Skip to Content

Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 87, Issue 4, 2012

Centralization of American Educational Policies

Over the years the American education landscape has shifted and changed to address the many needs of a diverse—and diversifying—population. As these changes have occurred, local districts, states, and even the federal government have seen their roles and expectations change in kind. Many of these changes have resulted in the centralization of education policy, with roles traditionally reserved to districts moving under the purview of the states and roles traditionally reserved to the states shifting over to the federal government. In this edition of The Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, guest editors Jennifer DeBoer and Madeline Mavrogordato discuss the implications and underlying causes of this centralization trend. By analyzing the centralization of education policy, DeBoer and Mavrogordato paint a complex picture of a nation constantly searching for better schools and a better future for the nation’s school-aged children.

The issue begins with an introductory piece by the two guest editors, DeBoer and Mavrogordato. The piece begins with a definition of centralization and then moves to a discussion of the tensions inherent to today’s debates over education policy. The issue’s next article, by guest editor Jennifer DeBoer, places today’s American education policy trends in an international context. DeBoer describes the centralization and decentralization processes taking place across many different global contexts, in the process speculating on the implications of these trends for America’s education policy future.

John E. Haubenreich shifts the conversation from a discussion of modern policy to an analysis of education’s place within the federal Constitution. Using primary documents from the nation’s history, Haubenreich provide a glimpse of the founder fathers’ thought process as they worked to construct a new nation. Haubenreich then sheds light on the history of the federal government’s role in education through an analysis of major Supreme Court decisions. The next article, by guest editor Madeline Mavrogordato, describes tendencies towards centralization through the lens of bilingual education. Mavrogordato explains how efforts to provide equal education opportunities for the nation’s English language learners have led to an increased federal role in education.

Coby Meyers provides the next article for this issue, in which he follows the origination, adoption, and subsequent entrenchment of three key education terms—“achievement gap,” “NCLB,” and “school turnaround.” Using these three terms as a focal point, Meyers provides an analysis of the role of language in the centralization process. The next article by Kerri Tobin centers on issues of teacher certification. Tobin outlines the tensions inherent to the certification process, noting that issues of teacher quality have created a policy environment with contradictory or oppositional players. Chad Lykins then analyzes the usefulness of the “What Works Clearinghouse” (WWC), noting that, while the WWC has come to represent the federal government’s increased interest in education research, the scope of the research should be expanded. Finally, Jennifer DeBoer completes the issue with a concluding piece that paints an overall picture of the centralization movement within the United States.

As always, the Peabody Journal of Education would like to extend its gratitude to Jennifer DeBoer and Madeline Mavrogordato for organizing this excellent issue. The PJE is thankful as well to all the authors for their contributions, without which this issue examining the relationship between public and private schools would not have been possible. We hope practitioners and researchers alike will find this discussion insightful and useful.

CONTENTS
Journal abstracts are linked to titles.

Introduction
Jennifer DeBoer and Madeline Mavrogordato
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 4: pages 413-415.

Twentieth-Century American Education Reform in the Global Context
Jennifer DeBoer
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 4: pages 416-435.

Education and the Constitution
John E. Haubenreich
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 4: pages 436-454.

Educational Equity Policies and the Centralization of American Public Education: The Case of Bilingual Education
Madeline Mavrogordato
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 4: pages 455-467.

The Centralizing Role of Terminology: A Consideration of Achievement Gap, NCLB, and School Turnaround
Coby Meyers
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 4: pages 468-484.

Control of Teacher Certification in the United States
Kerri Tobin
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 4: pages 485-499.

Why "What Works" Still Doesn't Work: How to Improve Research Syntheses at the What Works Clearinghouse
Chad Lykins
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 4: pages 500-509.

Centralization and Decentralization in American Education Policy
Jennifer DeBoer
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 87, No. 4: pages 510-513.


Quick Links