Bourdieu's reflexive sociology may assist in understanding what to many seems a dramatic shift in US education policy. Yet, the current Bush administration's NCLB-related initiatives may be understood as a part of an ongoing development in the American policy field over the past 30 years. As Ladwig (1994) argues, "the 1980s' educational policy reforms [in the US] reveal the maturation of the historically rooted social field of education policy... [and American] educational policy has historically developed its own relative autonomy and carries its own rewards" (p. 342). And contrary to the hopes of many who have attempted to influence policy from the outside, since policy initiatives are rarely, if ever, declared successful in terms of effectively changing educational practice, policy effectiveness would be better described in terms of contests within the policy Geld itself. I argue that Ladwig's (1996, 1998) Bourdieusian analysis may help account for how progressive and radical literacy education researchers and practitioners have had so little influence over current American literacy education policies. Weaker linkages between policy and practice than many of them have generally assumed may explain why they have over the past 30 years failed to influence the American education policy field in general. Also, progressive and radical literacy education researchers and practitioners' strategies to affect policy may have exacerbated literacy education's weakening relative autonomy vis-a-vis the policy Geld. Outside the US, inter- and intra-field relations of the social fields of practice and policy in literacy education may be quite different. My analysis might resonate with similar contentious relations between literacy education policymakers and researchers and practitioners in other countries.