District Administration - August 2007 - (Page 76)

UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES • Daniel E. Kinnaman One Agency Left Behind A call for decentralizing K12 education. T ECHNOLOGY AND COGNI The No Child Left Behind Act is simply mandates” because “the conditions in fedtive science are marching in one a reauthorization and extension of the eral law apply only when a state (or other direction, while public education in ESEA, ostensibly to improve achievement grantee) voluntarily chooses to accept the United States is marching in precisely and ensure accountability. But account- federal funds.” But with less than 40 perthe opposite direction. Cognitive science ability is only ensured by control, and that cent of K12 funding now at the local level, power and control continue to be sucked and technology inspire and enable a dis- begins with funding. to the center. Current funding formulas tributed, fluid education structure charpreclude community leaders from saying, acterized by individuality, variety, qual“No thanks, we don’t want the money.” ity, and broad-based availability. But that doesn’t describe K12 education in America, The Keys to Quality and which is under an enormous gravitational Accountability pull toward the center—toward centralFor our nation’s schools to improve, eduized planning and accountability, toward cation funding must change. Control sameness and conformity, leading inevitaof the purse strings must move from the bly to a national curriculum mandated for center all the way back to the edges, into all children by a bureaucratic elite. the hands of those receiving the service, instead of to the agencies providing the A First Step Funding Has Never Been Higher To get education moving toward qual- Public education, of course, is not free. It service. Customers can and will ensure acity, variety and efficiency in meeting the is merely a question of who pays and how countability, provided they can take their needs of individual learners, a first step is the money is collected. Since schools are business elsewhere—i.e. choose their eduto eliminate the U.S. Department of Edu- run by government agencies, tax collec- cation provider. Entrepreneurial providers cation. Its own document, 10 Facts About tion is the predominant funding mecha- need to be able to open and run schools K12 Education Funding, helps to make the nism. And funding has never been higher, everywhere, and if given the chance, they case: “The U.S. Constitution leaves the re- having increased significantly at all levels will. Government, as it does in other insponsibility for public K12 education with of government in recent years. From 1992 dustries, can provide general regulatory the states.” Neither creating nor regulating through 2002, for example, national K12 guidelines, but if it continues as the sole a national education system is a power del- spending more than doubled (adjusted provider of the service, schools will not egated to the United States by the Consti- for inflation, a 24 percent increase). More improve, despite funding increases. When customers control funding and tution. Nor is it, as the DOE document important, since 1990 the federal share of inaccurately claims, solely the “responsi- K12 funding increased from 5.7 percent entrepreneurial providers compete for them, bility” of the states. The tenth amendment to 8.3 percent of the total. That may not universal access to high quality K12 schools actually says such powers “are reserved for seem like much, but when the express pur- will become reality. Government isn’t the the States respectively, or to the people.” pose of the funding is to “ensure account- sole provider of automobiles, restaurants, Education in the United States began ability,” it creates an incredibly powerful shopping centers, or hospitals. Yet every as an “individual responsibility” under the bully pulpit for nationalizing public edu- community in America has them—and power of the people, but efforts to provide cation. As the DOE report states regarding generally with amazing variety and worlda “free” education to all citizens quickly “total taxpayer investment” in K12 educa- renowned quality. Did you ever wonder created a system of schooling overseen by tion, “The United States is a world leader why big cities have the best hospitals and state governments and run by local gov- in education investment, [but] nations the greatest variety of good restaurants? It ernments. Government funding and con- that spend far less achieve higher levels of can be the same with K12 education. DA trol were established at the federal level in student performance.” Sounds like a call 1965 when Congress enacted the Elemen- for greater federal control. Daniel E. Kinnaman is publisher of tary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The DOE claims it has no “unfunded District Administration Federal funding creates an incredibly powerful bully pulpit for nationalizing public education. 76 August 2007 District Administration

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - August 2007

Contents
Editor’s Letter
Letters
News Update
Technology Update
Curriculum Update
Inside the Law
Research Corner
Computer Literature
District Profile
Administrator Profile
Bus Money
DIBELS Draws Doers & Doubters
Report from EduComm 2007
Ins and Outs of Outsourcing
Curriculum Clearance
How Well Does This Web Site Work?
New Products
Problem Solution
Online Edge
Speaking Out
Professional Opinion
Calendar of Events
Understanding the Times

District Administration - August 2007

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