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Policy-making in the Federal System Essay

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.

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 different resources required for this discussion.

By Day 7, respond to at least two of your classmates’ initial posts. Your peer responses each must be at least 75 words. They must demonstrate critical thinking (e.g., ask a relevant question about your peer’s post while explaining why your question is significant, or state a perspective that contrasts with your peer’s while explaining or justifying your position).

In the Federal government’s role in education, I think it can be seen in the “No Child Left Behind Act” that the Federal Government has set down certain educational guidelines for the states to follow. These guidelines have to provide the Federal government from the states with information such as student achievements, performance by school districts; test performed by students in grades 3 through 8, and ensures that teachers meet minimum qualifications for teaching, in order to get federal funding from the Federal government.

I think that in one way, it could be construed as within the federalism’s constitutional framework, in that the Federal government is making sure that in order for the states to receive federal help that they must be in compliance with certain guidelines to best give a proper education to the children of today. Yet according to K. Hettleman, the U.S. Government has not gone far enough, as seen in his article, Expand “No Child” through Federal Standards, Funding, that the Federal Government holds states accountable for the low performance of poor and minority students, but is undermined by political compromises, that allow state and local officials to continue to devise their own academic standards and tests.

I think there ought to be stricter regulations by the federal government of making the states do more for the students in education practices that would make all students equal in performance no matter of race, color or statue in order for that state to receive federal assistance. As seen by educational statistics, “Illiteracy in the U.S. Compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. is doing well. According to the latest International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), between 19% and 23% of American adults performed at the top levels for each of the three literacy scales: document literacy, prose literacy and quantitative (number) literacy.

Sweden is the only country that scored higher. Yet many Americans are being left behind. The same survey found that between 21% and 24% of U.S. adults performed at the lowest level for all three scales, a figure echoed by the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). I think that the State and Federal Government ought to work closer together to ensure a better education for all Americans.


Wong, K. K. (2008, December). Federalism revised: The promise and challenge of the No Child Left Behind Act, Retrieved from: Public Administration Review: Special Issue on The Winter Commission Report Revisited, S175-S185. Document ID, ProQuest Social Science Journals database in the Ashford Online Library Gabriel, T. (2011, October 9). G.O.P. anti-federalism aims at education [News analysis]. Retrieved from: New York Times (Late Edition (east coast)), A28. Document ID: 2480540871. Retrieved from ProQuest Newspapers database, in the Ashford Online Library Levin- Waldon, O.M. (2012). American Government. San Diego, Ca: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Http://www

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