The federal No Child Left Behind Act does very little to ensure that children are properly educated, and at the same time takes away decisions that have been traditionally, and rightly, the purview of state and local education authorities. Considering the near pittance that the federal government actually injects into Utah public education, Utah should find a way to tell the federal government to keep its money.
At one time, I thought the state of Utah got a substantial portion of their money--even a predominance--from the federal government. It received 8.4% of its public education budget (see page 4) from the Federal government in 2006, which amounts to about $220 million. I would just as soon find ways to get the federal government out of Utah public education, so that Utahns can make decisions as to the best way to educate our children. In a time of state surplus, it would be easy to whittle away at the federal contributions to our public education system, as well as the strings (or should we say cords) that come with it.
It's good to know that at least several federal legislators are trying to reduce the strings that the federal government has tied to distribution of federal monies. In my opinion, we'd be better to not have shipped that money off to Washington D.C. in the first place.
Utah has one of the best public education systems in the country. Utah educators take pride in their work, and love the children they teach. Utah can and should be trusted to make the appropriate educational decisions for Utah's children.
People on the other side of the issue want to strengthen the behemoth law even more, requiring a nationwide database to monitor student test scores and progress. As if our federal debt weren't already high enough.
As often happens when the square pegs of overly general solutions are pounded into the round holes of specific problems, the hammer, the peg, and the hole all suffer damage. The minutiae of NCLB are a monstrosity of a maze that make no sense.
In general, when it comes to government, my motto is "the localer the better". Public education is a clear example of the rightness of this motto.