Principal-Agent Relations in Oregon Education Policymaking: The Case of Full-Day Kindergarten
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The exercise of federal and/or state power is inherent to policymaking. The principal-agent theory, borrowed from economics, describes the difficulties in motivating one party (agent) to act in the best interests of the other party (principal). The theory provides insights into the roles of self-interested choice, information asymmetry, and sense making in political relationships. The extent to which the state understands the inherent challenges expressed in this dynamic and is responsive to the local school district’s specific circumstances is not well understood and thus presents an opportunity for research. This mixed methods study uses a confirmatory approach to analyze Oregon’s 40-40-20 education reform legislation and the state’s ability to operationalize education reform through the principal-agent framework, focusing on the implementation of full-day kindergarten legislation.