Sacrificing Local Control at the Altar of the Dollar

money_bagThe Des Moines Register had an article on Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s education bill and how it would erode local control.  They quote State Representative Greg Forristall who chairs the Iowa House Education Committee:

Republicans, who often invoke the virtues of self-reliance and limited government, are “especially sensitive” to resisting centralization and preserving local control, said House Education Committee Chairman Greg Forristall, R-Macedonia.

But, he acknowledged, the transformative education reform lawmakers are seeking has forced difficult questions on the proper balance between local control and state oversight, especially when so much of K-12 education is funded with state dollars. State government spends $4 billion annually on public schools.

“As long as children are learning to read and are learning the types of things they need to be successful in life, we want to leave locals alone as much as possible,” Forristall said. “But I think since we’re putting so much money into education, the state has a responsibility to see that quality is maintained.”

I can understand why somebody would want to question how education dollars are spent when private schools who spend far less per child consistently outperform their public school counterparts. 

So sure the question of how your spending that money begs to be asked.  It should be asked.

Which is why we should retain local control.  It seems like Representative Forristall forgot where the state education dollars came from – the taxpayers who live in the school districts and have better access to their local school boards than some bureaucrat in the Iowa Department of Education.

Is providing accountability the same as coming in and making school board decisions on education policy for them?

I don’t think so.  It’s good to see others are recognizing this as well.