Political Agendas for Education: From Change We Can Believe in to Putting America First / Edition 4

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Bringing up-to-date Joel Spring’s ongoing documentation and analysis of political agendas for education in the US, the fourth edition of Political Agendas for Education focuses on the Republican and Democratic parties in the 2008 national election and post-2008 election era. In order to consider the similarities and differences in the evolution of the Republican and Democratic education agendas, this edition includes updated and new chapters on the Democratic education agenda, and updated discussions of the Republican education agenda.

Changes in the fourth edition:

  • relates previous Democratic education policies with President Obama's concerns with the global economy and human capital theory
  • highlights how Democrats came to support No Child Left Behind as a solution to civil rights issues related to schooling and Obama’s quest to close the achievement gap
  • deals with the Democratic side of the culture wars dividing the two political parties, particularly regarding multicultural education and language issues
  • includes a completely new chapter on "Teacher Agendas: Republicans and Democrats"
  • shows how the education agendas from the 2008 campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin are compatible with previous Republican desires to protect socially conservative values in schools.

Political Agendas for Education is essential reading for courses dealing with the politics of education, foundations of education, educational leadership, and curriculum studies, and for educational scholars, professionals, policymakers, and all those concerned with the politics of education in the U.S. and its consequences for schools and society.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Joel Spring is Professor at Queens College and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York.

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Table of Contents


1. The Democrats' Educational Agenda: Globalization and Equality of Educational Opportunity
Global Competition: The 2008 Democratic Platform and Democratic Agenda
Knowledge Economy and the Curriculum
Poverty and Preschool
Noncognitive Abilities and Success in School and Work
The Perry Preschool Study
Democratic Agenda: Universal Higher Education, Poverty, and the Global Economy
Democrats: Reinventing Government or Expanding Government Responsibility
Conclusion: Global Economy, Poverty, Preschool and Government Intervention

2. Democratic Educational Agenda: Civil Rights, No Child Left Behind, Multiculturalism and Language
Democrats and Civil Rights
Bill Clinton: Standards, Accountability, and Equality of Educational Opportunity
The Democratic Education Agenda and No Child Left Behind
Standards, Accountability, and John Kerry's 2004 Presidential Campaign
President Obama, Civil Rights, and No Child Left Behind
Democratic Agenda: The Language and Culture of Schools

3. Teacher Agendas: Republicans and Democrats
Teachers' Unions and Campaign Financing: From Reagan to Obama
The Politics of Teacher Pay
Rod Paige: Teacher Pay and Unions
Teacher Pay: Denver Breaks Ranks
Who Should Control Teacher Certification?
Political Struggle Over Teacher Certification
Conclusion: The Politics of Professionalism

4. The Republican Education Agenda for the Twenty-Firstst Century: The Culture Wars
Celebration of American Values: McCain, Obama, and the 2008 Election
The Republican Education Agenda and the Culture Wars
Standards and Tests: The Politics of Culture
Republicans: Pro-Life, Abstinence and Creationism
Compassionate Conservatism and George W. Bush
Compassionate Conservatives and No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind and School Prayer
Pornography, Family Planning, and Traditional Marriage
Evolution vs.Creationism
Sarah Palin, the 2008 Election, and Pentecostalism
Conclusion: The Cross and the Flag

5. The Republican Party, Neoconservatives, and Supporting Organizations
Free Markets and School Choice
Planning an Educational Revolution: The Trickle–Down Theory of Ideas and No Child Left Behind
The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute: Marketing School Reform
The Manhattan Institute and the Neoconservative Agenda
Christian Coalition: Religious Politics
Thomas Fordham Institute and the Educational Excellence Network
Neoconservatives, Business, and Human Capital

6. Political Education Agendas: What's the Same, What's Wrong
The Student as Statistical Data
Do Society and Students Benefit from the Number Crunching Approach?
Ralph Nader and Standardized Testing
Conclusion: How Are They Different?


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