A Qualitative Examination of the Political and Policy Development of Indiana’s School Scholarship Act (House Bill 1003)

Shawn Ellis


This research investigation examines the policy context of Indiana’s School Scholarship Act. John Kingdon’s work on agenda setting will serve as the conceptual framework for analyzing the problems, policies, and politics that arose prior to and during the passage of this legislation. The goal of this study is to identify specific social, economic, and political problems that drew attention to the need for this Act as well as to understand of the political behaviors and decision-making of stakeholders during the legislation’s drafting. This cross-sectional qualitative study will use multiple in-depth interviews conducted with key stakeholders in addition document analyses in order to understand this phenomenon. Unfortunately due to time restraints, interviews were not conducted and only press releases and public statements made by stakeholders were coded to discern thematic opinions and behaviors. This investigation found that the document analysis supports the literature on this subject. Concepts that emerged include: civic capacity, equal opportunity, and quality of education. The conclusion is drawn that political parties struggled to define vouchers and charters as a solution to Indiana’s educational issues. Overall, the state Republican Party had more agenda setting power and greater influence than Democrats and thus was able to gain wider support for vouchers. Implications of this research are such that political endeavor may not directly support the education of children. Recommendations for corrective actions are discussed. Limitations of this research are discussed.


Vouchers; School Choice; Indiana’s School Scholarship Act; Policy Streams

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15695/vurj.v8i0.3515

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