Framing Failure: Interrogating Policy Studies, Policy Theory, and NCLB

Jill P. Koyama

in Making Failure Pay

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780226451732
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226451756 | DOI:
Framing Failure: Interrogating Policy Studies, Policy Theory, and NCLB

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No Child Left Behind (NCLB) persists in the social construction (and social judgments) of “disadvantaged” children, the policy's target population, and furthers a particular presentation of the popular and enduring “faith in using schools as a lever of social progress” for those categorized as most needy—i.e., poor minority children. NCLB represents the surface expression of deep histopolitical, sociocultural, and ideological discourses in American education that cast poor minority students as failing (and therefore deviant) and in need of government intervention. It is built upon a reform foundation that increasingly includes corporations' interests and market-based solutions premised on the assumption that America's public school system needs outside intervention. NCLB's requirement that teachers demonstrate subject matter competence on a test in each subject matter has rendered many highly accomplished teachers “unqualified.” The ongoing multiplicity of educational reforms in New York serve as a reminder of the continual flow of actions, the movement of actors, the temporary associations, and the localization in policy appropriation. Thus, focusing only on face-to-face interactions cannot adequately capture the appropriation of NCLB and the ways in which it affects school failure.

Keywords: educational reforms; social progress; ideological discourses; America's public schools; school failure

Chapter.  9035 words. 

Subjects: Educational Strategies and Policy

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