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Educational Policy and the American Presidency

While U.S. presidents currently play an important role in creating and shaping educational policy in the United States, this is a fairly recent phenomenon. Prior to the 1960s, presidents played a minor or nonexistent part in the creation of educational policy. This largely stems from limited federal involvement in education and a prevalent view during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that education was a state, not federal responsibility. This entry offers a brief historical review and discusses how presidents make policy in this area.

Historical Review

Beginning in the 1960s, presidents grew more involved in educational policy making, although interest varied across administrations. President John F. Kennedy spoke often about educational policy and proposed several bills, but it was not until Lyndon Johnson's Great Society ...

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