Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Deron Boyles

Second Advisor

Dr. Philo Hutcheson

Third Advisor

Dr. Chara Bohan

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Michelle Brattain


Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the longest serving president in the history of the United States, and he served during the U.S.’s worst economic crisis. During his tenure, approximately 80,000 public school teachers were left unemployed and 145,700 students had their schools closed. Furthermore, public schools and their teachers were under attack for the large number of unemployed and illiterate people. Despite these public school challenges, the literature rarely mentions FDR’s reactions or thoughts; instead, the literature focuses on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the National Youth Administration (NYA), two New Deal youth programs. The New Deal assisted many institutions, and educators assumed public schools would also receive assistance. Under FDR, the federal government became increasingly involved in the lives of its citizens in terms of housing, food, transportation, and employment, but it did not increase its involvement in education. In this dissertation, I decipher FDR’s educational policies by analyzing his administrative actions that supported or hindered education from 1933-1940. In particular, did FDR’s governmental programs emphasize or encourage the education of youth? Did his administrative decisions support public schools? What was FDR’s policy towards federal aid to education and why? Additionally, by analyzing how educational policies were developed within FDR’s administration, educators today will better discern how they can influence policies during each step of the policymaking process. In doing so, educators will be better prepared and positioned to support American schools.