Policy protagonists are interested to assert that policies are successful whereas the opponents are more attuned to framing policies as failures. The truth is that the any policy outcome lies somewhat between the two ends. The Obama Administration created a policy that was aimed at reforming the funding system of the US colleges. Nevertheless, the policy’s implementation failed due to several reasons which included increased cost, non-involvement of various stakeholders and above all, its inability to solve the main concern of Americans which at the time was economic stagnation. In the light of this argument, this retrospect paper seeks to discuss why the policy failed.
A major policy setback was the fact that it failed to address the issue of increased cost. If it would have been implemented, then it would mean that colleges would be incurring huge pensions, increased healthcare and technological cost. Funding various government projects have become a challenge. The funding of the street level bureaucrats alone is a challenge this, therefore, means that Americans would be spending more in order to support this new policy (Lipsky 1980 p.7). A policy should be able to agree with the ability of the intended subjects to support it. Lipsky further emphasizes that the street-level bureaucrats present the benefits, sanctions structure and delimit the lives of other people. In this regards, they offer a channel through which people can act. Therefore every service benefit is aligned with the state control and extension (Lipsky 1980 p. 4).
A country such as the US is socially stratified in different classes and this may pose a challenge in the formulation of a policy that would affect the lives of all races and classes. Being a free market economy, the gap between the rich and the poor is relatively wide and this, therefore, means that the people are not socially, economically or politically equal. According to Michael Lipsky in his book, ‘dilemmas of the individuals in public service’, the street level bureaucrats have powers to sanction structures and determine how benefits are shared. They can also delimit people’s lives and opportunities this in effect lives policy implementation at the mercies of the bureaucrats (Lipsky 1980 p.4). The outlined measures used in rating the colleges will accord high ratings to public colleges who are composed of the medium class. Since the private universities are also occupied by people within the country, they ought to have been catered for within the new policy and unfortunately, this was not addressed by the policy.
Having a policy that is likely to have an equalizing effect on a major sector such as education, will most likely experience significant opposition since it concerns many people with divergent opinions, views and preferences. According to this policy, all the colleges would be rated and the college with the highest rating would receive the highest federal funding and support. The federal government is funded by its citizens through taxes and other levies. This policy, in other words, would be championing a society where the rich are taxed highly to finance the welfare of the poor since high rated colleges are practically associated with a low-level societal class. Although this concept may be applicable in other economies, in the US it adds up to failure since the policy would favour the middle class.
Thirdly, rolling out a policy especially a policy of this nature has a significant impact on the subjects. Component aggregate – regulatory bodies, the government department and even the individual people who staff them form an important connection and predictable mechanisms for policy creations (Hiil and Hupe, 2002). Evidently, the system is viewed as non-learning and non-adaptive, which means that in order to make a change it is important to have new strategies from the above so as to pull the system in line. In other failed cases, in order to realize an effective implementation, it would mean that some parts of the system ought to be redesigned from scratch. It is in this respect that there could a possibility of such disconnect in Obama’s campaign train, hence the failed policy.
Not all good policies are perfect. Most if not all of the policy must have some setbacks which may depict it in a negative form. For any policy to succeed, it is important that the setbacks are amicably addressed and resolved. The reaction towards a certain loophole in a policy plays an important role in determining the policy’s fate. The Obama’s new proposal on the state funding did not address issues to do with complex matters such as non-compliance; already it was witnessing some opposition before its implementation. Such critics should have been addressed. Issues such as the criteria used to arrive at the measure used in rating the colleges should be addressed by involving the parents and student.
The number of enrollments per college should also not be overlooked as it is another good recipe for allocating funding. Drawing on the principle-agent relationship would have realized better results where evaluation would be made based on the agents and the principles. The theory suggests that contracting can be successfully done when tight specification can be realized to enable measurable outputs; where inefficiencies can be replaced (Donahue, 1989).
Conclusively, a policy formulated to enhance the welfare of the people may fail as a result of various reasons. Policy failure may be due to poor implementation strategies during its rolling out stage. Another common source of failure is political interferences where it is politicized and rejected. Policy failure is also attributed to the non involvement of all the stakeholders during the development stage. It is therefore important that proper channels and procedure are followed during policy formation and also in the implementation stage. The interaction between the street level bureaucrats and the citizens is important for any policy to succeed (Lipsky 1980 p.8).