Jimmy Carter as Educational Policymaker

Equal Opportunity and Efficiency

By Deanna L. Michael

Subjects: Education, Education Policy And Leadership, Educational Assessment And Evaluation, Presidency, The, Public Policy
Paperback : 9780791475300, 199 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791475294, 199 pages, August 2008

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Table of contents


1. The Resistance to Equal Opportunity and Efficiency

2. The End of Open Resistance

3. The Compromise of Equal Educational Opportunity

4. Equal Educational Opportunity through System Reform

5. An Opportunity Missed

6. Return to Local Leadership: The Carter Center and Atlanta Project


Analyzes educational reform in the second half of the twentieth century through the political career of Jimmy Carter and his influence on educational policy.


The United States is once again actively pursuing educational reform with the expressed goals of increasing efficiency and improving the quality of education, while leaving no child behind. Although these themes have been recast in contemporary terms, this book demonstrates that they are a continuation of the educational efficiency movement that began in the early 1900s and reemerged during Jimmy Carter's administration. Carter's involvement in educational policy on all governmental levels offers a unique opportunity to study the formation and implementation of educational policies on the local, state, and federal levels and to witness the centralization of educational policymaking in the latter half of the twentieth century. Deanna L. Michael explores how Carter's commitments to efficiency and planning on the one hand, and to equal educational opportunity on the other, reflect the larger national movement in educational policy. When these commitments came into conflict, Michael suggests, Carter's attempts to reconcile them reveal both his own shifting priorities and the complex social and political obstacles facing educational policymakers then and now.

Deanna L. Michael is Associate Professor of Social Foundations at the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg.


"Deanna L. Michael has produced a well-researched and detailed account of President Jimmy Carter's career as an educational policy maker … This book not only chronicles with authority Carter's work as an educational policy maker; it identifies important themes in his public career. " — Journal of American History

"Michael paints a lucid, balanced portrait of Jimmy Carter's experiences as educational decision maker. " — CHOICE

"This major contribution to the field provides a valuable case study on how a president develops and executes educational policy. " — Maurice R. Berube, author of American Presidents and Education

"This is the first book to present a thorough historical account of the evolution of Carter's policies from president of the Sumpter County School Board to governor of Georgia to president of the United States. It examines how Carter's need to respond to the conservative electorate in Georgia was often at odds with his personal beliefs and how, as president, he was able to develop a stronger commitment to equality of opportunity. " — Alan Sadovnik, coeditor of No Child Left Behind and the Reduction of the Achievement Gap: Sociological Perspectives on Federal Educational Policy