States should have more power in educational policy, said expert

Aug 7, 2023, 12:30 PM

States should have more power in educational policy, according to Christine Fairbanks, the educatio...

Henry Christiansen, a senior at Skyline High School, reads a book at the library at Skyline High School in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

(Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — States should have more power in educational policy, according to Christine Fairbanks, the education fellow for the Sutherland Institute

Fairbanks said the states should have more power in making educational policies than Congress. 

“States have a better track record of creating bolder reforms,” said Fairbanks.

Fairbanks said states are more capable of responding to different crises or needs their residents have. Educational policies created by states have the potential to better fit their students. 

When the states had more power over creating educational policies, many of them were already doing fairly well, according to Fairbanks. Now that Congress has more power, states often just “check boxes” to get funding. 

Before common core standards were adopted, states were already designing their own education standards. Massachusetts’ standards were “looked to as a template,” for the common core. 

States were incentivized to adopt common core standards with funding, and when Massachusetts adopted them, they decreased, Fairbanks said. 

Fairbanks said a solution to the issue is to end the “conditional relationship” between states and the federal government when it comes to education. Currently, if states do certain things, they receive funding. 

States should be given funding and allowed to use it as they see fit, said Fairbanks. 

“There need to be less performative politics and more understanding what policies are,” said Fairbanks. When people just align with their parties instead of considering what would best serve the public, it creates polarization. 

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States should have more power in educational policy, said expert