Understanding the relationship among culture, politics, and decision making is a relatively new area of policy research. As chapter 3 suggests, Schattschneider (1960) noted that conflict is at the center of political life in a democracy. The political system is the means of mediating value conflicts. The political system consists of the institutions, formal structures, constitutional arrangements, and laws that govern the conduct of education. In contrast, the culture is the socially constructed set of assumptions surrounding the political system and influencing its daily operation and outcomes. It is a system of subjective, but socially shared, symbols and meaning including language, myths, rituals, politics, social standing, and economics. Wildavsky (1987) asserted that culture may be conceived of as a theoretical lens from whose “few initial premises many consequences applicable to a wide variety of circumstances may be deduced” (p. 6).