An Opening for Real Local Control

On December 10, President Obama signed into law a bill which diminishes the role of the federal government in public education and returns virtually all control of standards, assessment and accountability to the state and local level.  The underlying assumption behind the newly signed Every Student Succeeds Act is that state and local education agencies are best positioned to make policy decisions for schools.  The Every Student Succeeds Act replaces the No Child Left Behind Act passed in 2001 to reform our nation’s public schools. With that said, the big question now is what does “local control” really mean?  Does it mean that Governor Kasich, the leaders of the Ohio Senate and House and the Ohio Department of Education will continue to control how education policy decisions are made and the content of those decisions?  Does it mean that education policy proposals in Ohio will actually be discussed by local educators, school parents and the taxpayers who are responsible for implementing these policy decisions and are footing the bill for the cost of implementing them?  There is obviously a big gap between these two ends of the decision making spectrum. However, I believe that we’re near or perhaps have already reached a tipping point where our citizens, given an opportunity, are ready to roll up their sleeves and help shape education policy in our state.  So the good news for 2016 is thanks to President Obama and the members of Congress, an opening has been created for real local control.

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