Monday, March 23, 2009

The Role of Federal Government in Education - Part II

I need your help again!

In a recent post, I wondered what the role of the federal government in education should be. You can see my preliminary thoughts here.

Well I got interested in this topic and now I've agreed to present at a workshop on it. I need some input. So what do you think?

Should the local school board set all education policy? Would there even be special ed if they controlled all policy? How about federal school nutrition policies? Health policies like immunization and health screening? Compulsory attendance?

The big kahuna of disagreement in this area is probably the No Child Left Behind Act. To say that we have not yet come to a consensus in this area is an understatement.

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act may be a vehicle for a much bigger role for the U. S. government in the field of education. How would you advise the Secretary of Education concerning this issue? I look forward to hearing from you.


  1. You should look at this argument for national standards:

    Also, there is some interesting historical background on the federal role in education here:

  2. I expressed my general view of the federal role in education in response to your first post on this, but I think with regard to special education the need for federal intervention is less ambiguous.

    The history of public special education prior to the enactment of federal mandates is not inspiring. While researching my own note, I came across a good law review comment giving an overview of this history, which is: Daniel H. Melvin II, Comment, The Desegregation of Children With Disabilities, 44 DePaul L. Rev. 599 (1995).

    Since students with disabilities are a minority, and the cost of providing many of them a FAPE is so high, local educational authorities are unlikely to allocate the needed resources on their own. So, to answer one of your questions, in my opinion, many school districts would not have special education if the federal government had no role in it, or would have de minimis programs.

  3. Thank yo Lawstudent,

    I appreciate your comments.


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