One of the giggest debates taking place right now,besides the budget is education.Not the curriculum but were the control for the curriculum should be.Local or federal,this is important because of the amount of money that the federal government gives to the state and local school districts.Ever since the "No Child Left Behind" law was passed the federal government has been slowly but surely imposing itself into what the school can and should teach.In the late 1990's the lack of demonstrative improvement in the education of both grammer and high school students brought about the hue and cry for a system to track the progress or lack of a child's education.Thus came the passage of the No Child Left Behind Law. Each year the students would be tested and those scores would be made public.If a school did not meet minimum standards for two or three years in a row,then federal funds would be with held and the students could transfer to another school.Sound reasonable doesn't it,but like most things the test is in the details.What happened was that the schools started to place the emphasis on teaching the students what would be covered in the test and how to take it.No longer did the school worry about whether or not if the students actually learned,but whether or not they could pass the yearly test.Fail for a couple of years and the school was in danger of being closed ,teachers laid off or fired and federal funds lost.The problem with the law was that the ramifications were not thought out,and such it was doomed to failure.Holding schools accountable is needed,for society could not tolerate an educational system that produced students who could not read or were functionally illiterate,or a system which had high drop out rates.Something had to be done,thus the No Child Left Behind Law.
What has taken place was a struggle between local control or federal control.Now the problem with federal control is that like all federal programs they promote a one sizes fits all approach.An even the most poorly educated individual knows intuitively that a one size fits all approach is doomed to failure.This is why our founding fathers leaned to local control on most every problem that society faced.That is why the federal government was limited in what it was allowed to do,and the power of the state and local government was made paramount.This is seen in the fact that the local board of education are elected by the individuals whose children education they would oversee.The only problem with this system is the assumption that the individuals who were elected to the Board of Education would be educated and understand the need for a rational approach to education. This approach not only would extended to the curriculum but also to the behavior of both teacher and student.The major problem that the Board of Education had when dealing with the curriculum was not so much with the content,though there were major problems in that area,but in the way in which it was taught.The Board took the word of those who were intrusted to teach the students that they knew the best way to teach the student and that those who did not receive an approved education in the methods of teaching were not qualified to teach.Therefore those that were in charge of teaching the curriculum were allowed to use methods that were not proven to be effective.Combine that with the fact that the school system was hobbled by what they were allowed to do in respect to discipline in the classroom.A perfect storm as far as education was concern.Now we are faced with the problem of how to fix the system and how to implement those changes.What is at stake is not only the future of our country but also the future of our planet. For we cannot allow others to dicate the direction our world will take without or particaption in the process.This particaption will mean that we must have a highly educated population now and in the future. So just how much control over the educational system should be local and how much should rest with the federal government.I know what I believe but the question as always is what do you believe?