Federal Education Policy and the States, 1945-2009
The Clinton Years: Clinton Years - Summary
Although Republicans blocked many of Clinton's initiatives in his second term, education appropriations rose 38 percent (to more than $33 billion) between 1996 and 1999, with Republicans-who sometimes took credit for granting even more money than the president had requested-joining congressional Democrats, who traditionally supported increases. With thirty-two of the fifty governorships held by Republicans, the majority in Congress was happy to appropriate additional money for education. In the final year of the Clinton administration, education appropriations went up 15 percent, or $6.5 billion.
The Clinton legacy-including IASA, Goals 2000, and standards-based systemic reform-changed the face of federal education policy. The fundamental ideas informed the reauthorization of not only the ESEA but also the Higher Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. All of these now require that schools and teachers serve in a standards-based environment with challenging standards and curricula for all students. If this shift did not immediately achieve Clinton's goal of equalizing opportunity and raising achievement for all, it would most certainly impact the educational efforts of his successor.