Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Death of Federalism?

By Diane Ravitch

..."How did it happen that a district must obtain the approval of the U.S. secretary of education for what is surely a local and state matter? When did Congress decide to abandon federalism? When did the U.S. Department of Education take control of decisions that rightly belong to state and local authorities?

I worked in the department long ago and respect the professionalism of the career civil servants there. But the U.S. Department of Education has no greater expertise—and very likely less—than state and local departments of education. Its employees are not school reformers, but administrators of grants and contracts, enforcers of compliance with laws and regulations, and the executors of similar functions. And Congress has far less expertise about school reform than any of the 100,000 schools for which it is now making rules and regulations.

So long as educational decisions continue to be made not by seasoned educators (who engage with parents about the well-being of their children) but by politicians, bureaucrats, think tanks, businesspeople, foundation functionaries, and pundits—few of whom have been in a school since they got their diploma—our nation's education system will be in deep trouble."

Read the Full Post:
"The Death of Federalism"