History 4321/CS 401

Public Policy and Public Education

November 14, 2005


I. Welfare Reform

1. Children’s Issues (the CDF Agenda, custody, alimony, and adoption)


2. The Politics of Welfare (the Reagan coalition; intellectual critique of welfare)


3. Clinton’s Initiative (legislation; politics; legacy)


II. Background Conditions

            1. Taxes and 1980s Conservatism (Proposition 13 as model; Proposition 2½ and Massachusetts; fire/police/education rivalries; declining clout of unions; teacher unions struggles; Nation at Risk and national patterns)


            2. Philosophical Changes (1960s education theory; role of multiculturalism; whole language and grammar; new approaches to math; significance of California and textbook market)


            3. Emergence of Religious Right (1970s debates and founding of Moral Majority; Federalist Society and conservative legal theory; Rutherford Institute; breaking down church/state barrier and challenging the Lemon test)


            4. Crack Epidemic (urban deterioration and 1980s; Reagan administration policies; deterioration of public housing and sense of shortcomings in old policies; divisions within African-American community and growth of black middle class)


III. Responses

            1. Funding Equity (federalism, reliance on state constitutions—widely varying results: New Jersey approach—Robinson v. Cahill and “thorough and efficient education” clause of state const.; New Hampshire and political crisis--Claremont School District v. Governor: “duty on the State to provide a constitutionally adequate education to every educable child and to guarantee adequate funding”)


2. Vouchers (development of assessment movement; African-Americans, Hispanics, and results; explanations; origins of Milwaukee program; broader political changes—1994 elections; expansion to religious schools)


            3. Effects (court challenge; objections: civil liberties, teachers’ unions, skimming student population; movement toward charter schools; unanswered questions)