Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education


Following the launching of Sputnik in 1957, Congress passed the National Defense Education Act of 1958 that primarily funded research for the teaching of science, foreign language, and math. English was omitted, but in 1961, due to persuading from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Congress funded a program that established institutes and centers for research for the teaching of English.

In my research I argue that in order to secure federal funding, the NCTE altered its formal mission to accommodate popular educational rhetoric. Ironically, after achieving federal funding for curricula research one outcome was a recommendation for the teaching of English to shift its focus back to as it was in earlier eras.

This dissertation uniquely applies public policy literature and theory to educational history to demonstrate the contribution of the NCTE in affecting educational policy. Additionally, the few secondary sources have generally neglected the NCTE's political maneuvering during this period. Finally, though it is not a blueprint, it contributes to a greater understanding of the reasons behind educational policy change and serves to highlight the role of professional educational associations in the shaping of federal educational policy.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.