The Rise of Neoliberalism and Economic Capital in National Education Policy
Beginning in the 1960's, the federal government has enacted national educational policy in the American education system. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed in 1965, and has been constantly updated on a three year cycle. This process means that this single piece of legislature displays the progression of national education policy over the past fifty years. This paper investigates the conceptual ideas behind social reform and questions the operational definition of education by using the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and its later manifestations as the No Child Left Behind act and the Every Student Succeeds Act, as a case study. It examines the interplay between progressive and neoliberal philosophies as they manifest in education. Through this analysis of policy through the lens of philosophical paradigms, there emerges a narrative of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism conflicts with the progressive rhetorical arguments of politicians, and stands in opposition to education as a social equalizer.