Education federalism in the United States promotes state and local authority over education and a limited federal role. This approach to education federalism often serves as an influential yet underappreciated influence on education law and policy. This chapter explores how education federalism in the United States has evolved over time, its strengths and drawbacks, as well as how it has hindered efforts to advance equal educational opportunity. It argues that to achieve the nation’s education aims, education federalism must be restructured to embrace a more efficacious and efficient allocation of authority of education that embraces the policymaking strengths of each level of government while ensuring that all levels of government aim to achieve equitable access to an excellent education. The chapter proposes how to restructure education federalism to support a partnership between federal, state, and local governments to achieve equitable access to an excellent education. It also explains how this new approach to education federal could guide the United States toward a more impactful reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Kimberly J. Robinson, Education Federalism: Why It Matters and How the United States Should Restructure It, in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Education Law, Oxford University Press, 115–134 (2021).