Evolution of Federalism

Now that you have learned how federal and state powers are distributed and shared; and, how federalism continues to evolve over time, you are ready to think about whether the federal government has overextended its powers and is involved in areas beyond its jurisdiction as defined by the U. S. Constitution.

Your brother who is in the fifth grade is getting ready to take the state test in math and reading. He says that his school has to do well on this test or their school will get a bad reputation and be labeled as a failing school by the national government. You have even read in the paper that some schools across the country are in danger of losing federal funds because of low test scores.

As a high school student your government class has talked extensively about the distribution of power between the federal government and the states and you are sure you heard that education is primarily a state responsibility. In fact, you checked the Constitution and found out that the responsibility for education is not even specifically mentioned in the Constitution. You are now wondering why your brother is taking a test required by the national government and having such consequences for your school if the students do poorly on it.

You have decided to send an email to the Secretary of Education in Washington, D.C. asking for more information. Before you write your email, you decide to meet with your teacher to clarify the questions you want the Secretary to answer.

Your questions need to relate to:

Now compose your email, starting each paragraph with one of your questions and providing background information from your class discussion which: