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The Bush Brothers’ Gift: Ending Local Control Over Schools

Written by Gary North on February 12, 2015

George W. Bush’s famous “No Child Left Behind” law is governed by the law of unintended consequences. It is making it easier for states to move in and take control over local schools.

His brother Jeb was the most prominent governor who promoted Common Core. Common Core is now working with No Child Left Behind to promote state take-overs.

The recent takeover of the Little Rock School District by the Arkansas State Board of Education has angered parents and surprised even seasoned school reform observers. The move dissolved the local school board — one ousted board member, Jim Ross, called it a “coup” — and parents took to social media to decry the action.

Such a takeover is rare, but as schools nationwide begin to see the results of new math and reading tests based on tougher Common Core standards, they could find themselves the targets of similar moves.

“I hear more state boards talking about it, even if they’re not doing it yet,” said Kristen Amundson,executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education. As changes in federal education law hold schools to higher standards, she said, “states are of necessity having to try different approaches with this relatively small number of persistently low-performing schools.”

Amundson, a former teacher and school board member in Fairfax County, Va., said a proposed reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law — which orders states to assess academic achievement at specific grade levels — would give state governments more power over troubled school districts. That means more potential takeovers.

“If you believe that more and more authority is going to go back to states — and I do — then you probably are likely to see it more,” she said.

Federal money brings federal control. Federal money removes local controls. This relationship is universal. It is not limited to education.

Federal money is handed over to state governments to impose Common Core. State governments then move to reduce local control over education.

That was what Common Core was all about from day one.

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