ERIC Number: EJ1073908
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Reference Count: N/A
Results of President Obama's Race to the Top
Howell, William G.
Education Next, v15 n4 p58-66 Fall 2015
Caught between extraordinary public expectations and relatively modest constitutional authority, U.S. presidents historically have fashioned all sorts of mechanisms--executive orders, proclamations, memoranda--by which to move their objectives forward. William Howell asserts that under President Barack Obama's administration, presidential entrepreneurialism has continued unabated. Like his predecessors, Obama has sought to harness and consolidate his influence outside of Congress. He also has made contributions of his own to the arsenal of administrative policy devices. The most creative, says Howell, is perhaps his Race to the Top initiative, which attempted to spur wide-ranging reforms in education, a policy domain in which past presidents exercised very little independent authority. This study examines the effects of Obama's Race to the Top on education policymaking around the country. Its focus is the education policymaking process itself; the adoption of education policies is the outcome of interest. The overall findings indicate that Race to the Top had a meaningful impact on the production of education policy across the United States. In its aftermath, all states experienced a marked surge in the adoption of education policies. This surge does not appear to be a statistical aberration or an extension of past policy trends. Legislators from all states reported that Race to the Top affected policy deliberations within their states. The patterns of policy adoptions and legislator responses, moreover, correspond with states' experiences in the Race to the Top competitions. In the main, the evidence suggests that by strategically deploying funds to cash-strapped states and massively increasing the public profile of a controversial set of education policies, the president managed to stimulate reforms that had stalled in state legislatures, stood no chance of enactment in Congress, and could not be accomplished via unilateral action.
Descriptors: Federal Programs, Educational Policy, Policy Formation, State Policy, State Legislation, State Action, Federal Aid, Competition, Incentive Grants, Educational Change, Educational Practices, Change Strategies, Politics of Education, Political Influences, Academic Achievement, Federal Legislation, Educational Legislation
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://educationnext.org/journal/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; Colorado; Delaware; District of Columbia; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Illinois; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Tennessee
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009; Race to the Top
IES Cited: ED559916