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A Presidential Agenda for the Schools

by Harold Kwalwasser - June 04, 2008

Current K-12 education policy proposals from the Presidential candidates may actually do more harm than good to local school districts. In an attempt to assure that particular policies are adopted, the likely legislation will dictate results from Washington rather than allow local district to adapt best practices to the situation on the ground.

While good management practice calls for the placing of authority, responsibility, and funding in the same place, these Federal policies are continuing a distressing trend of separating authority and funding from districts while leaving them with responsibility for the delivery of services. Districts need to be reinvigorated rather than further hamstrung.

To implement these ideas, the Presidential candidates should embrace a platform that removes punitive, directed sanctions from No Child Left Behind. However, even more important, the policy should address four chronic financial problems for districts that they have not been able to resolve for themselves, and which state and Federal policy have so far been unable or unwilling to resolve for them: 1) appropriate Federal funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; 2) guaranteeing local districts that the Federal government will make up state support shortfalls in recessionary years; 3) using the leverage of ESEA Title I funding to require inter- equalized state funding; and 4) providing capital funding for construction necessary to implement class-size reduction programs provided the local district covers operating costs.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: June 04, 2008
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15268, Date Accessed: 8/7/2020 11:47:01 AM

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