December 9, 2013
BREEDING OVERREACHING TECHNOCRATS WITH NO REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE? The Problem With Public Policy Schools.
The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration already lists some 285 such institutions in the United States, and new ones are opening up — but the field as a whole seems to be having an identity crisis. The schools’ curricula and missions have become at once too broad and too academic, too focused on national and global issues at the expense of local and state-level ones. It’s not clear that the schools are preparing their graduates to fix all that needs fixing.
“Policy schools used to be much more about how to translate ideas into solutions to public problems,” says Anne-Marie Slaughter, former dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and now president of the New America Foundation. Scholars at policy schools “do extremely important work,” she asserts, but often, “that’s not work that policymakers read.”