- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (April 26, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0742548597
- ISBN-13: 978-0742548596
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,729,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Education
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Neal McCluskey has written an energetic critique of federal education policy and the federal government's growing role in K-12 schooling. While some readers may disagree with McCluskey's analysis, this is a book certain to provoke lively debate. (Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute)
Excellent at several levels, Feds in the Classroom provides essential historical background and dissects key programs, court cases, and statistics. McCluskey brilliantly illustrates how intervention often, if not typically, produces the opposite of the intended result, and he points the way out of the political morass that engulfs U.S. K-12 education. (John Merrifield, University of Texas, San Antonio)
The expansion of the federal government's role in education has been ineluctable, and mostly destructive. This book serves as a much-needed reminder that 'accountablity' in education must mean accountability to parents, not to federal mandarins. (Michael Greve, American Enterprise Institute)
McCluskey shows how Washington politicians―representing bureaucrats and unions, rather than parents and students―wrestled control of public schools from local communities. Washington's soaring spending and meddlesome regulations have brought academic mediocrity and social strife. McCluskey weaves through the history, law, economics, and politics of federal education policy, and offers a commonsense solution that empowers parents and local communities. It is a well-researched and fascinating book for anyone interested in fixing America's schools. (Brian Riedl, The Heritage Foundation)
McCluskey reminds readers why well-intentioned calls for federal leadership and shiny plans for national programs can ultimately prove treacherous. (Education Next: Journal of Opinion And Research)
The over-riding value of Neal McCluskey's work is that it shows that most federal educational programs are overwhelmingly useless, if not counter-productive. (Myron Lieberman, chairman, Education Policy Institute)
Neal McCluskey's Feds in the Classroom is an essential read for policy-makers at any level of government. McCluskey compiles an accurate report card for our nation making it clear that only serious change will save the American public education system from flunking outright. Feds in the Classroom provides an historical, constitutional, and judicial scrutiny of federal education policy that I recommend to anyone who wants to know why America is not the global leader in public education, despite our extraordinary resources and limitless supply of American ingenuity. McCluskey's book has quickly become an essential resource for myself and my staff, and I encourage anyone interested in education policy to arm themselves with the facts provided within it. (Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ))
About the Author
Neal P. McCluskey is a policy analyst with Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom. Prior to arriving at Cato, McCluskey served in the United States Army, taught high school English, and was a freelance reporter covering municipal government and education in suburban New Jersey. More recently, he was a policy analyst at the Center for Education Reform.
Top customer reviews
From a political standpoint, our national leaders find it expedient to support federal funding for education as a means of evincing concern for children, etc. The National Education Association (teachers' union) is pleased so long as the strings on the funding are not unduly onerous, and the general public is not paying attention to the details.
When the NCLB bill (a 600-page document) was signed into law, reports McCluskey, the president who had backed it to the hilt made a telling comment. "I haven't read it yet. You'll be happy to hear I don't intend to."
Maybe he should have read the bill. While fewer schools may be falling below standards now, the states set the standards and in many cases have relaxed them to avoid unfavorable results. Far from ending the "bigotry of low expectations," NCLB may be contributing to a dumbing down of U.S. education. Also, there have been endless complaints that NCLB is an "unfunded mandate" and more federal money is needed.
The book goes on to say the federal government lacks power to spend money for support of education (except for Washington, D.C. and Army schools) under the Constitution, wherefore the U.S. Supreme Court went astray in 1937 (in the face of FDR's court packing threat) and should reverse course. News flash, this is not going to happen, nor do I think it should. The Constitution authorizes Congress to "provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States," which arguably includes education, and it is traditional (and wise) to show deference for prior decisions.
McCluskey also suggests getting the "Feds" out of the classroom by political means. This seems like a good idea, and if a school voucher system would help in building support then full speed ahead. It might be more feasible, however, to simply cut off federal funding and restore the primacy of states and school districts.
Assessment: the analysis is philosophically sound, but the strategy for change falls short.