Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

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Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Public Policy

First Advisor

Edwin Mayorga

Second Advisor

John P. Caskey


This thesis explores why policy provisions surrounding teacher preparation shifted between the two most recent iterations of The Elementary and Secondary Education Act: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Through an overview of political speeches and reports published by the United States Department of Education between 2000 and 2011, as well as an overview of the recent research on teacher preparation, the author attempts to situate the policy directives on teacher preparation in NCLB and the ESSA in a broader political context. The purpose of this form of analysis is to disentangle the ways in which political narratives, based on both empirical evidence and public opinion, can lead to specific policy directives. Political commentary from the United States Department of Education in the early 2000s, along with elements from NCLB itself could have been described as antiteacher preparation. In contrast, the provisions in the ESSA represented a renewed interest in teacher preparation as a means of achieving educational policy objectives. This shift was largely driven by findings from educational research in tandem with a narrative that painted teachers as integral to the educational system in the United States. Interestingly, though these two pieces turned policymaker's attention to teacher education when the ESSA was being formed, the legislation that followed reflected many of the past themes of NCLB, noticeably standards and accountability, which a large majority of the individuals involved in research on teacher education are weary of.