ABSTRACT

If culture may be conceived as values and beliefs that support a social structure, policy analysis is part of creating culture. Culture is created by the continuous confrontation between objectives and the re-sources — knowledge, power, money, talent, trust, and others — necessary to achieve the objectives. Constellations in the American public policy universe seem to be moving in remarkably similar directions, from concentrating on aggressive design, through the current quagmire of implementation, and into the strategic retreat on objectives. A brief comparison of trends in public policy will show a headlong retreat from objectives; the paths taken while in flight have much to tell us about how preferences change. Unfortunately, the idea of making measurement public preceded the ability of educators to show students' accomplishment. Deeducation and demedicalization are just beginning to be mentioned as harbingers of trends dimly discernible on the horizon of public policy.