Centralized education the wrong approach



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To the editor:The New Hampshire Department of Education under Governor Lynch recently announced that the New Hampshire Board of Education voted to adopt the Common Core Standards in math and English. As the United States moves towards a more centralized education system, an article by the PRI Pacific Research Institute, “What Canada can teach the U.S. about education,” the authors explain why Canadian students are outperforming the U.S. students: a decentralized education system. (pacificresearch.org/press/what-canada-can-teach-the-us-about-education)According to the article, “While the United States has seen decades of increasing federal intervention and control of education policy, the federal government in Canada has essentially no role in K-12 education.” Under the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Education has begun the process of nationalizing education. Recently they released the “Common or National standards” in English and math. In order to qualify for federal funding (Race to the Top funds) states are passing legislation and adopting national standards.In other words, the schools and state departments of education are answering to the federal government instead of the parents and the local communities.The Canadian system of education shows that decentralizing government in the role of education allows their schools to compete and succeed. Not only are they succeeding, they are spending less money per student when compared to the U.S.While some governors have rejected the federal government’s infringement on education in their state, Governor Lynch’s Department of Education embraces it. Canada shows the U.S. how to improve the quality of education, however, New Hampshire has opted to move in the opposite direction.The National Standards New Hampshire recently adopted are an improvement over what the New Hampshire Department of Education set for students. However, what prevented the Department of Education under Governor Lynch to improve the state standards we had in place? Other state departments of education worked and provided their students quality academic standards. Why did the Department of Education under Governor Lynch fail to make this a priority?Instead of working to improve the quality of our own standards, we’ve shifted power to the national level further eroding local control. New Hampshire could have offered students quality academic standards and maintained what little local control is left.Unfortunately, that was not a priority for the Lynch administration, and we will now have to relinquish more power to the federal government when it comes to decisions our local community should be making.Ann Marie Banfield Cornerstone Action Manchester

 

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