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Strategic Choice in Federal Education Policy: The Compliance-Assistance Trade-Off


by Richard F. Elmore & Milbrey W. McLaughlin - 1982

Our analysis treats the role of the federal government relative to states and localities in roughly the same way a foreign policy analyst would treat the posture of the United States toward foreign governments. Our choice of this perspective is deliberate. It calls attention to the fact that the federal government has objectives and interests that are, to some degree, independent of those pursued by states and localities. It emphasizes that federal policy works on the margin of state and local decisions; that is, federal policy affects educational outcomes by making marginal or incremental changes in the basic instructional program of schools. Our perspective also calls attention to the fact that the federal government is constrained in the pursuit of its objectives by its limited authority, by its limited share of total educational expenditures, by shifts in demography and economy over which it exerts no influence, and by the accumulated learning of state and local actors as they accept and deflect federal influence over long periods of time.


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This article originally appeared in NSSE Yearbook Vol. 81, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 83 Number 5, 1982, p. 159-194
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 19078, Date Accessed: 11/22/2019 7:53:08 AM

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About the Author
  • Richard Elmore
    University of Washington, Seattle
    E-mail Author
    RICHARD F. ELMORE is a professor of public affairs and assistant director of the Institute of Governmental Research at the University of Washington in Seattle.
  • Milbrey McLaughlin
    Rand Corporation
    E-mail Author
    MILBREY W. MCLAUGHLIN is a Senior Social Scientist at Rand Corporation.
 
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