Dan Lips offers a persuasive case for giving states more flexibility in regards to education spending:
With states now facing the prospect of cutting education spending, state leaders should take a close look at the current system of federal education funding and consider whether federal dollars could be put to better use.
Last year, conservatives in the Senate and House of Representatives offered plans to give states greater freedom in how federal funds for education could be used. Under those plans, states could choose to opt out of NCLB and receive federal education funding as a block grant. To get this freedom, states would be required to meet basic federal requirements–including using federal dollars to assist disadvantaged students and maintaining academic transparency through state-directed testing in core subjects and public reporting.
For states, the real benefit of this system would be to allow governors and state legislators to craft education policies that would best meet the current needs of students in the state. For example, some states might choose to redirect their share of the $1 billion allocated for after-school programs on classroom expenditures. Other states might find new ways to put to use their share of the $2.8 billion targeted for improving teaching. While reform strategies will differ, participating states will have one thing in common–more decisions will be made in state capitals instead of Washington.
Participating states would also have more funding available to use on education, since less dollars will be needed to manage federal regulatory compliance. Steering these extra dollars toward more effective uses could provide welcome relief as state and local education budgets face cuts.