Date of Award


Access Restriction

Campus Access only Dissertations

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Yvette V. Lapayese

Second Advisor

Emily Arms

Third Advisor

Mary K. McCulllough


No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (2002) is the most significant piece of federal education legislation since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965. The policy changes made through NCLB, though, did not emerge from a vacuum: NCLB is a product of our times, an evolved cousin of previous policy texts that have influenced its creation and implenetation.

This study seeks to understand the historical antecedents to NCLB, the political intent behind NCLB, and the effect of this legislation on students of low socioeconomic status. Using a historical political analysis of policy texts, secondary artifacts, and narrative analysis of policy activity, this study discusses the historical foundations for NCLB, the intersection of NCLB and A Nation at Risk, and their effects upon students of low socioeconomic status. Finally, this study posits recommendations for enacting socially just, policy-based education reform in the United States.