Failing Grades The Federal Politics of Education Standards

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Summary. Presidents from both parties, supported by parents, teachers, and civic leaders have tried and generally failed to increase student achievement through federal policy-making.  Supposedly path-breaking legislation to “leave no child behind” has hardly made a dent in the problem.

What is going on?  Kevin R. Kosar delves into the political maneuvering behind the crafting of federal education standards policy. Drawing on a wealth of evidence, Kosar argues that high education standards for all students will help raise achievement. Then, turning to the “real world” of Washington, he shows how politics has thwarted tough education standards policy. Kosar concludes with modest proposals for improving the standards and testing provisions of the No Child left Behind Act of 2002 that have a chance of surviving political attacks from both the right and the left.

Further details

Well-written, accessible, and likely to be controversial.” —Kathryn A. McDermott, University of Massachusetts “[A] timely and comprehensive assessment…”  —Ken Wong, Vanderbilt University

Topics include: The current state of student achievement, an introduction to education standards, an overview of the history of the federal role in schooling, A Nation at Risk, America 2000, Goals 2000: Educate America Act, Voluntary National Tests, and the No Child Left Behind Act

-Student Achievement: A Rising Tide of Mediocrity?
-The Case for Federal Policy to Raise Education Standards
-Education Policy and Politics Before 1993
-The Politics of Goals 2000
-Title I and Voluntary National Tests
-The No Child Left Behind Act
-Improving Federal Standards Policy

Related Op-Eds

“National Education Standards: Here They Come Again!” History News Network, March 2, 2009.

“National Education Standards…They’re Back!” History News Network, March 13, 2006.

Reviews/Press Mentions of Failing Grades:

Review: Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2006, pp. 533-534.

Review: Choice magazine, June 2006.

Mention: NYU Magazine, Spring 2006, p. 74.

Review: The Doyle Report, March 14, 2006.

Mention:, March 13, 2006.

Review: Education Review, March 6, 2006.

Review: Teachers College Record, January 19, 2006.

Mention: Clio: Newsletter of Politics and History, American Political Science Association, Fall/Winter 2005/2006, p. 35.

Mention: Politics of Education Bulletin, Winter 2006, p. 6.

Interview: This Week in Education, November 17, 2005

Review: Reference & Research Book News, November 2005, p. 240.

Review: The Education Gadfly (Thomas B. Fordham Foundation), October 6, 2005.

Interview: Hill Rag newspaper, September 2005, p. 103.

4 thoughts on “

  1. Pingback: Failing Grades: The Federal Politics of Education Standards | Federal Education Policy History

  2. Pingback: Ronald Reagan and Education Policy | Kevin R. Kosar

  3. Pingback: Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System (Basic Books, 2010) | Kevin R. Kosar

  4. Pingback: Paul Mann, Collision Course: Federal Education Policy Meets State and Local Realities | Federal Education Policy History

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