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The Federal Government’s Role in Education Might Get A Lot Smaller

Is the federal government’s role in local education about to decrease?

President Donald Trump just signed an executive order that requires his new secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, to find out.

“It shall be the policy of the executive branch to protect and preserve State and local control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, and personnel of educational institutions, schools, and school systems, consistent with applicable law, including ESEA, as amended by ESSA, and ESEA’s restrictions related to the Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative,” the order reads.

The president directed Secretary DeVos to review the federal government’s own rules and regulations to determine whether they comply with federal law that bars the department from “exercising any direction, supervision, or control over areas subject to State and local control..”

This is good news for those who want states to retain local control.

The Washington Post reported on the order:

“Previous administrations have wrongfully forced states and schools to comply with federal whims and dicate what our kids are taught,” Trump said at the White House. “But we know that local communities do it best and know it best.”

The GOP has long been home to lawmakers who say that the federal government should not be involved in public education. But complaints of federal overreach intensified during President Barack Obama’s administration as the department wielded billions of dollars in stimulus funds — and promises of relief from the No Child Left Behind law — to push states toward adopting new teacher evaluations and Common Core academic standards.

The Post notes the previous president’s overreach into state matters, including directing government schools to reduce discipline because black students were disproportionately on the receiving end, and issuing “guidance” to government schools to disregard the privacy concerns of most students and allow boys pretending to be girls, and vice versa, to use private facilities designated for the opposite sex.

“For too long the government has imposed its will on state and local governments. The result has been education that spends more and achieves far, far, far less,” President Trump said. “My administration has been working to reverse this federal power grab and give power back to families, cities [and] states — give power back to localities.”

Photo credit: Department of Education (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

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