Do we want the feds to run our schools?

Without discussion or debate, the U.S. education system is being nationalized, writes Marc Tucker, who heads the National Center on Education and the Economy, in the Los Angeles Times.

Historically, the federal government’s role was to aid, assist, prod and push schools, districts and states. But the key word was always “aid.” . . . The feds avoided interfering in any important way with the design of a state’s education system unless issues of civil rights were involved, and in those cases, it was generally the courts rather than the executive or legislative branches that sparked the intervention.

“The federal role in education has undergone a massive transformation” since the George H.W. Bush administration, Tucker writes. President Obama’s Education Department — acting independently of Congress and the states — is setting education policy for the nation.

(Policies) include national standards aligned with national tests, a push for evaluating (and rewarding or punishing) teachers based on their students’ test scores, and a strong emphasis on marketplace pressures, including charter schools, to ensure the survival of successful schools — and the failure of weak ones.

. . . Do we really want the executive branch of the federal government to decide, pretty much by itself, what the aims of American education should be and how they should be achieved?

It’s time to talk about the proper federal role in education policy, “before we wake up one day to find that the executive branch, or even the entire federal government, has become our national school board,” Tucker concludes.


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  1. Congress has a right to dictate or amend policy regarding K-12 and University education in D.C. and the 5 territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands) but even there D.C. and territorial school boards and boards of governors yield day-to-day control. However, the 50 States themselves should have full control of their own K-12 / vocational school / University systems… But they’re losing that control because the U.S. Dept. of Education controls all the loan money!

  2. Stacy in NJ says:

    The Feds do such a fantastic job with their other responsibilities – what could go wrong?

    • Yeah, so true. For example, let’s see what people think of the Affordable Care Act in 10 years when there’s a massive wave of premature deaths of Baby Boomers…

  3. I was in high school when Jimmy “Numbnuts” Carter formed (quite illegally mind you) the U.S. Department of Education (since the word EDUCATION isn’t even in the U.S. Constitution, by definition of the 10th amendment, that authority belongs to the states, or to the people).

    Since then, it’s been a resounding failure, since Ronald Reagan made it a campaign promise to eliminate the U.S. Dept of Education (and never did), the USSC Plyler decision (which determined that anyone aged 6-18 had a RIGHT to public education, regardless of their immigration status, and which Sandra Day O’Connor stated that the Supreme Court should not be the catch all to fix every issue which comes before it).

    I’d say the feds have done less than a stellar job in this arena, and to top it all off, Arne Duncan, the current Secretary of Education now has stated that students with disabilities must be allowed an equal opportunity to play sports at the varsity level in high school.

    Meanwhile, we can’t graduate 20-40 percent of high school age students within 4 years, and 50% of recent college graduates are under-employed or unemployed.

    Sounds like a winning plan to me (sigh)

  4. “It’s time to talk about the proper federal role in education policy, ‘before we wake up one day to find that the executive branch, or even the entire federal government, has become our national school board.'”

    Too late. The New Majority wants federal control of education. The New Majority wants the federal government to take charge of their lives. We are importing immigrants in massive numbers who share no part in the national consciousness, and the left has already deconstructed the Old America in the minds of most Americans anyway. They elected Obama, didn’t they? Government control is the wave of the future, but it doesn’t really matter since we’ve been ruled by the media, the courts and the university for a long time now. Democracy in this country is an illusion, kept alive by a totalitarian left that tolerates no dissension.

    “What you can’t avoid, welcome.” -Chines proverb