Proceedings of the New York State Economics Association


The Political Economy of Education Reform: The Case of A Nation at Risk

Johanna Mitchell

vol. 3, September 2010, p. 89-104


This paper explores the power structure behind education policy through analysis of the political and economic affiliations of the authors of A Nation at Risk, an educational reform report. Analysis of historical documents such as the 1983 reform report provides an explanation for contemporary policy and practice. Many researchers have analyzed the contents of the report and the historical circumstances following its release, but the connections authors shared with the state and their class backgrounds have been ignored as has the class-biased nature of the education policy-making process. Power structure research and a Marxist theoretical perspective are employed in this essay to demonstrate the interlocking network of authors and their shared organizational affiliations and interests. The networks and exploration of the policy-making process demonstrate that education policy resulting from reports such as A Nation at Risk is formulated by a power elite, and serves to enhance the interests of the dominant economic class.


suggested citation:

Johanna Mitchell. "The Political Economy of Education Reform: The Case of A Nation at Risk." Proceedings of the New York State Economics Association. vol. 3, September 2010, p. 89-104

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