"All teaching is at the classroom level, so the school districts should get all the money and be held accountable for effective teaching," said one Democratic Congressional Insider. A GOP Congressional Insider added: "Directives from the federal government only serve to hinder our local officials' ability to adapt to the needs of our children in the classroom--stifling innovation and preventing widespread progress in our education system."
The lawmakers will have an opportunity to work together on this goal this year with the expected revisions to the No Child Left Behind law which was passed with bi-partisan support in 2002, but has since come up under criticism from Members in both parties. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called the NCLB "too punitive [and] too prescriptive."
Not surprisingly, Democrats and Republicans were most sharply divided on whether the states or the Feds should have primacy in setting health care policy. "As we have national standards for air and water--we need national standards in health: national choices," said one Democratic Congressional Insider.
Several Democrats wanted to have a collaborative relationship between states and the federal government in guiding public policy. "This should be a partnership between the two, in which the federal government sets minimum standards and the states have the flexibility to implement and improve," said one Democrat.
But with the exception of energy policy, Republicans were not eager to maintain federal power in any of these areas. And one GOP Congressional Insider predicted the "10th Amendment will become a rallying cry during this year's budget debates. Lots of programs will be block granted to the states, along with flexibility--huge structural [are] changes coming."
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