Education Policy: Research: Historical Overview: Bush, G.W.

Federal Education Policy and the States, 1945-2009

The George W. Bush Years: Assessing the Federal Role

The No Child Left Behind Act marks the end of a five-decade period of federal initiatives in elementary and secondary education. That period provides an appropriate frame in which to analyze how federal policy has developed and the context for its development. A central question is how and why the federal influence has grown so dramatically in a nation whose constitution makes no reference to responsibility for education and whose practices of decentralized control of education have been presumed dominant. Any analysis of these issues will be well served, especially, by assembling the record of state efforts to influence the changes over the last 50 years. A robust historical record will be a significant resource for those who shape federal policy, including NCLB and its successors, in a new context of international competition and strife, which is forcing the United States to take a fresh look at its "federal"-local, state, and national-approach to many functions, especially education.

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