Patrick McGuinn

Drew University
Political Science

Drew University Political Science Dept
36 Madison Avenue
Madison, NJ
07940 |  Visit Personal Website

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Just published "The Convergence of K-12 and Higher Education: Policies and Programs in a Changing Era" (Harvard Education Press, 2016) with Chris Loss.

DeBray, Elizabeth, and Patrick McGuinn. 2009. "The New Politics of Education: Analyzing the Federal Education Policy Landscape in the Post-NCLB Era.” Educational Policy 23:15-42.
McGuinn, Patrick. 2010. “Creating Cover and Constructing Capacity: Assessing the Origins, Evolution, and Impact of Race to the Top.” Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute.
Abstract: This paper offers an analysis of the origins, evolution, and impact of the Obama administration's Race to the Top (RTTT) competitive grant program and places it in the broader context of the debate over No Child Left Behind and the shifting intergovernmental relations around education. RTTT is fundamentally about two things: creating political cover for state education reformers to innovate and helping states construct the administrative capacity to implement these innovations effectively. The program has had a significant impact on the national political discourse around education and pushed many states to propose or enact important policy changes, particularly around charter schools and teacher evaluation processes. But we should remain realistic in our expectations about what RTTT can accomplish; while the program's approach may be different from that of earlier federal education programs, many of the political and institutional obstacles to sustaining meaningful reform at the federal and state levels remain largely the same. RTTT will struggle to surmount these obstacles in the short term, even as it hopes to transform them over the longer term.
McGuinn, Patrick. 2006. No Child Left Behind and the Transformation of Federal Education Policy, 1965-2005. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
Abstract: The book seeks to explain the recent transformation and expansion of national involvement in education in light of the country's history of decentralized school governance and the longstanding opposition of both liberals and conservatives to an active, reform-oriented federal role in schools. More broadly, it examines how national politicians and political parties use salient policy issues in the pursuit of electoral advantage and utilizes a historically-based policy regimes framework to explain how reformers are sometimes able to overcome institutional and political obstacles to bring about major policy change. It argues that education has played a major even decisive role in broader political and ideological debates in the U.S. over the past twenty years because it emerged as a swing issue with vital electoral significance in an era of partisan parity and narrow electoral margins.

Substantive Focus:
Education Policy PRIMARY
Governance SECONDARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy History SECONDARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation
Policy Analysis and Evaluation PRIMARY