NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

State Controlled Education: Still A Good Idea

February 24, 2015

If the new Republican-led Congress wants to help repair the broken American education system, they should take a good look at some of the proposals made by the last Congress.  The Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act and the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) Act each aim to return control over education to state and local governments.

State-controlled education could give students the opportunity to customize their higher education experience. Several ways this can be accomplished include:

  • States could allow businesses, nonprofit and universities the ability to accredit and credential courses, thus giving students an alternative way of receiving college credits.
  • State lawmakers could encourage public schools to offer competency-based degrees whereby students would earn credits and degrees based on proficiency rather than for enrolling and completing a predetermined number of courses. 
  • Limiting federal loan programs could ease the burden of student debt.

Advancing reforms through the HERO Act and A-PLUS Act will provide freedom to those closest to K-12 and higher education. While the HERO Act separates federal higher education financing from the accreditation process, which gives states the freedom to establish a new system, the A-PLUS Act reclaims state authority in determining K-12 education priorities.

Source: Lindsey Burke, "What Congress and States Can Do to Reform Education Policy," Heritage Foundation, February 18, 2015. 


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