true role of power, whose full effects normally cannot be observed, because power has a 'second face' that is hidden and unobservable. Making use of Katrina's analytic leverage, Moe pulls back the curtain to show that this “second face” has profound consequences that stifle and undermine society's efforts to fix failing institutions.

    • Provides a novel approach to studying the politics of institutional reform
    • Offers a new perspective on the education reform that occurred in New Orleans post-Katrina
    • Shows how the politics of institutional reform can be understood in terms of simple fundamentals: vested interests and power
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A groundbreaking contribution. By creatively leveraging Katrina’s impact on New Orleans education reform as a natural experiment, Moe generates fresh insights into the role of power in sustaining poorly performing institutions and sheds new light on society’s potential for problem-solving and real reform. A must-read.' Eric M. Patashnik, Brown University, Rhode Island

    'Beautifully written, rich in descriptive detail, and propelled by a singular idea, The Politics of Institutional Reform packs a punch. This isn’t just a book about education reform. It is a book about all public policy all the time: about how vested-interest power prevents society from fixing its institutions - and how, when that power is swept away, reforms once deemed heretical can become commonplace.' William Howell, University of Chicago

    'Terry M. Moe uses the case of Hurricane Katrina to generate fundamental insights into the politics of institutional reform. Moe demonstrates how the ‘second face of power’ ordinarily allows vested interests to stifle major reform, and shows how institutional politics are transformed when their power is disrupted. A must-read for anyone interested in understanding the dynamics of institutional stability and change - and the challenge of fixing failing institutions.' Eric Schickler, University of California, Berkeley

    'Terry M. Moe uses a theorist’s insight to cut through the clutter surrounding New Orleans’ school transformation. As he shows, smart pragmatists like Paul Pastorek can do sensible things, but only when the guardians of the status quo lose their blocking power. The result is a novel and revealing analysis of how power shapes the prospects for institutional reform.' Paul Hill, Center for Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108481151
    • length: 174 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Power, vested interests, and the politics of institutional reform
    2. Before Katrina: the normal politics of reform
    3. After Katrina: reform with the lid off
    4. Protecting the revolution: toward a new normal
    5. Learning from Katrina.

  • Author

    Terry M. Moe, Stanford University, California
    Terry M. Moe is the William Bennett Munro Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, California, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He has written extensively on the presidency, public bureaucracy, and the theory of political institutions more generally, most recently in Relic: How Our Constitution Undermines Effective Government – And Why We Need a More Powerful Presidency (2016, with William Howell). He has also written extensively on the politics of American education, most recently in The Comparative Politics of Education: Teachers Unions and Education Systems around the World (Cambridge, 2017, edited with Susanne Wiborg) and Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America's Public Schools (2011).

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