It’s All About the States, Bout the States, No Federal

For years now, Eduflack has written about the balance of edu-power between the Federal government and the states. While major statement pieces like NCLB or Race to the Top signal the Feds in the driver’s seat, the real action (or inaction) on school improvement continues to happen at the state level.

And as Congress continues to show less and less interest in funding those big signature pieces, that power will likely continue to shift to the states, with governors and state legislatures determining what is best for their states and their students. The Feds provide the guidance and broad strokes, but it falls to states and locals to decide what to do, how to do it, and ultimately how to determine if it works.

Over at The Hill, my colleague Arthur Levine (former president of Teachers College, Columbia University) has a commentary on this specific topic. In his piece, Levine focuses on how states can and should be beacons for innovation and school improvement. And he looks at places like Tennessee, as well as states like Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio (all states that have adopted the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program) as examples of the power of state transformation in education.

As Levine writes:

States are already doing much to strengthen education. Simply put, they need the encouragement, policy framework, and flexibility to explore new avenues that will work best for their schools, their students, and their communities.

As the 114th Congress looks to chart the course for the next phase of our shared educational journey, policymakers in Washington must give states the tools they need and the right incentives to help them think outside the box, and then hold them accountable for results.

Give it a read. With a new Congress coming to Washington, and new leadership more in tune with the power of states than the growing power of the Feds, it could be a glimpse into the edu-future.

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