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A Policy History of Standards-Based Education in America


Boyce Brown

A Policy History of Standards-Based Education in America is a narrative history of the development of standards-based education in the United States over the last several decades, from the perspective of anarchist cultural studies. There have been other books on the evolution of federal education policy, but few have struck the right balance between describing how it actually happened while still providing a theoretical framework, and none have kept the focus specifically on standards-based education. These related books have also rightly noted the great diversity of players, factions, interest groups, and organizations that helped move federal education policy from «equity», to «excellence», to «accountability» over the last four decades. This book goes on to make the original claim (using a rigorous analysis of the historical record) that big business was the primary empirical driver behind standards-based education and «global economic competitiveness» was the primary ideological driver. Finally, the book concludes by interrogating the implicit claims embedded within global competitiveness ideology; that the present international economy will continue as it has indefinitely, which is mathematically impossible. Unless things change quickly, this planet is heading toward economic, environmental, and geostrategic shocks of the very first order of magnitude. An eco-pedagogy for anarchist bioregions might be part of the solution.
The leading markets for this book will be major public and Division 1 research university libraries and university courses in education policy, education law, education history, political science, and public policy.


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6 No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core


· 6 · no child left behind, race to the top, and common core In this chapter I will examine alternative legislative proposals that com- peted with No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the politics of the passage and implementation of NCLB, and the emergence of a bipartisan elite consensus among the mainstream educational establishment that led to the creation of Race to the Top and Common Core. A number of different education plans were floating around during the 106th Congress, as Gore and Bush bat- tled for the presidency. Conservative education interests coalesced around the collaboration between the EXPECT coalition and House Education Committee chair Representative Bill Goodling (R- PA) with the Academic Achievement for All Act (the “Straight A’s” bill). It sought to consolidate the categorical programs of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) into block grants and enhance opportunities for school choice, es- pecially through vouchers. The National Governors Association and the National Council of State Legislators appreciated the flexibility (Hess and Petrilli, 2006, p. 16; Debray- Pelot, 2007, pp. 73–74). Another bill was the Student Results Act. It was drafted by Representative George Miller (D- CA) and Senator Edward Kennedy (D- MA) with the help of the Education Trust. Executive Director of the Education Trust, Kati Haycock, noted that Miller and Kennedy “were bonkers about what happened to the IASA,” in that the 110 a policy history of standards-based education in america Clinton administration kept scaling back implementation responsibilities at the state level (cited in Rhodes, 2012,...

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