ERIC Number: ED479758
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Higher Standards: We'd Love to But . . .
Kosar, Kevin R.
During the past 12 years there was a sudden and unexpected consensus held by U.S. Congressmen and Presidents that students in U.S. public schools were learning less than they should. Moreover, the conservatives and liberals agreed that the proper policy response to this public problem was to raise education standards. Recent years brought five major federal policy initiatives to raise education standards: (1) America 2000, (2) Goals 2000, (3) the 1994 Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), (4) Voluntary National Tests (VNT's), and the (5) No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 (NCLB). For all the effort, the policies have failed. America 2000 and VNT's did not pass Congress, and Goals 2000, the 1994 ESEA, and NCLB have had negligible effects on standards. This paper hypothesizes that national politicians do not object to standards per se, but a deep-rooted political division has confounded efforts to create effective national standards policy. The paper states that: (1) the traditions of local control of schooling limited the politically feasible extents of raising educational standards through federal policy; and (2) liberals believe that academic underachievement is largely a function of school funding. It draws on a larger study that utilized primary source documents, including transcripts of congressional hearings on education bills and floor debates, the presidential platforms of the major parties, and interviews with policymakers. It supplements these with secondary sources, such as newspapers, the Congressional Quarterly, and the National Journal. (Contains 74 notes.) (Author/BT)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act; Goals 2000; No Child Left Behind Act 2001