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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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“Yes We Can” Improve America’s Schools?

“Yes We Can” Improve America’s Schools?

From No Child Left Behind to President Obama’s Education Initiatives, 2003–2011

(p.159) 6 “Yes We Can” Improve America’s Schools?
An Education in Politics

Jesse H. Rhodes

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the period between 2003 and 2011, which encompasses reaction against No Child Left Behind as well as the Obama administration's ambitious initiatives. It begins by describing the political backlash against the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, showing how it worked to limit the scope of reforms favored by business entrepreneurs, civil rights entrepreneurs, and their allies. Analyzing the agendas of business entrepreneurs, civil rights entrepreneurs, educational liberals, educational conservatives, and state leaders during the failed reauthorization of 2007–8, it argues that the proposals of business entrepreneurs and civil rights entrepreneurs anticipated many of the initiatives of the Obama administration. The chapter then discusses the Obama administration's Race to the Top initiative, illustrating how it extends the logic and principles of the NCLB in an effort to shore up standards-based reforms at the state and local levels. The final section speculates on education policy in the Obama administration in light of the 2010 elections.

Keywords:   education reform, education policy, Obama administration, No Child Left Behind Act, Race to the Top, standards-based reforms

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