The Roots of Modern Federal Education Policy

  • Steven Putansu


This chapter traces the evolution of federal education policy from the colonial era through the passage of HEA and ESEA in 1965, while examining the balance among ideology, interests, institutions, and policy knowledge. It considers the impact of these factors on program goals and design for Student Loans and Title I. In the former case, low political conflict and shared understanding of policy knowledge contributed to clearly specified goals and easily observable processes. In the latter, institutional and ideological conflict, combined with limited policy knowledge, led to unclear and ambiguous goals coupled with fragmented and difficult to observe processes. The chapter argues that highly observable design enables more comprehensive collection of data, information, and evidence, while clear goals enable shared interpretations of that policy knowledge. As a result, policy knowledge is expected to have more consistent and direct influence on policy decisions for student loans relative to Title I programs.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Putansu
    • 1
  1. 1.US Government Accountability OfficeWashington, DCUSA

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