The Focus of Federal Education Policy
The federal government should focus on what it can do well and the four functions it alone can perform, according to an op-ed in today’s New York Times. In their piece “How to Rescue Education Reform” Frederick M. Hess and Linda Darling-Hammond say these functions are:
- Encourage transparency for school performance and spending.
- Ensure that basic constitutional protections are respected.
- Support basic research.
- Offer voluntary, competitive federal grants that support innovation.
The federal government can make states, localities and schools do things — but not necessarily do them well. Since decades of research make it clear that what matters for evaluating employees or turning around schools is how well you do it — rather than whether you do it a certain way — it’s not surprising that well-intentioned demands for “bold” federal action on school improvement have a history of misfiring. They stifle problem-solving, encourage bureaucratic blame avoidance and often do more harm than good.
Read the complete article here. What are your thoughts?