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Perhaps the one key area of modern public policy that has been most delegated to states and local governments is education. Unlike many Western European nations where educational decisions are made almost exclusively by the central government, in the United States local school boards have enormous flexibility in devising education policy.
Is the current decentralization of education policy a wise choice? Has education policy in the United States produced a system that has equipped workers for a modern knowledge-based economy? To what degree, if any, do the challenges facing American education originate with state and local governments?
Imagine that you have the power to reconstruct the relationship between local governments, state governments, and the federal government concerning elementary and secondary education. Would you maintain the current system of devolving power to local governments? Or would you centralize education policy within Washington DC? Why or why not?
Finally, regardless of your perspective on this issue, outline some of the challenges and opportunities presented to local governments as they develop education policy to equip students with the skills required to compete in the global economy. To what degree, if any, can Washington assist local governments in producing better education policy?


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