Victor A. Montemurro   
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Comprehensive Doctoral
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The School of Education and Human Services

St. John's University


Policy and Politics

Courses in this section of the Learner Folio include Politics in Education and Collective Negotiations in Education. Policy is the result of political process including human discourse, coalition building, strategic representation, negotiation, and decision making.

This study expanded my view of politics beyond the simple notion of power and control and has enabled me to avoid the helplessness that attends common expressions that dismiss politics as beyond any one's control except those that have or take power. Political thinking is anyone's domain provided a willingness to get involved with the messy process, understand the irrational aspects of establishing and defending positions.

I have now have some tools to comprehend my stand on distribution of resources and community building (Stone, 1997). I now know that my essential virtues and principles, learned as a child, and upon which I have a based a life of action can be articulated and defended in the community. I also understand that solutions to community or social problems are not won or lost in a single battle, but are the temporary steps in an ongoing process for which one must return to principles, stand strong, and continue the dialogue.

Political thought defies logic since essentially political thought is fraught with abstract notions with multiple meanings. The bias for the categories of rational political thought is exposed by Stone’s argument that “analysis is itself a creature of politics; it is strategically crafted argument, designed to create ambiguities and paradoxes and to resolve them in a particular direction” (p. 7). The political strategist must be ever mindful that arguments for logic and rational thinking, in policy formation or community building, are attempts to control and position the dialogue so that actions or policies will develop according to those who can best craft an argument and build the strongest coalition which may or may not be based on principle. Rational thinking is not necessarily principled-thinking. Principle-thinking demands that principles influence all aspects of politics, policy-formation and negotiation (Fisher & Ury, 1991). Decisions are made on the merits of the case and not self-interest.

Chart of Pfeffer's model of decision-making aligned with Taylor's one best way and various other frames including the political frame.

Policy and Politics
Organizational Theory
Management Science
Research Methodology

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"Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty."
   --Albert Einstein


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