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Education is fundamentally political in nature. Turning his distinctive analytical lens to the politics of American education, Joel Spring looks at contemporary educational policy issues from theoretical, practical, and historical perspectives. This comprehensive overview documents and explains who influences educational policy and how, bringing to life the realities of schooling in the twenty-first century and revealing the ongoing ideological struggles at play.

Ranging from a theoretical discussion of the political nature of American education to the nitty-gritty practicalities and complexities of political control at all levels — local, district, state, and federal — The Politics of American Education is timely and useful for understanding the big picture and the micro-level intricacies of the multiple forces at work in controlling U.S. public schools. Joel Spring's insightful approach to exploring the politics of education is both unique and essential.


  • Analyzes the role of media and politicians in shaping public discussions about education
  • Emphasizes the relationship between political parties' agendas and the political structure of American schooling
  • Focuses on the political uses of schools
  • Demonstrates the influence of business, the educational industry, teacher unions, ideological and religious interest groups and foundations, professional education organizations, and colleges and departments of education on the politics of education
  • Examines the influence of global organizations on American school policies
  • Reports and analyzes the emergence of open source and other forms of electronic textbooks vis-à-vis their growing impact on the politics of education

Thought-provoking, lucid, original in its conceptual framework, and rich with engaging examples from the real world, this is the text of choice for any course that covers or addresses the politics of American education.

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Joel Spring is Professor of Education, Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


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