ERIC Number: EJ1144671
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Upside Down: The Peculiar Presidential Politics of No Child Left Behind
McAndrews, Lawrence J.
American Educational History Journal, v40 n2 p355-371 2013
The enactment of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in January 2002 was the culmination of an emerging consensus in the 1980s and 1990s behind greater federal regulation of the nation's elementary and secondary schools. The reauthorization of Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson's Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 by Republican President George W. Bush attracted comfortable majorities from both parties in Congress. Within a decade, however, the bipartisan coalition which delivered NCLB had dissipated. As a partisan battleground, the school aid controversy had again assumed the trappings of the conflict of the 1960s and 1970s over President Johnson's historic legislation. This study argues, however, that there was a remarkable difference. In their rhetorical sparring over NCLB, the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates had switched sides. The leaders of the party of Lyndon B. Johnson were improbably advocating states' rights. The leaders of the party of George W. Bush were implausibly defending a strong federal government. In less than ten years the presidential politics of education had turned upside down. This article augments the growing literature on NCLB by explaining how and why conflict has again supplanted consensus in the presidential politics of education. It nevertheless demonstrates how and why this new conflict differs from the old one.
Descriptors: Politics of Education, Educational Legislation, Federal Legislation, Educational History, Presidents, Federal Government, Educational Policy, Conflict, Federal State Relationship, Political Attitudes, Elementary Secondary Education, Government Role, State Government, Decision Making
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001; Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A