With the focus in Washington being on spending, we often forget that one of the most over-regulated sectors of our country is actually our education system. Including No Child Left Behind (NCLB), there are over 150 federally-operated education programs, each one imposing compliance costs and top-down bureaucracies that do nothing to help educate our children.
Who knows best how to educate our children, is it a centralized bureaucracy or the State and local governments which can adapt their practices to benefit the children in their state alone. Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma and New Jersey, to name a few, have shown that states know better than bureaucrats when it comes to education our children.
Practices like school choice, increased accountability to parents and merit pay for teachers have done a lot to actually reform the education process. But the compliance burden of NCLB makes it difficult for states to implement their own practices.
The Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act (A-PLUS) allows states to opt out of individual federal education programs in order to craft an education system that suits their students, not a bureaucrat.
For decades, the federal government has been increasing funding and implementing programs for schools without any improvement. The cost to states of all these central-government programs is an estimated $141 million a year and over seven million hours of paperwork.
If we allow states, local governments and parents to develop an education system that works for our children, and get the government out of the way, then there will be more flexibility – and more tax dollars – available to equip our children with the skills they need for the future.