Peter Greene has a good post about the inherent tension between wanting federal aid for schools but not wanting federal control of school policy.
But I really don’t understand the attitude of our federal lawmakers toward school policy. They intentionally designed No Child Left Behind so it wouldn’t directly regulate school policy; it just puts conditions on whether the states can get federal money. But the feds aren’t just “giving” that money to the states; first they’re collecting it from the people of those states through taxation. In other words, federal school policy occurs through putting conditions of the federal redistribution of wealth.
So our federal lawmakers seem to agree that school policy is a state issue that they shouldn’t regulate directly. And many of them would certainly oppose any suggestion that we should redistribute wealth. But apparently they’re fine with redistributing wealth when it enables them to control state issues? WTF?
If “redistribution” weren’t such a dirty word, maybe we could recognize that we’re already doing a lot of it, and that it would be a good thing even if it were unaccompanied by federal intrusions into state policy-making.