Federal or Local Control?

On the new 74million.org site, Conor Williams makes a strong argument against federal influence in education:

I’m not some reflexively pro-centralization, big government cheerleader, OK? Let me be clear. There are plenty ofkludgeocratic, dumb regulations that creep down through federal and state mandates. Top-down accountability can get ugly fast. It works best when setting expectations and imposing (crisp, direct) consequences. Too often, it strays into unwieldy dictates for teachers’ or administrators’ daily work. I get that.”

And a strong argument against state and district control citing the misdirection of funds by LAUSD:

“At a systemic level, there’s precious little evidence that states and districts are ready to seize their achievement gaps and make uncomfortable choices about reallocating educational resources to benefit the underserved. Remove the pressure from above, and they quickly find other priorities—like getting extra dollars to schools serving privileged white families.”

His perfect solution is. . . ?

The stated primary goal of centralizers and localizers is equality of education for all students leading to closing the achievement gap. We’ve tried both with little no positive impact. From my perspective, placing all the responsibility on education is blaming the result for the cause. Neither the Department of Education nor state and district education bureaucracies no matter how well intentioned their efforts can ever make the needed changes to the broader underlying cultural issues that are reflected in rates of poverty, unemployment, welfare dependency, and, yes, educational inequities.