AP Gov. Blog # 4.

Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 10/11/2021

Chapter 3 looks at the complicated aspect of federalism in our republic.  This principle sets our nation apart from most others. The states created the national republic, but it might be argued that most of the Framers would be appalled at how few true powers the states have retained.  The 10th Amendment was intended to protect the states by reserving to them any power not delegated to the federal government or specifically denied to them. That was 1791! The line between federal and state authority has continued to be erased by the 14th Amendment, federal money and the Commerce Clause's interpretation.  Education, marriage, and elections have all traditionally been viewed as "reserved powers" of the states. This rationale follows the language of the Tenth Amendment...there are no provisions giving the federal government dominion over any of these; nor are the powers denied to the states; so these powers belong to the states, right?  But issues become the federal government's business when, as in the gay marriage debate and the right to vote, they seemingly violate the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. But the issue of education reform is a bit murkier. Education becomes the federal government's business when it is their money being used by the states. We have seen a litany of federal education reform laws that have been vilified by nearly everyone. From No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top and Every Student Succeeds Act. All of this leads us to question the extent of the federal government’s involvement in public education.  With that being said, I would like you to read the article below and respond to the following questions:

  1.  Do you support a 10th or a 14th Amendment view? In other words, who should make decisions about education: local boards, the states or the federal government? Give me some insight about the reasoning of your view
  2. As a student with over 12 years experience in public education, what do you perceive are the biggest problems and how would you solve them?


“Federal policy makers made serious mistakes during the NCLB years — they chose a flawed approach to raising student achievement, did too little to help states pay for the changes they mandated, and trampled on the authority of state and district leaders to make their own decisions about school reform. But these errors are a good reason to rethink the federal strategy, not diminish the government’s ability to contribute to school improvement. There is both strong precedent and an urgent need for the federal government to continue to play an active role in K-12 education. Certainly, it should try to stay out of decisions that are best left to governors, state legislators, school boards, superintendents, and teachers, but when local leaders are unable or unwilling to provide for all children’s needs, federal policy makers have an obligation to become involved.”


  1. Summarize what you believe should be the federal government's role in public education.  Be specific.  For example, do you think it should be limited to providing funds that states can use at their discretion?  Or, should they be able to mandate how federal funds are used?  


The Federal Government’s role in K-12 Education