Date of this Version
Published in: School Violence Intervention: A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK, Edited by ARNOLD P. GOLDSTEIN & JANE CLOSE CONOLEY. New York & London, 1997.
The authority for public education in the United States does not stem from the Constitution, but rather is a "reserved" power remaining with the states. It originates from the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states those powers neither expressly given the national government nor denied to the state governments. However, most states have not exercised their authority for public education directly until recent decades. Education is a state function that is largely locally administered (AIkin, Linden, Noel, & Ray, 1992). Each state exercises it education function completely or in part through a state department of education that has varying degrees of responsibility. The state educational authority gains its powers and responsibilities specifically from the state's constitution and statutes (Deighton, 1971).
Violence prevention activities vary from state to state. Since the study described in this chapter was conducted at the beginning of the first school year (1995-1996) in which federal funds were available for violence prevention efforts under the new regulations of P.L. 103-382, respondents typically first identified issues reflecting the funding of programs (i.e., allocation formula, eligibility, criteria for selection). The individuals interviewed identified areas in which they were receiving questions from school districts; state department staffs needed expertise about funding, program options, and promising practices. State departments also provide a conduit or connection to information not easily available at the local district level. Often this information is shared with districts via conferences/workshops, curriculum materials, on-site visits, phone assistance, and networks of expertise. Local districts develop or adopt programs to serve students. These programs arc, or can be, tailored to meet the unique needs of students in each school building. Assistance in learning about violence prevention programs and resources is sought through a variety of sources, depending on the structure of the state department. From our survey, it is apparent that state departments are an important source for connecting local school district staff with resources.