Interesting article. My belief is that education is not the role of federal government. However, I do not believe all the ills, or even the worst of them, are attributable to federal government involvement. There is much more going on here.
School performance is largely traceable to the mix of students served. In poor neighborhoods, schools are less effective than in wealthy ones. It is hard to blame teachers or governments for this. It is a cultural and wealth issue.
In Houston, we see the distinctions in performance quite easily. Inner city schools suck, and schools in rising suburbs are better. Or, I should say, student performance varies this way.
For years, the talk has been, "What can government do?" and "Where do we need to spend more money?" These questions ignore reality.
If we want to see student performance at particular schools improve, there are two paths: (1) close all old apartment complexes and below-average housing and effectively move out the lower-performing students, so that the school is left with a higher mix of students who come from families that tend to emphasize education more, or (2) do something to change the culture of people who think education is less important to getting by in life.
In either case, reality predominates, and neither will happen. So, the big issue will be what to do with our future ditch diggers of America. Perhaps we need to look at policies that make ditch digging not quite as bad, such as reducing illegal immigration, so that American ditch diggers can merit a wage that provides a decent living.