states under the Tenth Amendment.187 This does not mean, however, that the federal government
has no role in the creation of curricula and in determining important education topics.188
Traditionally, federal involvement in education has come into play to ensure equal
education and to act as a facilitator of information about successes between districts.189 Congress
has propelled federal involvement in education by focusing on guaranteeing equality of access to
educational content.190 Congress encourages states to enact federal suggestions by offering
federal funds for the implementation of educational programs.191 One example of the federal
government using the offer of funding to ensure equality (in the context of nutrition) is the
National School Lunch Program.192 States must meet the requirements set by the National School
Lunch Act to qualify for federally funded school meals;193 if they fail to meet the requirements
they may lose future federal money and may have to pay back money already received.194 This
method has also been used to implement many of the policies in the No Child Left Behind Act.195
Many schools rely on these federal funds to meet the basic educational needs of their students,
particularly as state and local budgets around the nation have tightened.196
The Department of Education oversees the implementation of federal education programs
at the state and local level.197 The federal government provides roughly eleven percent of the cost
of educating America’s children through funding provided by the Department of Education
upon the teachers in its schools any conditions that it chooses, however restrictive they may be of constitutional
Id. (emphasis added).
187 Russell Dennis, The Role of the Federal Government in Public Education in the United States (2000),
188 Overview: The Federal Role in Education, supra note 185. Prior to the 1960s, the Federal government did not involve itself in
education issues heavily. Id. Since that point involvement via legislation has increased dramatically. Id.
191 Dennis, supra note 187.
192 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 1751-1769 (West 2013).
193 Id. § 1756.
(a) State revenue matching requirements; special provisions for lower than average income per capita States
( 1) Funds appropriated to carry out section 1753 of this title during any fiscal year shall be available for
payment to the States for disbursement by State educational agencies in accordance with such agreements, not
inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter, as may be entered into by the Secretary and such State
educational agencies for the purpose of assisting schools within the States in obtaining agricultural commodities
and other foods for consumption by children in furtherance of the school lunch program authorized under this
Id. § 1756(a)( 1).
194 42 U.S.C.A. § 1769c(b)( 4), (e).
195 20 U.S.C.A. §§ 6331-6339 (West 2013) (providing for the allocation of funds to states and local districts that comply with the
strictures of the NCLB Act); see also id. § 7243 (authorizing the Federal government to help schools meet challenging academic
The Secretary is authorized to support nationally significant programs to improve the quality of elementary and
secondary education at the State and local levels and help all children meet challenging State academic content
and student academic achievement standards. The Secretary may carry out such programs directly, or through
grants to, or contracts with--
( 1) States or local educational agencies;
( 2) institutions of higher education; and
( 3) other public and private agencies, organizations, and institutions.
Id. § 7243(a).
196 Claudio Sanchez, New School Year Brings Sequestration Pain for Many Districts, NPR (Sept. 7, 2013),
http://wap.npr.org/news/U.S./219870250?start= 10 (“Lancaster[, PA] is one of many districts starting the school year hit hard by the $3
billion cut from federal education funds education funds due to sequestration. Many school districts, particularly in poor areas where
schools rely more heavily on federal funding, are starting the year with bare-bones budgets and lots of uncertainty.”).
197 Overview: The Federal Role in Education, supra note 185.