The argument between whether a school should be controlled by local power or by the federal government has for a long time been the discussion not only in academic circles and communities, but also learning experts and the managerial staff of educational institutions alike. Definitely, there are various arguments that could be found on both sides. However, in looking at the literature, it would not be avoided that there is some kind of bias that is eventually formulated by educators, parents, sometimes students, and even the electoral body as a whole. Recent discussions in the issue of focus not only in the efficiency of education but are now trending towards the greater concept of managerial science on how to best optimize a learning environment not only for the advantage of the students but also for the cost efficiency of the government as well.
Basically, although the difference may seem trivial, there is a world of complicated matters falling under the discussion of whether or not education should be locally controlled or federally controlled. Local control gives individual power to the decision-making process, the curriculum, and even the way disciplinary actions are carried out in educational institutions. On the other hand, having a federally controlled educational system would guarantee consistency across the board of such academic institutions and would ensure not only efficiency but also cost effectiveness of such educational institutions.
The argument that this basically proposed by those for local control is that they may be able to adapt their curriculum and learning scenarios to the specific needs of students in that location. Academics understand that each geographic location have certain cultural, social, and behavioral qualities which need to be addressed in order for there to be a truly efficient learning environment. Also, some of those who favor for local academic control have pointed out the nature of the individual demands of parents and other such stakeholders in such academic institutions. An old but controversial issue in this category is whether or not schools should teach evolution or creationism within the walls of the classroom.
Although at least in theory this local control solution may be a good scenario and implementation for academic institutions, there are nevertheless problems that are raised and, as this paper would drive towards, a federally controlled learning environment and schooling system is the best solution to address such issues.
In a book that was written recently in 2007, authors had indicated that the intrinsic structure of educational institutions themselves, when allowed for specific local controls and ignoring federal suggestions and management, would eventually be sub optimal and could be a resource hog for the funds of the state or local academic treasure chests (Meyer & Rowan, 2007). Although many have pointed out that institutional structure depends in various important to geographic location and culture, it would definitely be more beneficial and resource efficient with respect to cost if such variances in structures of academic communities are consistent across states and locations. This not only allows for a template structure of teaching but also have a better assessment than data-gathering scenario for future studies relating to academic and curriculum efficiency. In 2003, article was published concerning the differences between educational inequality in a local controlled institution and a federally controlled system, and had further discovery that such academic inequalities — at least with respect to their variants — significantly decreases over a period of time if a federal control mechanism was implemented to make sure that the academic scenario and framework be consistent in all federally covered educational institutions (Becker, 2003). Furthermore, as the article argues, having a federally controlled educational system would ensure scale expansions in the future, and local control in the academic setting would not be able to scale after a certain saturation number of students and stakeholders are entered into the system.
In 2003, another book was published discussing the shift of many utilities and public good services offered to Americans from local control to federal control and has pointed out that although there are indeed many issues that must be addressed including higher federal stratification with respect to extraneous variables found within locations, it would on the over all be more efficient because again, it would provide a future layout and plan for a more systematized management scheme, and the educational system has been pointed out by this resource as a significant stepping stone in federal control and efficiencies in the government. (Twight, 2003). From the point of view of the students, on the other hand, although the initial argument might be that local control would mean an adaptive setting for educational learning, research published in 2003 as reflective that the data showing comparative test scores across schools had a high variance — meaning that some educational institutions were more advantageous in the realm of reading and literacy than others. This is only expected. However, a significant conclusion by the article is that if such reading mechanisms and curriculums were implemented across the board by a federal curriculum which means consistency, the variance could significantly be decreased and those in the lagging scale of the reading and literacy population could be able to catch up with those in the higher decile of the divisions in categories (Camilli, Vargas, & Yurecko, 2003). Such evidence-based research in the field of education is not new. However, the reason why it is not being implemented even though the data shows that federal control in the academic setting is more efficient have been proposed by many research and studies including the variability of teachers in their opinion of being able to execute local decision-making in the walls of their own classrooms (Slavin, 2002). One proposed theory for this is that teachers, being trained to be creative especially in the classroom setting, would not be able to readily accept a design curriculum that curtail such creativity that they have learned in the course of their respective education. However, in the long run, perhaps we would rather choose more efficient educational systems than addressing the egos of such academic personalities.
There is further evidence that a federally controlled education system would be more efficient. In an article written in 2002, a lengthy discussion was integrated into the study concerning federal control and education and has pointed out that although there are some disparities that could be found in the literature which support local control of educational systems, the overwhelming evidence against it and for federal controlled learning gives a more relevant and timely solution to the problems of inequality, lagging, poor scores, and even management inefficiencies and cost problems in educational systems in the United States.
In this paper, we have highlighted only some of the relevant literature, because being able to make a comprehensive study and literature review on why the federal control mechanism for education is more efficient would fill volumes and volumes of work. However, as we have shown in the previous paragraphs, the evidence from all aspects of federal control give it large weight in the decision-making process, and the only problems with access are the implementation procedures that must be met because of local lobbying by collective action groups and shareholders in such an academic scenario.
Becker, R. (2003). Educational expansion and persistent inequalities of education: Utilizing subjective expected utility theory to explain increasing participation rates in upper secondary school in the Federal Republic of Germany. European Sociological Review, 19(1), 1-24.
Camilli, G., Vargas, S., & Yurecko, M. (2003). Teaching children to read: The fragile link between science and federal education policy. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11(5), 1–52.
Meyer, J. W., & Rowan, B. (2007). The structure of educational organizations. Schools and Society: A sociological approach to education, 217.
Slavin, R. E. (2002). Evidence-based education policies: Transforming educational practice and research. Educational Researcher, 31(7), 15.
Twight, C. (2003). Dependent on DC: the rise of federal control over the lives of ordinary Americans. Palgrave Macmillan.