Policy-making in the Federal System
The U.S. government’s expansive role in public policy is caught in a swirl of conflicting cross-currents. On the one hand, popular expectations about government’s responsibility to solve problems often exceed the capacity of state and local authorities to respond effectively. On the other hand, policies developed at the national level may not sufficiently reflect the great diversity of interests across the U.S. to be effective at the local level. Moreover, the search for effective policy is further complicated by theoretical debates about the constitutional framework of federalism, e.g., what limits on national power can be derived from the Tenth Amendment?
A policy area in the middle of these cross-currents is elementary and secondary education – a subject traditionally under local control, with some oversight by the states. However, during the last four decades – especially since 2001 – the national government’s role in education has grown significantly as a result of initiatives by Republican and Democratic administrations. Use the assigned resources to inform yourself about this role and the arguments of its supporters and critics.
Before writing your initial post, review the assigned resources. To easily access the resources from the Ashford University Library, please see the table located in the Course Materials section.
In your initial post of at least 200-250 words, briefly summarize the national government’s education policies. Explain the main pros and cons in the debate about these policies. Evaluate them from two perspectives:
- The policies’ effectiveness in improving the quality of U.S. elementary and secondary education. (Justify your assessment by clearly explaining your definition of “effectiveness” and how it should be measured or determined.)
- Their consistency with the constitutional framework of federalism. (Justify your assessment by clearly explaining your interpretation of American federalism’s constitutional framework and why federal education policies are or are not consistent with it.)
Fully respond to all parts of the question. Write in your own words. Support your position with APA citations to two or more of the assigned resources required for this discussion. Please be sure that you demonstrate understanding of these resources, integrate them into your argument, and cite them properly.