Tom Latham: Bring Back Control and Power of Education to State and School Districts

latham-interviewI had the opportunity to recently interview Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA) for Caffeinated Thoughts.  He is running against Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA) in Iowa’s newly drawn 3rd Congressional District.  We had a chance to discuss Federal involvement in education.

“No Child Left Behind was an experiment with great intentions that hasn’t worked because of the way it was implemented.”  Latham said he was ok with Federal assistance for disabled children who received Title I, but was concerned about their breadth of involvement:

…to have the federal government try to dictate what curriculum is at that level and what they can or cannot do – local school districts get maybe 5 to 6 percent of their revenue from the federal government but about 70 to 80 percent of the regulations come from the federal government.  It is cumbersome to deal with.

I also asked him about District Race to the Top:

It dramatically expands the role of the Federal government.  They are going to be writing the grant applications based on what the rules that come out of Washington rather than what the needs are here at home, and that is of great concern…  I really think that we’ve got to bring the power and control back to the state and certainly the local school district.  That has been the strength of education in Iowa ever since they settled here in Iowa.  The first thing they did was build a church.  The second thing they did when they settled was build a school.