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An Education in PoliticsThe Origins and Evolution of No Child Left Behind$
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Jesse H. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449710

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449710.001.0001

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Federal School Reform Builds Momentum, 1989–1992

Federal School Reform Builds Momentum, 1989–1992

(p.70) 3 Federal School Reform Builds Momentum, 1989–1992
An Education in Politics

Jesse H. Rhodes

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the period between 1989–1992, which was marked by important shifts in the politics of education reform in the United States. It first examines the response of the states to excellence in education, showing how federalism promoted an uneven and fragmented response to excellence policies touted by business entrepreneurs, civil rights entrepreneurs, educational conservatives, and state leaders. It then illustrates how the various proponents of excellence in education responded to these trends, and how these reactions shaped the subsequent development of education policy in the United States. It reviews the political debate surrounding America 2000, to show that George H. W. Bush's failure to rally a cross-partisan coalition accounts for its unhappy legislative denouement. It suggests that despite the fracas over America 2000, the events that transpired between 1989 and 1992 laid the groundwork for federal standards, testing, and accountability reforms in the future. Having developed powerful organizations and network ties, the proponents of standards-based reform were well positioned to shape the progress of education policymaking during the Clinton presidency.

Keywords:   education reform, education policy, excellence in education, educational entrepreneurship, education policymaking, federalism, America 2000, George H. W. Bush

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