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Over the years, significant mandates have been put forth in relation to employment, persons with disabilities, water and air pollution, and equal opportunities in education.
The debate on mandates have been long-standing historically primarily due to the implied fiscal responsibilities impinged on local districts. Redistribution of state funds becomes necessary to allocate budget for federal mandates. There are other non-fiscal consequences of mandates as well. With federal mandates, a generic solution is provided for highly sensitive issues underplaying the diversity factor in each state or locality. “The initiative of state and local governments to pioneer innovative approaches is undermined as a result” (Posner, 1998, p. 6). However, despite these continuing issues, mandates have proven resilient since inception, and policy makers [i.e. Congress] remain positive on their position in creating federal mandates.
The first major wave of federal mandates happened between 1960’s and 1970’s which included essential issues such as environment, civil rights, and education (Posner, 1998). Specifically, in the mid-1960’s, the state government increased its authority and intervention in education. As pointed out by Fusarelli (2009), “a crucial reason for a fundamental shift in the state education role is the widespread loss of confidence in local educators and their communities” (p. ix). In 1983, the loss of confidence in local education revolved around children with special needs. In recent times, the No Child Left Behind Policy (NCLB) became the driving force behind an increase in the state-mandated laws in education.
Perhaps one of the more formidable issues emphasized by individuals advocating against state-mandated laws, especially in education, is funding. Most, if not all, mandates come with price tags that become additional budgetary burdens for local districts. Sink (2010) borrows the
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