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ERIC Number: ED503899
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 40
The Federal Role in Education: Lessons from Australia, Germany, and Canada
Lykins Chad R.; Heyneman, Stephen P.
Center on Education Policy
This paper contributes to the debate over how the federal government can best help state and local authorities improve student achievement by providing examples from other countries of innovations in the role of the national government. The authors believe that the degree to which foreign policy structures parallel those of the United States are significant in such a comparison: Canada, Australia, and Germany also have federal systems of government where authority over most matters of education resides ultimately in state and local rather than the national government. Although such a system has historically constrained the ability of the federal government to influence student achievement, these governments are exploring new ways to improve student outcomes. The central recommendation of this paper is that the federal government, in addition to fostering a culture of accountability, must also help create an environment that enables success. Drawing on the experience of other federal governments, the authors suggest: (1) Expanding access to high-quality early childhood education, perhaps through federally supported vouchers making children ready for schooling; (2) Creating a common system for tracking students (of any age) who transfer between states; and (3) Making it easier for districts to find the teachers and principals they need through a national job databank and pension portability. Each federal government discussed in this paper has an established system of gathering and collecting education statistics, monitoring state performance, and developing standards for accountability, capacities that were built during the most recent wave of education reforms. Ultimate success, the authors conclude, depends on a second wave of reform that will increase the federal government's role not just in setting standards, but in helping states achieve them. (Contains 2 boxes and 1 figure.)
Center on Education Policy. 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 522, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-822-8065; Fax: 202-822-6008; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center on Education Policy
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Canada; Germany; United States