For the past 50 years, the engine of federal control over local schools has been Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. It was the first in a series of socialist laws that President Lyndon Johnson promised would lead to a "Great Society" after we won his declared "war on poverty."
Johnson's Great Society legislation was speedily enacted by a Congress in which Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than two to one (295-140 in the House and 68-32 in the Senate).
Despite the trillions of dollars spent since 1965, we're no closer to achieving a Great Society; by many measures, America's education and social welfare are much worse today than when those programs were launched 50 years ago.
Republicans had an opportunity to dismantle the failed regime of federal control when they regained control of both Houses of Congress in 1994 and then elected a president in 2000. Unfortunately, George W. Bush campaigned on the slogan "Leave No Child Behind" as his signature domestic agenda item, and John Boehner, then chairman of the House Education Committee, produced a bill that rebranded the old ESEA under the new title "No Child Left Behind."