Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Conflict Between National and State Level Control

Many conservative politicians argue for more local control of education. I do not see anything wrong with that and given things such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, I do not imagine many liberals disagreeing with the notion. States like California and Florida are going to have different issues to tackle than states like Vermont and Wyoming. One-size-fits-all mandates from the Federal Department of Education will not always account for individual state needs. However, it is difficult to argue for local and/or state control of education while constantly comparing the test results of the United States as a whole to other countries. If we are trying to compete on a global scale, how can the United States compete effectively when there could be as many as fifty different sets of educational standards? 

One could argue that as long as individual states are making gains using their own unique systems, then our overall national results will still rise. But what should be done about the states whose students do not make gains? What if the individual state reforms are not working? What if one state decides to put more emphasis on the skills needed to succeed in its economy? Should it then be the job of the Federal Department of Education to intervene and fix that state's problems? Wouldn't that usurp the state's desire to do what it feel is best for its people? 

How can we satisfy the need to diversify our country's educational needs while remaining competitive on a global scale? 

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