Bush-Obama school reform: Lessons learned | IN 60 SECONDS


In assessing past school reforms, it’s
all too easy to find glossy PR or ad hominem critiques. Much harder to find
are analyses that tease out practical lessons. In our new book, we identify
two. One: It’s easy to forget that political timelines are different than
educational ones. Elections breed a sense of urgency among policymakers, and a
desire for rapid visible change, as with President Obama’s Race to the Top. Yet,
rebooting education policies, revamping instructional materials, and changing
school cultures is a slower process. Two: It is tough to course-correct
once high profile reforms pick up momentum. By the time that ambitious
efforts like President Bush’s No Child Left Behind had disappointed and started
to fuel backlash, their champions were too emotionally and politically invested
to readily alter course. There are real constraints on how effective policy
will be when it comes to driving school improvement. That suggests skepticism may
be warranted when eyeing the grand educational promises of those vying for
office. What do you think about the school reforms of Presidents Bush and
Obama? Let us know in our poll. Also, let us know what other topics you’d like our
scholars to cover in 60 seconds, and be sure to like and subscribe for more
research and videos from AEI.

1 thought on “Bush-Obama school reform: Lessons learned | IN 60 SECONDS”

  1. These top down federal schemes are doomed because they offer no mechanism for correcting failure. If the national politicians truly want to help they should focus on delegating more control to communities and affording parents more options for where to school their kids.

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