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The presidential platform on twenty-first century education goals

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Published: 2016-06-06

Authors

Ariel Tichnor-Wagner

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Allison Rose Socol

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keywords: federal policy; politics of education; education goals

Abstract

As social and economic problems change, so do the goals of education reformers. This content analysis of presidential debates transcripts, state of the union addresses, and education budgets from 2000 to 2015 reveals the ways in which presidents and presidential candidates have framed education goals thus far in the twenty-first century. Using Labaree’s (1997) framework of competing goals in American education, we found that democratic equality, social efficiency, and social mobility made their way into education discourse. Democratic equality occurred most frequently, followed by social efficiency, then social mobility. Presidents also used these goals in concert, applying symbolic language of equity to promote education policy initiatives framed as bolstering economic growth, America’s global competitiveness, and the opportunity for individuals to achieve the American Dream. Implications for federal education policy trends and frameworks for understanding the education goals of U.S. presidents in the 21st century are discussed.

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Author Biographies

Ariel Tichnor-Wagner

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ariel Tichnor-Wagner received her Ph.D. from the Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement program in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on K-12 education politics and policy, with a particular emphasis on the adoption and implementation of policies aimed at improving the academic and social-emotional outcomes of culturally and linguistically diverse students and global competence development.

Allison Rose Socol

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Allison Rose Socol is a doctoral student in Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on policies and practices that promote the academic achievement of all students, especially low-income students and students of color.

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Published: 2016-06-06

How to Cite

Tichnor-Wagner, A., & Socol, A. R. (2016). The presidential platform on twenty-first century education goals. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 64. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.2224