No Child Left Behind
Current Events vs. Founding Documents
Published December 14, 2011 | Associated Press
Nearly half of America’s public schools didn’t meet federal achievement standards this year, marking the largest failure rate since the much-criticized No Child Left Behind Law took effect a decade ago, according to a national report released Thursday.
According to the MacIver Institute August 18, 2011
A new round of in the federal Department of Education’s Race to the Top is coming up soon, but a new study suggests that Superintendent Tony Evers and his crew at the Department of Public Instruction may be better served without a new source of federal funding.
A recent study from Dr. Frederick Hess and a group of scholars, titled State Education Agencies as Agents of Change, looks into the dynamic field of statewide education operations and management. The research found a national network of institutions that are tangled in webs of compliance and bureaucracy, keeping many reforms at bay. In short, outdated routines and often duplicative reporting are holding back several states from reaching their educational potential.
Federal mandates have put an additional focus on state education agencies (SEA’s), such as Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and expanded the scope of their role in education. As a result, the scale of their involvement has increased dramatically, making administrators like Evers important figures in the public realm of educational policy implementation.
The report argues that this heightened importance has come at a cost to education reform. Hess’ study finds that these organizations are burdened by several factors, including overly bureaucratic structures, a lack of transparency to the public, and a primary focus on federal compliance rather than implementing innovative reform.
One of the more interesting findings of the study suggests that federal funding can restrict the efficiency of SEA’s. This has been especially relevant as Race to the Top heads towards its third round in late 2011. While this funding is lucrative, it also comes with strict restrictions. These mandates require careful administration and increase the amount of bureaucracy and compliance-watchdog oversight necessary at the local level. This ultimately limits the amount of work the SEA can commit to statewide projects.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has expanded to fill many roles in the past decade, but according to Hess’s study, much of this regulatory work has strained their overall effectiveness. These bureaucratic issues not only hinder how well DPI can perform, but also prevent reform from taking place within the department itself. This becomes an obstacle not only in the branch’s Madison offices, but also in the implementation and regulation of educational reforms across the state.
Former President Bush vs. The Constitution
The US Constitution: Tenth amendment
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
We the People:
Education is not in the enumerated powers listed in Article I, Section 8; so funding the Department of Education is unconstitutional. Despite that, this legislation gives schools a financial incentive to teach to the national standardized tests. When the test questions contain political bias, do the schools teach with the same bias?