Policy evaluation refers to the entire process of making judgments concerning the quality, effects, benefits, goal attainment, and costs associated with a particular policy. It is significant to evaluate different aspects related to a policy before implementing it to bring the required level of change. This paper focuses on a federal policy on education for the disabled and analyzes its various components. Notably, policy evaluation analysis is vital because it brings to light both positive and negative aspects of the policy hence facilitating its informed implementation. Policy evaluation analysis also helps in presentation of information about beneficiaries of the policy and any ethical concerns relating to the policy. Wide range of information presented offers a superb chance to make amendments that would make the policy function better.
This paper presents an evaluation analysis of the federal policy on education for the disabled by highlighting different aspects associated with it.
When the Policy Should be Evaluated
Timing is a crucial aspect in the process of evaluating a policy. Cooper, Fusarelli, & Randall (2004) reiterate that the issue of timing in policy evaluation raises worries among some individuals as they affirm that the process of evaluation is associated with delays and may come with additional costs in instances where a policy is to be refunded or renewed. On the other hand, some individuals are of the view that it may take long to realize significant results and make an effective evaluation of a new policy. They argue that it is difficult to establish a firm ground for a new policy within a few months or a year. Haddad & Demsky (1995) opine that in cases of a federal policy related to education, the evaluation should be conducted annually. This means that evaluation should be conducted every other year to ensure that the policy remains sound and effective in achievement of the envisaged outcomes.
How the Policy Should be Evaluated
The question of how to evaluate a new policy effectively also abounds in the process of policy analysis. In line with this aspect, researchers try to establish whether it would be possible to conduct an evaluation of different programs or sites utilizing different methods such as the case approach and cross-sectional studies that entail taking samples of users and programs. Additionally, researchers try to think about the naturalistic approach that entails observations and participation of top educators as well as the analysis of their beliefs and perceptions focused on making changes in schools. Other individuals hold that a mixed design will work better in the determination of how policy should be evaluated. Accordingly, formative evaluation would be vital in evaluating the federal policy on education. Kennedy (2008) confirms that formative evaluation is a continuous process and involves regular collection of information hence making it more appropriate in the evaluation of federal policy on education. Continuous and recurrent nature of formative evaluation is crucial because it helps evaluate the policy in line with current happenings. It may also offer an opportunity for flexibility as different challenges present themselves in the course of federal education policy evaluation.
Who Should be Responsible for Conducting Studies
It is vital to determine and choose individuals who will be charged with the responsibility of conducting studies and controlling entire process of the study. This question elicits an enormous debate as some individuals opine that school systems and states that participate in the process should be given an opportunity for individual research as this promotes direct ownership of the process and the outcomes achieved. On the other hand, some other individuals are of the view that independent systems from outside should be given the opportunity of conducting studies and controlling the process. This is because they would present transparent results without putting in consideration personal interests associated with key stakeholders in the program. In the case of federal policy on education for the disabled it will be important to determine the agencies that can be involved and the level of costs associated with each agency. Reliability of results presented should also be determined before selecting agencies that are to be involved in the conduction and control of the process of study. Schouwstra & Ellman (2006) agree that with the assistance of a specialized trained staff educational leaders would be proper individuals for controlling the process of studies. With these individuals in place, the required results would be achieved because of the level of professionalism that would be dedicated to the conduction and control of the processes of studies.
Evaluation of a policy must come with appropriate results that would assist in making vital decisions concerning the policy. Mingat, Tan, & Sosale (2003) assert that the purpose of the process of evaluation assists in the provision of an effective guide to determine the possible results expected at the end of the evaluation. A significant question that abounds at this instance is whether the results of the evaluation should end the program, make changes to the program, or introduce a new program in case the current program is not working. It is also significant to note that each education policy arising at the federal and state level is always associated with a leader. For instance, educational policies could be christened by education president or education governor depending on the level. This implies that leaders responsible for the introduction of particular educational policies will be keen on monitoring the success of educational policies, while those in the opposition will try to monitor any failures in the education system. Thus, policy evaluation goes beyond thinking and research as it has implications for action, which are closely attached to the program.
Beneficiaries of the Evaluation
Notably, policy evaluation comes with benefits for some groups and puts other groups at a disadvantage. The process of evaluation may lead to the promotion or demotion of other individuals as it has strong impact on careers, jobs, and reputation of different individuals in the classroom and the overall system. Strunk & Grissom (2010) confirm that evaluation affects these positions as some individuals will be promoted, others will be demoted, others will be fired, others will be hired, others will be given credit, and others will have to take the blame for the failure of the system. Therefore, key political parties, such as Democrats and Republicans, and key leaders, such as governors, teacher’s associations, and state commissioners of education, will be associated with the cost benefit analysis. This is vital in the determination of who benefits from the evaluation and who loses from it.
Ethical and Social Concerns to be Considered First
Ethics would play a leading role in the process of conducting an evaluation of the federal education policy. Some ethical and social concerns must be considered first to ensure that the process of evaluation is successful and leads to the achievement of envisaged outcomes. Haddad & Demsky (1995) affirms that some of the important ethical and social questions that should be considered first include: if introduction of the policy affects the integrity of professionals, if the policy leads to the draining of financial resources, if the social class is affected by the policy, and whether the state is urban or rural. It will also be vital to determine the focus of the policy. The policy will be effective in case it pays attention to the human element in schools and systems instead of relying on standardized tests. Statistics will not be effective measures in the evaluation of the policy. The policy should focus on the human element that is geared towards bringing change in the education sector. These ethical concerns should be addressed in the first place to ensure that evaluation is effective and presents the required objectives in a clear manner. The consideration of these ethical and social concerns will eliminate inefficiencies in the process of evaluation hence facilitating the achievement of superb results.
Effect of Financial Legislation on the Policy and its Development
Financial legislation refers to the supervision that subjects financial institutions to stated requirements, guidelines, and restrictions. The key aim of financial legislation is to introduce and maintain a high level of integrity within financial systems in the country. The government or non-governmental institutions may be charged with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with financial legislations hence maintaining integrity in the use of finances. In line with this understanding, financial legislation had positive effects on the federal policy of education for individuals with disabilities. Schouwstra & Ellman (2006) reiterate that financial legislation has facilitated faster release of funds dedicated to the promotion of education among individuals with disabilities. This has ensured that adequate funds are available at all times, hence promoting learning among these individuals. More so, financial legislation has promoted integrity in handling of funds related to the promotion of the policy. Funds have not been subjected to misappropriation and financial systems dedicated to the implementation of the policy have been performing according to expectations. With these positive effects, the policy has experienced significant development. The availability of adequate funds and proper management of these funds has ensured that there is development of the policy and results are being realized as the policy spreads out to many people all over the country.
Position on the Policy
One of my key positions concerning the policy is that it will affect jobs of many individuals. Normal jobs of both teachers and administrators will be affected by this policy. For instance, teachers would have to engage in making continuous updates of the grades and profiles of their students, while administrators will have to adhere to the demands necessitating the provision of notices to parents and acquiring their consent in different issues. Strunk & Grissom (2010) assert that this may limit the opportunity for educational professionals to promote the making of an educational culture in their institutions.
Additionally, the policy would add extra work to both teachers and administrators in educational institutions. Teachers and administrators will have more duties to perform as they will have to spend additional time working on the procedural requirements of the policy. This would limit the time available to teachers to pass educational instructions to students hence affecting learning in educational systems. Mingat, Tan, & Sosale (2003) confirm that this policy demands the accommodation for students with special needs but does not give clear guidelines on timetables to be adopted in learning institutions and the entire method of ensuring that academic achievements are realized in institutions of learning. Teachers and administrators will find it difficult to work effectively, especially in cases where there is no cooperation from teachers.
Changes Necessary to Improve the Policy
This policy would be better in cases where there is a timetable for acquiring the consent of parents, receiving payments from public agencies responsible for the administration of the funds of the State, and provision of written notices. A special timetable to guide effective operations between educational institutions and public agencies will also play an assistive role in promoting efficiency of the policy. Haddad & Demsky (1995) opine that adequate skills among professionals should also be emphasized with the aim of providing excellent performance of the policy. Provision of funds will also promote best working in the policy and the achievement of the required outcomes.
In conclusion, policy evaluation aims at determining the quality, benefits, and individuals in charge of ensuring that a certain policy is implemented properly. This paper discussed the federal policy on the education of individuals with disabilities. Annual evaluation of the policy is vital as it will ensure that all changes are made within the required time. More so, formative evaluation will be an effective method of promoting evaluation of the policy. It is a continuous and recurrent method of evaluation and it will assist in the maintenance of relevancy in the process of evaluation. Policies must always be evaluated in line with the required procedures and by the right people to ensure that the results are appropriate.