Regulations Threaten to Limit Best Schooling Options for Children

The Daily Signal | 11/9/2018 | Staff
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Lindsey M. Burke researches and writes on federal and state education issues as the Will Skillman fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research.

What is the measure of a good school? And who is best positioned to decide what works?

Decades - Policymakers - Education - Officials - School

For decades, policymakers, and education officials have attempted to bolster school “accountability” by increasing regulations on schools across the board—public, charter, and private. They have tried to do so at the federal level for half a century, with federal intervention in K-12 education hitting a high-water mark under the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind policy and the Obama administration’s attempts to pressure states into adopting Common Core..

Yet ever-increasing government intervention in schooling has had little positive impact on education outcomes writ large. Math and reading achievement outcomes have been largely stagnant since the 1970s for high school seniors, while graduation rates have seen only modest improvements (and even those figures may be artificially inflated).

One-third - School - Graduates - Courses - College

About one-third of high school graduates have to take remedial courses in college, one-third of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, and 20 percent of high school graduates who want to join the Army cannot do so because they cannot pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test.

It’s no surprise, then, that families have been looking for alternatives to geographically-assigned district schools. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have begun to offer alternatives, enacting private school choice options such as vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and education savings accounts.

Education - Choice - Landscape - Government - Officials

Although the education choice landscape is growing, government officials who take a heavy-handed approach to regulation threaten its long-term success. Instead of freeing traditional public schools from bureaucratic red tape that has tied the hands of educators and stifled innovation, some policymakers want to expand that top-down regulatory approach to the growing private school choice sector.

Take, for...
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