State and local control of education best

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Public education — from kindergarten through high school — is the responsibility of the states and local school districts. The federal government has no business issuing mandates and dictating policies.

Yet, it continues to do so. Congress and the president relish in the opportunity to preen in the spotlight touting all they are doing for schools and children.

In reality, the money — our tax dollars — thrown at state and local school districts comes with strings.

The No Child Left Behind law is a fine example. To this point it hasn’t done much but create expensive hoops that education officials have to jump through to qualify for federal money.

Last week, House Republicans took the bold step toward getting the federal government to stop its meddling. Republicans, who control the House, approved legislation to reduce the federal role and allow states to make decisions about how to deal with their failing schools, how and whether to evaluate teachers and how to spend much of the money sent by Congress.

“States and school districts have been clamoring, clamoring for less federal mandates,” said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the lead sponsor of the bill. “We should not tie the hands of teachers and school officials.”

Agreed, but the House proposal will sink faster than a two-ton anchor when it gets to the Democrat-controlled Senate. This isn’t about principles, it is about politics.

Taking a stand on education, whether it favors local control or federal mandates, is easy. Everybody is for kids.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress need to show it by letting the tax dollars now used by the federal government for education remain in the states. Local school officials, including those elected to school boards, have the pulse of their communities and are in the best position to make decisions on how to educate that area’s children.

The U.S. Constitution clearly spells out all the responsibilities of the federal government — education is not among them.

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