How to increase funding to nation’s schools |

How to increase funding to nation’s schools

Nevada Appeal editorial board

Nevada would be taking a big risk by repudiating the federal No Child Left Behind Act and turning down federal education dollars. That’s the implication, at least, from the U.S. Department of Education.

But how big a risk? Federal funding tied to the act amounts to $112 million, or about 6 percent of the state’s school budget, according to Assembly Democrats who are advocating cutting the federal red tape as well as the purse strings. We don’t have a precise number, but the evidence so far seems to suggest Nevada is spending more than that to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind.

From the beginning, we’ve questioned the heavy-handed role from Washington, D.C., represented by No Child Left Behind, as well as its basic tenet that all children are created equal when it comes to their ability to progress in academics.

We firmly believe decisions for local schools are best made by local school boards. At the next level, the state of Nevada had only recently begun extensive reforms when President Bush and Congress came along to add a federal layer of bureaucracy to the mix.

The folks at the U.S. Education Department might be well served to remember there’s no such thing as “federal dollars.” It all comes from us, the taxpayers.

With as many as 20 other states considering pulling out of No Child Left Behind, it would behoove some enterprising representative on Capitol Hill to introduce legislation providing a lump-sum refund to states which do not participate.

How long do you think No Child Left Behind would last if the feds couldn’t use blackmail to enforce it?

The real risk to Nevadans is abdication of control of its school system to the federal government. Get rid of the U.S. Education Department and there would be plenty of “federal dollars” to help students succeed.