The Need for High DL Standards Will Raise Standards Across America

Frank B. WithrowBy Frank B. Withrow

American Education is controlled by a strong belief that local control is essential. The legislative authority is vested in state and not federal governments. The federal government does not mandate that state and local communities have a school system. It simply mandates that if there is a school system all children must be free to attend that system.

After the Civil War, the Supreme Court allowed segregated school systems in the South. They were supposed to be separate but equal, but they were not. There were some schools for Afro-American students that were excellent, but the majority were poor with poorly qualified teachers and often either no or outdated textbooks. In 1954, the Supreme Court in Brown vs. the Board of Edcuation ruled against segregated schools. They did not say that a community or state had to have schools; they did, however, say that if they did, all children must be eligible to attend.

Collage. Top: May 17, 1954  Topeka State Journal, with  'School Segregation Banned' across the page - text description: http://bit.ly/topeka-brown. Bottom: quotes from the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, available at http://bit.ly/brown-ruling .

There is a strong belief that local control is the most important aspect of American public schools. However, some communities have larger tax bases and therefore can afford better schools. To offset this inequality, states provide funds to equalize costs among local school districts. However, this does not completely equalize funding across states so the federal government provides compensatory funds. However, even this does not equalize costs. Some states have a significantly larger tax base and consequently a higher per pupil expenditure. Continue reading