This from Matt Miller in the N Y Times:
Local control of schooling — which means local financing of schools — is an injustice, masked as a virtue, so deeply ingrained in the American mind that no politician in either party dare challenge it. But America’s obsession with local finance, which made perfect sense in the 19th century, is now sinking us morally and economically. To fix it, Barack Obama needs to steal an idea from Richard Nixon.
Drive around Chicago, Detroit or most other big cities and you’ll see dilapidated schools staffed largely by rookie teachers. The districts spend, say, $10,000 a child. Twenty minutes up the road you’ll find suburban schools that sport Olympic-quality pools, Broadway-style (or maybe Off Broadway) theaters and the best teachers in the state. Those schools spend more like $17,000 per pupil.
This is what local control hath wrought, with financing schemes under which less than 10 percent of the money spent on primary and secondary education comes from the federal government.
The grim equation by which accident of birth determines educational quality in the United States is straightforward. The poorer the district and the state, the lower the local tax base, with less money for students. No other advanced nation tolerates such inequities...