The book presents an extensive, novel, representative, and cross-national survey data set on public opinion about education policy in eight European countries, with detailed country-specific case studies of reform processes in Germany, Sweden, England, and Spain.
The authors show the many ways in which public opinion plays a role in education policy, from the early years to higher education. To do so, they develop a theoretical framework that can analyze the role of public perception in numerous policy areas beyond education policy: Issues with lower salience in public perception produce "quiet politics" that is dominated by interest groups. In contrast, for high salience issues, the coherence of public opinion plays the main role: Divided attitudes in society result in a "loud-but-noisy politics” an ambiguous signal that leaves governing parties free to take into account the preferences of their own constituencies.
The APSA Education Politics and Policy Section Award Committee commends the authors' work for its comprehensive, cross-national approach to exploring the basic facts and underlying determinants of public opinion in education policy, offering important insights on policy feedback, policy cycles, and political impact.
Prof. Dr. Marius R. Busemeyer is Professor of Political Science at the University of Konstanz and speaker of the Cluster of Excellence "The Politics of Inequality." His research focuses on comparative political economy and welfare state studies, as well as education and social policy and theories of institutional change and public opinion.
Prof. Dr. Julian L. Garritzmann is Professor of Political Science at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, where he conducts research on educational policy and political socialization research.
Dr. Erik Neimanns is a research fellow at the Project Institute of Political Economy of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. His research interests are in the areas of education policy, public opinion, and macroeconomic policy.
The Education Politics and Policy Section's Best Book Award is presented annually by APSA (American Political Science Association) during its annual symposium, which this year will be presented online.