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Education Policies

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Education Policies and Funding
Of the Federal Government

Haeeun Kim

Political Science 1- 2624
Professor Antoine
June 30, 2014 Education policies are the principles and the government policy-making in educational sphere, as well as the collection of the laws and the rules that govern the operation of education systems. U.S. Department of Education, which is headed by the U.S. Secretary of Education, is a cabinet-level administrative organization created in 1979 that administers over 200 federal programs and collects and disseminates educational statistics. The Tenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives the reserved powers of the education to the states. Compared to 49 percent of education funding from the state government and 43 percent of education funding from the local government, 8 percent of education funding1 from the federal government is relatively small. However, federal government’s role in education has increased through history and is still increasing. The Congress of the United States, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate, passes legislation under the “commerce” and “General Welfare” clauses to affect public education in the United States. Department of Education of the federal government plays role in U.S. education by funding the education resources, and enacting Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, No Child Left Behind Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Higher Education Act. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which became a law in 1947, apply to all schools that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education. This act, also known as the Buckley Amendment, is a federal legislation that protects the privacy of student education records. This privacy policy also administers how state departments pass on the testing data to federal agencies. If institutions violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the funds from the Department of Education will be withheld. The Maintaining the confidentiality of student education records is everyone’s responsibility on school campus. Parents, who claim their children to be dependents of the parents’ most recent income tax reports, are given the right to access to the education records of their children. After the children become 18 years old or attend an educational institution that is higher than high school, only those with fair reasons have entries to the students’ educational grades, enrollment, and billing information. If the school does not agree to change any wrong information on the student’s records, which parents or eligible students have asked to change, the school goes on a formal hearing. School were able to post the students’ grades or behaviors on the bulletin board, but now in order for school to do that, they need the permissions from the parents or the eligible students. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act focuses on ensuring the education equality for the disabled students who are 0-21 years old. To the students with mental retardation, speech and language impairments, visual impairments, auditory impairments, orthopedic impairments, autism, severe emotional disturbance, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities, the Individual Education Program and Free Appropriate Public Education are provided. Through this act, parents become positively involved by agreeing with the proposal for their child and discussing the student’s services and placement. Education for All Handicapped Children, which replaced the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, was enacted in 1975 to allow more than one million disabled children to attend public school. Congress only contributed 18.5 percent funding to the special education, while it was originally supposed to support by funding 40 percent. From the underfunding of Congress, states face struggles trying to pay for the services needed for the services to help disabled students. However, both Republicans and Democrats support the increase in the special education spending for the year 2015 and to continually fund the program by establishing a 10-year plan.2 The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act thrives to provide early intervention, special education, and related services to the disabled children.
Another education policy of federal government is No Child Left Behind Act, which is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. With this act, performance was improved on standardized tests, qualities of public school teachers were raised, and the Reading First program was created to use scientifically based reading instruction. The Title I funding formula gave expectation to better target resources to school districts with high concentrations of poor children. Title I serves 15 million students in 60 percent of United States public schools with more than $12 billion as its annual budget. Through those provisions, the federal role in education increased. Supporters of the act say that the test scores of minority students and the qualities of the teachers have increased, and that parents’ increased school choice option gives more incentive for the schools to improve. On the other side, the opponents of the act argue that the class materials are only focused on the requirements of the standardized tests that test only reading and math, disabled students are particularly disadvantaged from scoring low on the tests, and that the average scores on 2013 math and reading tests for third to eighth grades decreased because of the “increased rigor of the test.” The government strives to close the achievement gap between well performing students and those who do not, and ensures that all children in the United States receive a high-quality education. Higher Education Act is a federal law that focuses on low- income college students for them to have equal access to post- secondary and higher education. President Lyndon B. John signed this law in 1965 and it was passed as a law. This law is to be reauthorized every 5 years for continual growth and change. In 1972, the Higher Education Act established the Basic Education Opportunity Grant, which was renamed as Federal Pell Grant Program in 1980. The recipients of Pell Grants grew over time to fulfill the need of low-income students to make colleges and universities affordable. Government spending $30.9 billion in the academic year 2009-2010 allowed more than 8 million students to receive the scholarships. The requirements of having access to Pell Grants are that students’ family income should be less than $30,000 a year, should have a high school diploma, should attain certain Grade Point Average in their colleges or universities, and should be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with social security number. By filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in the academic year 2014- 2015, students can obtain up to $5,730.3 In U.S. News, Morse and Tolis show in statistical charts that the students with Pell Grant graduate at the same or at a higher rate with students who do not receive Pell Grant in 53 National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges, while the graduation rates of students with Pell Grant are lower than the ones without Pell Grants in 24 National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges.4 The Higher Education Act carries out the administration of federal student aid programs by strengthening the educational resources in colleges and universities. Federal vouchers certificate federal funding to benefits families, who choose the public or private schools of their choice and have the part of or all of the tuition paid. Today, the vouchers target the low-income students for them to be able to receive education. Private schools need to meet certain standards to accept the voucher recipients. The earliest form of school vouchers that still function today were made in Maine and Vermont during the 1870s. The use of vouchers was the same during that time. Proponents of the vouchers say that the schools that are doing poorly will have incentive to improve to better schools since the schools have the flexibility for competition in the market force. Opponents of the vouchers argue that students going to private schools do not decrease the amount of money the public schools must pay for teachers and facilities, and some say that students attending private religious schools violate the separation of church and state. Researchers have found that students who gain the financial support and those who do not performed at the same level, as reported from the Center on Education Policy.5 Another result that researchers have found is that the students with vouchers have brought in the competition in schools, therefore raising the studying skills. School vouchers, also known as the education vouchers, support the individual families and redirect the flow of education funding. Knowing that education is essential for not only the well-being of an individual, but for the improvement of the nation as a whole, the government continues to improve the education is United States. The extent and pace of school improvement will determine the political future of the education policies and “the more assertive federal role in education.”6 Academic buildings will be more creative, education leaders will need to teach both the old and the new, recruiting students will be important, and funding system and sensor technology of higher education will be improved.

Bibliography

Lisa Bass, “Education Funding & Public Schools,” eHow, http://www.ehow.com/info_7907355_education-funding-public-schools.html.

Michelle Diament, “White House Urged To Fully Fund IDEA,” disability scoop, last modified 18 Feb. 2014, http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/02/18/white-house-fund-idea/19120/.

National Conference of State Legislature, “School Vouchers,” http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/school-choice-vouchers.aspx.

Patrick McGuinn, No Child Left Behind and the Transformation of Federal Education Policy, 1965-2005, (Kansas: University Press of Kansas), 188.

Robert Morse, Diane Tolis, “Measuring Colleges’ Success Graduating Low- Income Students”, U.S. News, 17 Oct. 2013, http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-rankings-blog/2013/10/17/measuring-colleges-success-graduating-low-income-students.

Shawn Lindstrom, “2014-2015 Pell Grant Amount,” Student Loan Blog, last modified 10 Feb. 2014, http://www.estudentloan.com/blog/2014-2015-pell-grant-amount.

Bibliography: Lisa Bass, “Education Funding & Public Schools,” eHow, http://www.ehow.com/info_7907355_education-funding-public-schools.html. Michelle Diament, “White House Urged To Fully Fund IDEA,” disability scoop, last modified 18 Feb. 2014, http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/02/18/white-house-fund-idea/19120/. National Conference of State Legislature, “School Vouchers,” http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/school-choice-vouchers.aspx. Patrick McGuinn, No Child Left Behind and the Transformation of Federal Education Policy, 1965-2005, (Kansas: University Press of Kansas), 188. Robert Morse, Diane Tolis, “Measuring Colleges’ Success Graduating Low- Income Students”, U.S. News, 17 Oct. 2013, http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-rankings-blog/2013/10/17/measuring-colleges-success-graduating-low-income-students. Shawn Lindstrom, “2014-2015 Pell Grant Amount,” Student Loan Blog, last modified 10 Feb. 2014, http://www.estudentloan.com/blog/2014-2015-pell-grant-amount.

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