Presidents, Congress and the Public Schools: The Politics of Education Reform


In Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools, longtime policy analyst Jack Jennings examines the evolution of federal education policy and outlines a bold and controversial vision for its future. Jennings brings an insider’s knowledge to this account, offering a vivid analysis of federal efforts in the education arena and revealing some of the factors that shaped their enactment. His rich descriptions and lively anecdotes provide pointed lessons about the partisan climate that stymies much federal policy making today. After assessing the impacts of Title I and NCLB, and exploring the variety of ways that the federal government has intervened in education, Jennings sets forth an ambitious agenda for reframing education as a federal civil right and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to learn.

Author Jack Jennings was the keynote speaker at the 2015 CEC/CASE Special Education Legislative Summit, where he challenged special education advocates to remember the significance of the messages they carry to their members of Congress, and to be bold, not timid in asking for support of special education issues.  His admonition that “if you’re not working on your own agenda, you’re working on someone else’s” particularly resonated, and this book was a best-seller at the event.

By Jack Jennings. 2015. 264 Pages. ISBN 978-1-61250-796-5. #S6172.

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