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Public Policy and Administration


Anne J. Hacker


Political agendas and political attention often change based on media attention and business influence, ultimately impacting policies. Elementary and secondary education policies have evolved to improve academic rigor and increase global competitiveness. Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were established based on state-level elementary and secondary education student needs. The purpose of this quantitative content analysis was to explore how external factors influenced state-level policy actors during the formulation and implementation of one state’s CCSS. All policies follow the policy process, which often includes various actors influencing various phases. Agenda-setting and political embeddedness are two critical components in the policy process on the state and local levels; thus, they provided the theoretical framework to explore how the media and external actors influence the policy process. The study analyzed 319 articles, hearings, meeting minutes, think tank publications, and Business Roundtable education publications. Simple random sampling ensured all documents had an equal opportunity of being included. Multiple regression analysis was used to test eight hypotheses. Findings showed a statistically significant relationship between policy actors and agenda-setting during mediation and negotiating and a statistically significant relationship between political actors and political embeddedness. The results of this study may assist policy actors in identifying positive and negative influences during the policy process to create sound public policy leading to positive social change.