Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Committee Chair/Advisor

Brewer, Curtis A

Committee Member

Stegelin , Dolores

Committee Member

Satterfield Jr. , James W

Committee Member

Gonzales , Leslie D


This study presents a tool which uses the political philosophy of John Rawls to evaluate Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) its most recent 2001 form (better known as No Child Left Behind). The devised tool was directly derived from Rawls's two basic principles of justice as fairness that he defines and expands upon throughout his writings. These two principles were divided into three arenas of publicly funded education: justice in the democratic processes, justice in the allocation of resources, and justice in the goals of schools. Via a series of 14 rubrics, the texts of the 1965 and 2001 legislation is assessed against the writings of Rawls and judged on a scale ranging from Highly Just to Highly Unjust. The current version of Title I is found to be Unjust for its undermining of fair value of the citizen's voice; Just for its active material support for the least advantaged students, and mixed on the justice of end goals. The 1965 version was found to be much narrower in scope, with no substantive impact on democratic justice or educational goals and a positive impact on the material support of the least advantaged. We conclude that the redistributionist goal of Title I has been retained over the years, but the centralizing of authority in the name of accountability has brought into question the net justice of Title I.

Included in

Education Commons



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