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Federal Higher Education Policy Framework

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The framework will develop this framework of some of these factors and through an application of Weiss’ Theory of Action (1998).Increasing globalization has resulted in a competitive environment wherein education plays a vital role in strengthening the economic resources of a nation. For most Western democracies, higher education has become a critical link to future economic success (Alexander, 2000, p 413). In order to enhance competitiveness in the international marketplace, Governments are increasingly focusing on the need to improve the quality of human capital, a product of higher educational institutions.In the past, a high school diploma was considered adequate. However, the role of post-secondary education has become increasingly important as a factor in enhancing productivity. In the early 1990s, the Government launched an ambitious State-based scheme via the No Child Left Behind Act which seeks to make school districts accountable for ensuring that all students are provided with basic education. But State funding has not kept pace with this development and funding gaps have developed between high poverty and low poverty districts. (Carey,2004, p 1).In 2002-2003, the funding gap for poor students in West Virginia was estimated to be about $417 per student (Carey, 2004, p 5). Numbers can be used as a measure of a policy problem (Stone, 1997) and the funding gap indicates a serious policy problem at state and federal levels. Poverty in a region is inextricably linked to low wages between $5.75 to $6 per hour, as researchers have shown (Churchill,1995. National Alliance of Business 1997) and the funding gap for education exacerbates the problem of lack of job skills. Workers can acquire such job skills only through improved education (Murnane and Levy, 1997).