By Douglas S. Reed

During the last fifty years, the federal government's efforts to reform American public schooling have remodeled U.S. faculties from locally-run organizations into complicated structures together developed through federal, nation, and native actors. the development of this federal schoolhouse-an academic process with universal nationwide expectancies and practices-has essentially altered either schooling politics and the norms governing academic coverage on the neighborhood point.

Building the Federal Schoolhouse examines those concerns via an in-depth, fifty-year exam of federal academic guidelines locally of Alexandria, Virginia, a filthy rich but socially varied suburb of Washington, D.C. The epochal social changes that swept via the US long ago part century hit Alexandria with specific strength, remodeling its Jim Crow university method right into a new immigrant gateway district inside generations. alongside the best way, the varsity process has struggled to supply caliber schooling for unique wishes scholars, and has sought to beat the legacies of monitoring and segregated studying whereas concurrently preserving upper-middle classification scholars. such a lot lately, it has grappled with nation and federally imposed responsibility measures that search to spice up academic results. All of those coverage projects have contended with the present political regime inside of Alexandria, now and then forcing it to a brink, and at different instances reconstructing it. the entire whereas, the neighborhood expectancies and governing realities of directors, mom and dad, politicians, and electorate have sharply limited federal tasks, restricting their scope while in clash with neighborhood commitments and amplifying them once they align.

Through an in depth use of neighborhood files, modern money owed, institution information, and interviews, Douglas S. Reed not just paints an intimate portrait of the conflicts that the federal schoolhouse's production has wrought in Alexandria, but additionally records the successes of the federal dedication to larger academic chance. In so doing, he highlights the complexity of the yank schooling country and the centrality of neighborhood regimes and native ancient context to federal academic reform efforts.

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S. Department of Education) both simultaneously merge and remain distinctive as they develop and implement education policy. By conceiving of the American education state not as grouping of segmented entities arrayed in a federalist structure but more as partners, collaborators, enemies, and rivals struggling over how to reconcile federal demands with localist imperatives, I hope to contribute to a larger conversation within political science about the nature of the American state and how public education presents particular difficulties for both analysts and constructors of the American state.

This book pays close attention to what happens to these ideas of local control—and localism more broadly—as other actors assert authority over public schooling, tracing the reactions of citizens and parents to the implementation of federal programs and mandates as they consider the task of schooling their children. A Thumbnail Sketch of Federal Ambitions in Educational Policy and Politics Given the historical primacy of state and local districts in educational governance, the most obvious fact about federal education policy is that there is no explicit constitutional role for the federal government to play in the provision and maintenance of public education.

The oldest city in the Washington region, Alexandria transcends its tourist attractions and shares common elements with cities and school districts across the nation. A number of characteristics in particular make it an illuminating case study in which to explore long-term implementation of federal education policies. Clearly, the practical matters of undertaking a historical examination of a school district required a geographic proximity to the archives and public records of locality. Alexandria’s commitment to historical preservation extends to its municipal records as well, offering a rich documentary record to draw from.

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