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Poverty and Pretense: Good Intentions and Misguided Educational Reform from No Child Left Behind through Race to the Top

The Obama Administration and Educational Reform

ISBN: 978-1-78350-709-2

ISSN: 1479-358X

Publication date: 1 December 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The author describes the continuous development of federal education policy from the Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind Act through the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top state competition, noting critical similarities and results. Scholars of education and society agree that socioeconomic status of a school’s population is the most reliable indicator of a school’s success. Ravitch (2013) has emphasized the correlation of both racial isolation and poverty of communities with the standardized test scores of the communities’ students.

Design/methodology/approach

The author explores the main components of the Race to the Top competition, including its emphasis on measuring both student and teacher success at least partially in the form of standardized test scores, alongside the similarly standardized test-centric No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Findings

Through a critical comparison of the two administrations’ policies, the author demonstrates that federal education policy since 2001 has supported an increasingly powerful “educational reform” movement whose actions have been harmful to American public schools. Existing research in education overwhelmingly rejects the actions represented by federal education policy.

Originality/value

Both major American political parties have enthusiastically embraced an increasingly powerful “educational reform” movement whose actions have been harmful to American public schools. Teachers, scholars of education, students, parents, and other stakeholders must continue to demonstrate in the public sphere their dissatisfaction with standardized test-centric policies; school closings euphemistically titled “turnarounds”; and other hallmarks of the “educational reformers.”

Keywords

Citation

Dobrick, A. (2014), "Poverty and Pretense: Good Intentions and Misguided Educational Reform from No Child Left Behind through Race to the Top", The Obama Administration and Educational Reform (Advances in Education in Diverse Communities, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 27-44. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-358X20130000010002

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited