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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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Chapter 2. The Uneasy Alliance between the Corporate Elite and the Movement Conservatives (1970s)

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This chapter hopes to demonstrate that, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the corporate elite and movement conservatives began to collaborate closely on the creation of a multi-faceted intellectual, policy, and legal framework of think tanks, academic posts, media outlets, litigation centers, and other related initiatives.

In doing so, many specific historical events such as the rise of the Heritage Foundation and Business Roundtable will be described. These entities in particular exemplify how the groundwork was set for the concerns of business to begin infiltrating the education policy debate during the Reagan-Bush era. The ideas that will be discussed must also be considered in relation to the beginning of major political and economic changes in America that have only accelerated up to the present. Not only the rise of the right, but also with President Carter, we see the beginning of a Democratic political identity that gradually began disavowing a significant role for the federal government in fostering economic and social justice, one that instead negotiates fealty to “free market” economics, corporate dominance of much of American economic and cultural life, and adherence to a particularly robust version of American militarism, a militarism that Bacevich (2010) has recently characterized as the “Washington rules,” which Blum (2008) credits with over ← 7 | 8 →50 major military and CIA interventions abroad since World War II. Many of the think tanks and national big business membership organizations that emerged or were rejuvenated during this period would later go on to become...

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