Local Control/Responsibility Important — in education as well

Rep. Yvette Herrell had an excellent opinion piece in the Albuquerque Journal on Sunday that speaks to the merits of local decision making on a wide variety of issues. One that she did not mention was education which was discussed in an article that ran in today’s paper.

The gist of the story from today’s paper is that during the worst of the recent economic downturn, New Mexico policymakers had to reduce spending, including education spending. These reductions may have caused the state to spend too little under a federal formula that may cost New Mexico $34 million in special education funding. Interestingly, despite reduced funding, the education system has cannibalized funding for the broader system in order to preserve funding for special ed lest the state again fall below the federal thresh hold.

See the problem here? Washington is using our own money to hold our state representatives hostage in order for the state to receive even more of our money. And, while special ed is held relatively harmless, the rest of our kids suffer thanks to Washington’s arbitrary and inflexible formulas.

Education should be funded and administered as close to the people as possible, not by bureaucrats in Washington (I prefer total school choice, but at least state politicians are a bit more accountable to local control). If there is one federal agency that has completely failed and should be gotten rid of, it is the Department of Education.