ERIC Number: ED485973
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jul-7
A Lesson in Waste: Where Does All the Federal Education Money Go? Policy Analysis. No. 518
Since the 1965 passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which concentrated unprecedented authority over American education in the hands of the federal government, federal lawmakers have passed increasingly restrictive laws and drastically escalated education spending, which ballooned from around $25 billion in 1965 (adjusted for inflation) to more than $108 billion in 2002. For almost 40 years the federal government has broken with both precedent and the Constitution by inserting itself into American education, an area that is traditionally and legally the domain of state and local governments. In that time the federal government has expended hundreds of billions of dollars on everything from Safe and Drug-Free Schools to programs for towns with historical ties to the whaling industry. And what does it have to show for it? Stagnant academic achievement, large bills, and schools that are struggling as much today as they were at the beginning of Johnson's Great Society. Given that failure, federal meddling in education should end immediately, and control should be returned to parents and states. Unfortunately, the No Child Left Behind Act and the massive funding that has accompanied it have moved the country in the opposite direction. But perhaps this opens a window of opportunity: states are growing increasingly restive, chaffing under the slew of new federal regulations that come with NCLB dollars. This spreading revolt, coupled with the knowledge that very little of lasting educational value has been created by the federal government, might finally lead to what American K-12 education needs most--for the federal government to return educational control to the families, local governments, and states to which it belongs. (Contains 8 appendices & 137 notes.)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Cato Inst., Washington, DC.