The Federal Government’s Role in Education

Topics: United States, United States Declaration of Independence, U.S. state Pages: 3 (1076 words) Published: September 13, 2011
Even though the Declaration of Independence does not mention education, our founding fathers did value education. Illustrated by the ordinances they passed “in 1785 and 1787 that granted federal lands to states to create and support public school- an institution that the nation’s founders viewed as essential to democracy and national unification.” (Jennings, p3) In 1959, the admission of Alaska and Hawaii into the Union reconfirmed the Federal government’s support of education. Three distinct elements that impact education are; laws that have been passed, the removal of the church from public schools, and the role of federal government that has evolved and changed over the years. These three factors have transformed education over the years. Over the course of history, several different cases have changed education and become laws. Brown versus the Broad, of education in 1954 drastically changed education. There were schools for children of color and separate schools for white children, these were supposed to equal, but they were not. (Brown vs. Board of Education, 1996-2011) The integration of schools is just as important today as it was then. Several notable cases dealt with race. Recently Proposition 209, California Civil Rights Initiative eliminated all affirmative action for race, sex or ethnicity in 1996. In 2006, Michigan passed a similar initiative that eradicated affirmative action. Race is not the only thing that case law changed. No Child Left behind (NCLB) required states to meet goals to receive Federal funding. These goals included school accountability, teacher accountability and student proficiency. Test scores at individual schools must improve for all students and for minorities, low-income students and other subgroups. If a school receiving federal Title I funding misses the target two years in a row, students have a choice of other public schools to attend. If a school fails to improve three years in a row, vouchers good for extra help,...

Cited: Brown vs. Board of Education. (1996-2011). (A&E Television Networks) Retrieved June 11, 2011, from
No Child Left Behind. (2011). Retrieved June 8, 2011, from
Ball, D. (2005, November). Should public schools display 'In God We Trust '? It 's a part of our history. American Teacher, 90(4), 4.
Cline, A. (n.d.). God in Public School - Was God Expelled from Public Schools? Retrieved August 19, 2011, from
Jennings, J. (2011). Get the Federal Government Out of Education? That Wasn’t the Founding Fathers’ Vision. Washington, D.C.: Center on Education Policy.
Obama, P. B. (2011, May 11). Weekly Address: Congress Should Reform No Child Left Behind This Year. Retrieved June 8, 2011, from The White House:
Underwood, J. (2011). Who Controls Public Schools? What Rules Affect You? Educational Horizons, 89(3), 28.
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