As I’ve previously recommended Matt Miller’s Atlantic article “First, Kill All the School Boards” I feel I should also note the longer version of his argument, “Nationalize the Schools (…A Little)!” for the Center for American Progress. It’s mostly the same stuff, but at greater length and in the dry, wonky form we expect from a think tank-sponsored PDF.
That said, he’s correct. In a large and diverse country, there’s a case for some level of local control. But fundamentally most of what a kid in New Mexico needs to know is the same as what a kid in North Dakota or Vermont or Virginia needs to know, and intense localization creates tons and tons of problems for no real reason other than blind tradition.