Most barriers to innovation in education occur at the state and local level, Tom Vander Ark writes today at edReformer, but there are a few at the federal level. They include:
1. NCLB picked criterion-referenced testing over growth models; that probably set back competency-based learning a bit. Growth models are being approved state by state.
2. The feds retain the historical bias/restrictions against private enterprise; e.g., excluding private enterprise from stimulus funding (compared to massive private investment in energy).
3. Input-oriented programmatic funding (exacerbated at the state level)
4. Inadequate Investigator driven research funding rather than DARPA-like strategic funding
Also, RiShawn Biddle has some good historical context on the role federal funding has played in education.