Top 4 Group Influences in Public Education Part IV: Federal Government & Federal Courts

There are many external influences that impact public education. In this series the top four groups will be reviewed including the influence of professional education organizations, the involvement of parents, the businesses, and the federal government and court systems. For this part the influence of the federal government and federal courts will be discussed to reveal their impact on public education.

Even though the federal government has no direct control over education, federal authority does have a far-reaching influence over educational matters. Laws passed at the federal level impact schools and their administration. Also, federal courts make rulings that necessitate change in education on multiple levels, while the U.S. Department of Education leaves an indelible mark on the educational system.

The federal government’s interest in education shifts depending on the politics of the political party in power. Traditionally, Republican administrations seek to withdraw federal influence from education, leaving education as a matter for individual states to address. Democrats, on the other hand, generally tend to be more interested in improving the state of education across the country.

Many court decisions have shaped education nationwide, affecting the responsibilities and accountability of school officers in areas as diverse as desegregation, school finance, prayer in the schools, and the rights of individual students. Some oppose the federal court’s involvement in what they consider to be a state matter, whereas others feel that the involvement in education at the federal level ensures that education is brought into alignment with the principles of democracy, guaranteeing that education is truly accessible to everyone.

The influence of the federal government and federal courts are beneficial to understand when reviewing external groups that impact public education. Make sure you are aware of the changes in these groups because they can impact your school district. Remember this is only one type of influence, therefore continue to read about the top four influences on public education.

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