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ERIC Number: EJ871018
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0146-5945
Wrong Turn on School Reform
Hess, Frederick M.; Petrilli, Michael J.
Policy Review, n153 Feb-Mar 2009
In the run-up to the 2000 presidential election, candidate George W. Bush and his advisors made a strategic decision to appropriate educational rhetoric generally associated with Democrats and the left. This decision helped Bush present himself as "different kind of Republican" and a "compassionate conservative" and to dramatically narrow the Democrats' traditional advantage on education, particularly among suburban women. This was critical in helping to win the election. During his eight years in office, he would ultimately upend decades of conservative thinking on education, open the door to new spending and federal activity, and swap conventional conservative themes for language borrowed from the civil rights community. The administration's assault on the racial achievement gap--the huge disparity in test scores between both white and Asian students and their black and Hispanic peers--through the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) earned plaudits from many on the left and right. Over time, however, this approach has alienated suburban parents, who worry that NCLB's emphasis on low-achievers and low-level skills is harming their children and schools. In this way and others, partnering with the left on education reform has imposed real costs even as it has paid substantive dividends. Teaming up with liberal education-reformers has led conservative education-reformers to embrace a sprawling statute, NCLB, with many problematic features, which include, among others, a dramatically expanded federal role in education; an explicitly race-based conception of school accountability; and a focus on closing achievement gaps to the exclusion of all other objectives. Now Bush is out and President Obama is in. What tack toward education reform should conservatives take? To illumine some answers, this article takes a look back at the recent history of school policy, at how conservatives got where they are today. The authors discuss how to get back on track after No Child Left Behind. (Contains 13 endnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001