Failing Title I...
By William Westmiller
The keystone of federal education programs was signed by President
Johnson as part of the War on Poverty over thirty years ago... over
118 billion dollars ago. Trumpeted as the salvation of disadvantaged
students across the nation, the program continues to gobble up over
seven billion dollars a year, allocated to nearly half of the nation's
public schools. After multiple in-house and independent studies over
the past two years, the conclusion was undeniable. Not only had the
program failed to improve the academic performance of poor and minority
students, it had actually reduced their achievement levels across the
board. The University of Michigan expert assigned to review the studies,
Maris Vinovskis, observed that "The real losers in this are not
just the taxpayers, but the kids... the program has been a failure."
The loss of 118 billion dollars is a gaping wound to the fortunes,
hopes, and power of millions of people across this nation. But, if that
is the price of a simple lesson, it could be worth the expense. The
lesson we must all learn is that government is incapable of motivating
individuals to new heights of achievement. Its first act is to designate,
to define the objects of its largess. That simple act, before all else,
designates the selected individuals as inadequate, deficient, incapable
of self-improvement. As the official review stated it, the program "reinforced
low expectations for students." What the review didn't state is
that the program itself is motivated to foster and maintain victims
that need, even require, its singular and persistent aid and devotion.
It is in the nature of bureaucratic survival to fail, to perpetuate
as long as possible the problem, the motive for a continuation of the
program's existence. Success, in this context, is death. Failure is
Education Title I will be renewed by Congress later this year. The appropriation may even be increased. Officials will be shuffled up and down the ladder of delegation. The focus of expenditures will be realigned. The objectives will be revised. The new, improved, expanded program will still fail. The only difference will be that the exercise will be seen by more and more intelligent voters as a charade. Just that tiny change in the perception of government action could be the trembler that presages a truly historic electoral earthquake.
William Westmiller is the California Coordinator of the Republican Liberty Caucus, the past candidate for the Republican Nomination for (CA24) Congress and Former National Secretary, California Chairman, Libertarian Party. Previous columns on-line.
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