Federal Education Policy and Inequality, 1965-2013: From Compensation to Commensuration
Emily Meanwell

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Indiana University

Primary Discipline

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is one of the most important education policies in American history, but it was intended to combat poverty, not to change the content or form of education. This connection to inequality has remained at ESEAĆ¢??s core from 1965 through 2002 (No Child Left Behind); despite this, ESEA has been neglected by sociologists. My dissertation uses a historical and cultural sociological lens and content analysis to examine the development of ESEA. I investigate three research questions: What cultural understandings and ideals underpin ESEA? What categories of recipients or actors are established in ESEA? How have these understandings and categories changed since 1965? My dissertation makes important contributions by adding a richer understanding to scholarly literature on ESEA and education policy generally, by exploring policy changes that have had major effects on schools, and by incorporating educational policies into sociological scholarship.
About Emily Meanwell

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