The federal role in education in America has evolved for over sixty years. This means that no coherent federal policy in education existed before. When dealing with the education system in the United States, it is paramount to bear in mind that NCLB is authoritatively at the helm of this education system (Friedman, 2006). The other factor contributing to this is the social and political advancements that are a menace to the public.
Generally, the factors that have led to this can be divided into five groups. These are the national security and defense, international economic competitiveness, civil rights, religion and war with poverty. When dealing with national security and defense, the issues surrounding World Wars come in hand. The first legislation during this era was the Smith – Hughes Act of 1917, which is Perkins Act currently. This happened during the World War 1. This prompted the reforming of the education system and especially the high school curriculum. More subjects came into supplement, for instance, Greek and Latin. Vocational training also came into the system. The next law adopted was the Impact Aid Act of 1950. It was just after the end of World War II. The act addressed the issue of federal appropriation of land for military barracks. The local community had a lot of burden because of this menace.
The civil rights have many issues concerning the evolving education in the US. The Supreme Court of 1954 ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka by declaring the school segregation unconstitutional. It violated the fourteenth amendment of the American constitution. This decision was extremely important in the history of education in America as well as in the civil rights movements. It desegregated the de facto segregated schools in the North and the de jure southern white schools. The passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, during Johnson’s tenure, accelerated the program. For ten good years Adam Powell, who was an African American Congressman from Harlem, added the amendment to every bill. The amendment said that no federal aid goes to a segregated school district (Friedman, 2006). Unfortunately, this bill never passed because there were many white congressional representatives, who constantly thwarted the African American efforts to level the playing ground in education. The civil rights movement in the 1960’s and 1970 has led desegregation in schools.
Religion has been a major player in the education system from time immemorial. The unsuccessful General Aid Bill in the 1950’s is a vivid example of how religion has played a good role in education of the country. The issues of race and religion remained unresolved. The issue of separating the church from the state still took much of the centre stage. A bill that was to provide construction aid to schools faced a big blow when the congressional representatives failed to agree on a common goal in the House of Representatives. The issue of private schools created a lot of controversy. Some wanted all schools to get the aid while some claimed the aids are for the public schools only (Carleton, 2002).