Rhetoric, History, and Public Educationby Michael Powell
Public policy is full of rhetorical messages, and the ways in which politicians use rhetoric shapes the mindset of a society. This is especially true when it comes to federally mandated policy written in regard to America's public education system. The No Child Left Behind Act is by far the most controversial education reform artifact ever published due to its insistence punishing non-compliant schools. This system of surveillance, coupled with other issues that will be discussed herein, have caused most educators to loudly criticize the bill, while the Bush administration under which it was enacted refuses to back off on its insistence that the act will work. In order to gain a rhetorical perspective on discourse, it is vital to look at the relationship between historical events and the rhetoric surrounding them. Thus, this text provides a rhetorical analysis of NCLB and how it measures in a rhetorical and historical context with other modern educational reform artifacts. I make the argument that an act cannot be successful on its name alone, but that is exactly the logic supporters of the No Child Left Behind Act are using.
- VDM Verlag
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Great book--Powell traces the history of public education in the United States, and shows how the rhetoric of public policy has shaped the way the government has manipulated the ways in which children have been been taught throughout out history. Starting with court cases in the late 19th Century and looking at the parallels of public education and public policy through Brown v. Topeka, H.G. Rickover linking education with the "Red Scare", LBJ's Title programs, 1980's "A Nation at Risk", and ending with today's fallacious No Child Left Behind Act. Powell's in-depth rhetorical analysis shows that despite the act's name, many children are being left behind. This book contains scholarly research and is intended for a scholarly audience, though general interest readers might also find it of interest. 5 stars.