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Recent Publications - Journal Articles

A narrow path through the broad middle: Mapping institutional considerations for ESEA reauthorization

DeBray, E. H., & Houck, E. A.
Peabody Journal of Education, 86 (3): 319-337 (2011)

DOI: 10.1080/0161956X.2011.579009 Information about DOI

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This article uses an institutional framework to analyze the political context of the next reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The authors analyze three relevant factors in the institutional environment: the role of traditional party politics, including theories of divided versus unified party government; the entrance of new players, both interest groups and think tanks, into the education policy arena; and stresses on the traditional coalition that historically supported education reform. The authors compare DW-Nominate ratings for the 107th Congress (which passed the No Child Left Behind Act) and the 111th Congress (which concluded in 2010) to measure the ideology of members of the education committees and the Congress as a whole. Although both education committees have witnessed aggregate shifts in a more conservative direction, the authors argue that the 112th Congress, which convenes for the first time in January 2011, is unlikely to pass President Obama's centrist education agenda, as a majority-Republican House, ideological divisions within each political party, and the politics of an upcoming presidential election are factors that militate against a bill's enactment before 2012.

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