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What is a Local Education Agency?

Mary McMahon
Updated: May 16, 2024

A local education agency is a government agency which supervises the provision of instruction or educational services to members of the community. People may also use the term “school district” to refer to a local education agency. Classically, these agencies include several schools, including grammar, middle, and high schools, along with education support programs such as independent study programs. In remote areas, there may only be one school under the purview of the education agency.

These government agencies are responsible for ensuring that members of the public have access to the free education which is guaranteed by the government, and that the standards of education are high. Local education agencies typically must demonstrate that their schools meet government educational standards, and that they have services and plans for all children who live within the boundaries of the district, ranging from special education services for children with developmental disabilities to busing services which provide transportation so that children can get to school.

Administrators at a local education agency deal with the considerable administrative paperwork which is involved in running a school district, from handling questions from accreditation organizations which plan to visit the schools in the district to dealing with parent complaints. The agency formulates a budget, determining where available funds should be allotted, creates policies which are designed to address various issues in the school district, supervises hiring searches for new teachers, and responds to changing government regulations to ensure that the schools stay current.

Some employees of the local education agency are teachers who have trained as administrators, while others are simply administrators who are interested in working in education. Degrees in education administration are available from some colleges and universities, and such degrees are usually required for people working in supervisory positions. Employment by the government provides the employees with access to a number of government benefits, including access to government pension funds.

Private schools are excluded from local education agencies, because each private school is run as its own administrative entity, or as part of a larger group of private schools. Private schools must still meet educational standards and pass accreditation inspections, but they don't share services with local education agencies, except by special arrangement. For example, a private school may agree to donate use of its pool to a swim team which does not have access to a pool, or private school students may be allowed on the school district's buses.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By JoseJames — On Oct 14, 2010

With so many advantages and disadvantages to running an education system from a local level or a federal level it is obvious to me that what we need is a balance between the two.

The obvious advantages of gathering knowledge on a larger scale and then dispersing it is there however it is truly the local agency that is capable of hiring teachers and actually setting up the schools so students can learn this information that comes from a higher source.

Perhaps what we need is the actual local governance of education systems to be enforced locally and executed locally but we need the curriculum and instruction values and overall administration coming from a higher state and federal level.

By NightChef — On Oct 14, 2010

Another disadvantage that one must consider when thinking about what a local education agency is capable of in the limited resources that are available to a local agency as opposed to a large organization such as a state Department of Education or the federal Department of Education.

While a local educational agency might have the best interest of the students in mind they simply cannot keep up with the need of those students in this growing larger and larger electronic world that we live.

Access to proper types of technology, the curriculum to teach that technology and the skilled professionals that are actually needed in the classroom to educate our children all must come from an area that we have access to.

If we combine the resources at a larger level we can then share the best knowledge that is available to the education market to all the local agencies that are actually in the process of applying it towards the education of our students.

By thumbtack — On Oct 14, 2010

@CoffeeJim, while sometimes local control is a preferred method of governance there are some downsides that can significantly reduce the quality of education that your children are receiving because all of the decisions are made on a local level.

Most of the school board members while they may have some education background are not able to be able to inform or make the right decisions based on their personal experience. There is a reason that we have experts in the field of education and you have to take into consideration the knowledge they have to offer.

By CoffeeJim — On Oct 14, 2010

The way that school districts are formed in modern-day America and United States government institutions is a prime example of what a local governments could be considered.

This form of local control allows for parents and students to be able to get the best form of education available because it is specialized and localized their local area and needs.

When a specific issue arises instead of having to go through the bureaucracy of the state or federal government, changes can be made to the system simply by appealing to the local school district board. As a form of control these board members are elected to their position and by no means hold it for any lengthy period of time.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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