America is clearly not getting very good educational results, especially considering that we are among the world's top per-capita education spenders.
Our problem is quality, not quantity. Like many of our other very expensive and clearly ineffective programs, this is largely the result of a totally backwards way of approaching education, both legislatively and as a society.
Current federal legislation on education largely attempts to guarantee outcomes by mandating them in legislation and seeking to control and monitor nearly every action of every individual involved in the educational process by a sea of paperwork and an inane system of testing benchmarks and some nebulous notion of 'accountability.' Measures like these never work, and only serve to shackle and stifle educators and bore students. Any good educational system needs to allow a substantial amount of individual freedom to educators to control and run a classroom and for administrators to manage according to their own dictates. Making education local should entail trusting that problems and local issues can be adequately addressed by school boards and the parent-teacher relationship.
Educational curricula also need to be made far and away more rigorous than they currently are - the average American student learns in gross terms far less than peers in other rich nations. Educational systems need to start providing a far more challenging environment that teaches children how to think, figure out what they love to learn, and to struggle to overcome obstacles and difficulties in their educations. This means trusting teachers and administrators to do the right thing when it comes to education, rather than seeking to monitor their every move.
Education also needs to revalue the trades and a vocational education, rather than the mostly empty talk we get concerning that now. We have ample examples from other countries (Germany for example) of how to implement a system that provides children fantastic opportunities for education and apprenticeships in the trades, and does not look down upon them for doing so.
Overall, I support the end of legislation along the lines of the Every Child Succeeds Act, and would seek to replace it with legislation that does not mandate results, but trusts in educators to provide them. Primary and secondary education curricula must be made substantially more rigorous so that children not only learn more, but learn how to learn and overcome challenges early in life.