The U.S. Education System: What Went Wrong? Part III

A great thing about being American is that if you are unhappy with how things are run in one state, you are free to move to 49 others.  The same goes for businesses. If you are unsatisfied with one company, you can take your money to another establishment. 

Yet unlike businesses and states, when it comes to education, you have almost no say in how your money is spent.  This hasn’t always been the case. Education used to function exclusively at the local level.When we allow educational decisions to be made locally, we leave the door open to public feedback and real change when it is necessary. When centralization occurs we often become less satisfied with the goods or services purchased because those most affected—parents and students—are removed from the decision-making process.

Today, if you have concerns about your local public school, you would probably first talk to your child’s teacher. You would then be passed off to the principal, then a superintendent, then the school board, and if your efforts remained fruitless, you might be told to write your local congressman. You would go through all the bureaucratic channels without ever really getting anywhere. 

In earlier times, local communities would band together and make educational decisions based on the traditions and values prevalent in their community. If you did not like the decisions that were agreed upon, you could move to another town that better reflected your own values or beliefs. Everybody wins! 

Today however, we have ceded too much power to central authorities and retained too little local control over our children’s education. If we want to regain control and increase quality, we must take education out of the clutches of the federal government and put it back in the hands of local communities.