By Marchell Norris
Over the past 20 years Colleges and Universities in the United States have received an unprecedented amount of Federal Government funding to make “higher education” more affordable as well as make it more accessible to more students.
In fact according to the U.S. Department of Education website, in 2009 “the U.S. Department of Education provided more than $115 billion in federal student aid to over 13 million students and families attending more than 6,000 colleges, universities and career schools.”
However, the U.S. Department of Education is now working with the Higher Education community to ensure our tax dollars are producing students who can seek gainful employment in recognized occupations.
According to the Department of Education website:
“The U.S. Department of Education has been working with the higher education community to strengthen a number of federal rules on the use of federal financial aid under the Higher Education Act. One of these rules states that vocational or career programs must “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation” to be eligible for federal grants and loans.”
This change would lead many to believe that the current administration has come to appreciate the values of the Free Market System and benefits of Pay For Performance. However this position is in direct contradiction to what we are witnessing at the grade school and high school levels. These schools are failing students at an unprecedented rate.
By failing I do not mean, issuing F’s when deserved. Today millions of children throughout America are trapped, by zip code, in schools that are not meeting their unique educational needs. Many of these schools are no closer to meeting the requirements of No Child Left Behind then they were at the program’s inception, and while high school graduation rates decrease the federal government pours more money into these schools, through both Race to the Top and the Blueprint for Reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Supporters of quality education for children have asked for programs that hold schools, parent and teachers accountable for delivering educational programs that are quantifiable and show that children are being educated not just moved through a maze of bureaucracy while teacher and administrator salaries soar with federal dollars being infused every year at a rate, when burdened to account for total increase is greater than the CPI. 
However while changes are being implemented to hold private educational systems accountable to produce or no longer be eligible for federal funding, pubic sector education is allowed a pass. This stark contrast leaves many to wonder, if the issue focus is to improve education or to take one more step to rein in the free market.