Gerald Terozzi makes some rather interesting comments in his recent book, “Stop the School Bus: Getting Education Reform Back on Track. In chapter 13 he mentions the 10th 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.” The Constitution gives the states authority over the school and the states have delegated responsibility to local school boards. Local control and school boards are part of the American tradition.
Another interesting fact given by Terozzi is that the federal government provides only 9 – 10 percent of the nation’s total funding to the K-12 public education system. Question… why is it then, that the federal government now has so much say over how and what is taught in the public system? The American system of pubic education is not centralized as in many other countries. We do not have a national curriculum and constitutionally, minimal power is given to the U.S Department of Education and the Secretary of Education. Why is it then that the federal government has a sense of omnipotence in driving school reform?
Terozzi writes, “In summary, the federal government has played by its own set of rules in driving a national school reform agenda by completely disregarding the purpose and intent of the Tenth Amendment to our Constitution, pushing aside the inherent rights of states and local school boards, and displaying a lack of concern about the minuscule amount of funding it provides when compared to the major tax burden incurred by citizens in support of their local schools. This is evidenced by the mandates and onerous burdens imposed on states, school districts, and schools without any consideration for state and local input. Such burdens and mandates are implicit in the No Child left Behind legislation and the federally driven Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants initiatives.”
Hmmm…. just food for thought.