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SAGE Publications

Cover Image: Collision Course: Federal Education Policy Meets State and Local Realities
  • Date: 10/12/2010
  • Format: Print Paperback
  • Price: $43.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-60871-649-4
  • Pages: 165
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Collision Course: Federal Education Policy Meets State and Local Realities
Paul Manna, College of William & Mary

Collision Course selected as Book of the Month at the College of William & Mary! Click here for a video of Paul Manna discussing the book and No Child Left Behind.

What happens when federal officials try to accomplish goals that depend on the resources and efforts of state and local governments?

Focusing on the nation's experience with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), Manna's engaging case study considers just that question. Beyond the administrative challenges NCLB unleashed, Collision Course examines the dynamics at work when federal policymakers hold state and local governments accountable for results. Ambitions for higher performance collide with governing structures and practices. 

Were the collisions valuable for their potential to transform education policy, or has the law inflicted too much damage on state and local institutions responsible for educating the nation's youth? The results have been both positive and negative. As Manna points to increased capabilities in states and localities, he also looks at expanded bureaucratic requirements. Collision Course offers a balanced and in-depth assessment of a policy that has sparked heated debate over a broad expanse of time- from NCLB's adoption through its implementation to the Obama administration's attempts to shift away.

Federalism, the policymaking process, and the complexity of education policy all get their due in this accessible and analytical supplement. 
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Table of Contents

 1. Contexts

2. Logic and Levers of NCLB

3. System Leaders Implement the Law 

4. Schools and Districts Under the Microscope

5. Teachers and Their Tasks

6. Subgroup Accountability and Student Achievement

7. Federal Leadership and the Future of Educational Accountability

Manna is one of a handful of scholars with a real grasp of the way education policy intersects with the politics of federalism. Collision Course forces readers to think broadly about the obstacles to steering school reform from Washington, D.C. - Jeffrey R. Henig, Columbia University

As the United States struggles to improve its diverse K-12 education systems, we need an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the different ways the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program has been applied in practice during the past decade. Paul Manna’s new book provides an excellent analysis of the intent, nature, and implementation of NCLB. Drawing upon numerous scholarly studies of particular aspects of the program as well as his own expertise in federal and state education policymaking, Manna offers a balanced critique of NCLB and provides thoughtful recommendations for future improvements. This well-written and timely assessment will be of great interest to policymakers, educators, and college students. - Maris Vinovskis, University of Michigan

While there are many edited volumes on the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, there is a need for a coherent synthesis on what works under what administrative conditions from a single author’s perspective. This book will fill this gap. The writing is highly readable and the author has extensive experience is synthesizing the evidence at the federal, state, and local level; this book fits nicely into public policy courses. - Kenneth Wong, Brown University

Paul Manna, College of William & Mary

Paul Manna is an Associate Professor of Government and faculty affiliate in the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy at the College of William and Mary. His research and teaching center on policy implementation, bureaucracy, federalism, and applied research methods. Manna has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on topics including No Child Left Behind, charter schools, school vouchers, and federal education policy more broadly. He is the author of School’s In: Federalism and the National Education Agenda (2006), which examines the evolving relationship between federal and state education agendas since the 1960s. After graduating with his B.A. in political science from Northwestern University, Manna taught high school social studies for three years before earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin.

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