Date of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Type




First Advisor

Amira Proweller, PhD

Second Advisor

James Duignan, M.F.A.


This study examines how the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2002’s accountability mandates for public schools have affected museum education programs in a large, Midwestern city. For this multi-method study, relevant educational materials were analyzed, and fourteen educational professionals affected by the relationship between museums and public schools were interviewed. As public schools are increasingly pressured to increase student test scores, cuts in fieldtrip attendance are seen as justifiable, since these experiences do not directly result in students’ making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) on standardized tests. To remain relevant to these new goals for public education, many museums have tied their field trip content to general state standards, or explicitly linked museum lessons to the tested subjects of math and reading. These alterations further circumscribe public students’ educational experiences to testable curricula, and students lose out on learning content that gives their studies real-world context and meaning.

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