Montana Turns Down Federal Education Money Due to Loss Of Local Control
HELENA, Mont. (AP) Montana education officials didn’t apply for grants under a federal education program, saying the state would have to change education rules, labor contracts and other standards.
President Barack Obama’s “Race to the Top” education initiative offers funding for states that use student test scores to judge teacher performance and supports the creation of charter schools, which are funded with public money but are independent of local school boards.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau says to qualify for the federal money, Montana would have to weaken local control of schools, change how it evaluates teachers in ways that could violate labor contracts and possibly agree to transfer teachers from one district to another.
I’ve long said that the federal money which flows into the states (money the federal government often doesn’t have, by the way) is less about the various projects/initiatives the money is funding than it is about expanding federal control over the state in question.
For decades now, states have been selling their sovereignty away to the federal government one grant and one earmark at a time.
With every dollar of federal money that flows into a given state comes more federal control. That means more decisions made in Washington DC instead of at your local school board. Or your local city council. Or your local county commission. Or your state legislature.
Personally, I’d rather have decisions about my state/city, etc. made by people who actually live there – people who are a lot easier for me to get in touch with – than people in far-off Washington DC who are more likely to listen to lobbyists than to me.