But here are a few things to understand about Federal involvement in K-12 education.
1. The Constitution leaves the responsibility for public K-12 education with the states.
There is a compelling national interest in ensuring the quality of the nation’s public schools, so the federal government provides assistance to the states and schools in an effort to supplement state support, and thereby get a say in what goes on – without that funding, they can’t really (or at least easily) say much about it.
2. States and localities are the primary sources of K-12 education funding, and always have been.
In the 2004-05 school year, 83 cents out of every dollar spent on education came from state and local levels (45.6 percent from state funds and 37.1 percent from local governments). The federal government’s share was 8.3 percent. The rest was private sources, usually aimed at private schools.
3. All federal education funds are dependent on the recipient school districts’ adherence to federal guidelines.
The Feds CAN’T dictate mandates without attaching those mandates to money, because the Feds are constitutionally NOT in charge of K-12 education.
YOU CAN STILL HAVE TREMENDOUS IMPACT ON EDUCATION AT THE STATE AND LOCAL LEVEL, SO GET INVOLVED.
Funding comes primarily from State and Local sources. Policy decisions come at State and Local levels, including the decision to take Federal money and abide by the associated mandates. If a federal mandate is bad, the related money can be rejected and the mandate ignored. This would hurt, but it is manageable, with preparation, planning, and determination.
Every call you made to an unmoved Senator about DeVos can become a call for local support, local tax dollars, state legislation and support – it’s the same work, and potentially (even probably) far more effective.
DeVos’ appointment just moves the fight to somewhere we have home court advantage.
It doesn’t mean the fight’s over.