Education Policy: Research: Historical Overview: Afterword:

Federal Education Policy and the States, 1945-2009

Afterword: Federal Education Policy and the Historical Record

The topic under consideration in this essay and this project falls entirely within the recent past. Many key figures from its early history are here to talk and write about it; some are still active and influential. This is a great boon for archivists: vast numbers of important records can still be found, and the people who created them (or were involved in the issues they address) can help locate and provide valuable context for them.

With this advantage, however, comes a challenge. The more recent the past under examination, the less evidence there is to support historical conclusions-and the more difficult to distinguish passing swings of the pendulum from developments that will persist for decades. As a result, archivists-in consultation with education policymakers, government officials, researchers, historians, and other professionals-must use their best judgment in identifying and collecting the records that likely will hold historical importance in decades to come. The States' Impact on Federal Education Policy Project is committed to building as strong and significant a national documentary record of its topic as possible. This essay will assist us in understanding the enormously complex issues inherent in the topic and in locating important records. We hope it will also be of use to educators, students, policymakers, and interested citizens.

We welcome responses to this historical essay and the project itself. In particular, if you are aware of records relevant to education policy that currently reside in repositories or private hands, please contact us.

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