Federal dollars normally pay for only about 6.6% of public education spending in Delaware, but dictatorial Federal programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have seriously damaged our schools instead of helping them. Regulatory compliance with US Department of Education programs sometimes costs more than the total amount awarded to the schools. Almost no Federal money reaches our classrooms without strings attached that remove authority from parents, teachers, and locally elected school boards.
Before 1979, Federal involvement in public education was controlled by a sub-section of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The US Department of Education has not materially improved student performance or school quality in thirty years, despite billions of dollars being poured into top-down initiatives every time a presidential administration changes. This has to stop.
The US Department of Education should be abolished, and the necessary funding and compliance services that constitute the Federal role in public education should be brought back under the Department of Health and Human Services. Except when prevented by statute law (e.g. special education funding), Federal funds for public education should be block-granted to the states, with a prohibition against the state departments of education taking more than 10% of the total as an administrative pass-through cost.
The best strategy for the Federal government to pursue in public education is to hand back as much authority and resources as possible to the school districts themselves.
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