This chapter gives an overview of major questions that policymakers must consider when designing policy. American education has a strong federal structure that complicates any educational change; most American educational policy is made at the state and local levels. The chapter also gives an overview of five norms that characterize healthy, modern democracies. First, inclusion suggests that democracies try to incorporate the views of as many of their citizens as possible; in education, that means offering education to as many different children as possible. Second, equality means that democracies treat citizens as similarly as possible without regard to their background, income, or status; in education, equality can mean equality of opportunity or outcome. Third, democracies encourage participation by citizens in governance. Fourth, democracies require citizens to be able to understand political issues to make intelligent choices when participating in the democratic process. Finally, democracies promise that decisions are made "by the people: through self-rule.