Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Control of Education, State
In the U.S. federal system of government, the states have constitutional authority over education. Historically, states have left the provision of education up to local school districts. However, in recent decades, for both political and financial reasons, the power of states has increased, while autonomy of school districts has shrunk. Most experts believe this trend will continue, although choice schools may signal a movement toward greater autonomy at the building level, and the No Child Left Behind Act has increased federal authority over state school policy. From colonial times, public education has been locally governed, even though state constitutions make education a function of state government. The U.S. Constitution does not mention education, so our country, unlike most others, does not have a tradition of centralized control of schools from the national government. Americans' traditional dislike of big government may be one reason for our history of local control of ...