This study explores mechanisms underlying processes of educational policy formation. Previous studies have given much attention to processes of diffusion when accounting for educational policy formation. Less account has been given to the day-to-day institutional dynamics through which educational policies develop and change. Building on extensive governmental archival data, complemented with interviews and media analysis, I study the development and transformation of school violence policies in Israel.
I argue that diffusion of global policy ideas and practices provides the menu of possible policies, while within-country struggles over legitimacy in the policy domain serve as a mechanism shaping which items on the menu becomes actual policy. Specifically, in the Israeli case, the interest in and action toward school violence were influenced by a global trend, but the actions of Psychological-Counseling Services who struggled to assert their legitimacy as the authority on school violence in the Israeli Ministry of Education shaped the adoption, rejection, and institutionalization of the specific school violence policy ideas and practices.