Congress is destroying America's schools
By Alan Caruba
If you want to witness the most blatantly un-Constitutional and un-American laws at work than just take a walk through your local schools. They are currently under the control of the federal government.
Why any town or city bothers to hold an election for members of the local board of education is a mystery to me. Between the U.S. Department of Education and a union, the National Education Association—masquerading as just a group of concerned teachers—local boards have no real power to reverse the subjugation and destruction of the nation's education system.
Since the Constitution does not even mention education, it is a continuing mystery why the federal government has a department devoted to it. Well, it's less of a mystery if you consider that its purpose is to indoctrinate the children passing through it to accept a whole range of values and ideas that lots of Americans think are wrong.
From the Head Start program to the International Baccalaureate, the whole purpose of "education" today is to create new generations of Americans who think that the United Nations should govern the entire planet and who uncritically accept politically correct beliefs about gender issues, diversity, multiculturalism, and environmentalism. To insure this occurs, Congress and some States are ready to sign off on programs that would evaluate the mental stability of every child from pre-school on through graduation. That's Big Brother!
Is Johnny or Daphne not "thinking correctly" about these issues? Do they have dangerous ideas of democracy, sovereignty, privacy, or—horrors—a religious belief that they picked up at home? That is what "education" means today in America. It's the reason some school districts still try to ban the singing of Christmas carols every December. It's the reason that "hate speech" codes are instituted to insure that only the most leftist, approved things are thought and spoken. Under the Constitution, even so-called hate speech is protected.
There is a reason why public confidence in the presidency and Congress is at an all-time low. It is the reason why thousands of Americans were forced to call, write, fax and email their elected representatives to insure the so-called immigration "reform" bill was defeated and I suggest they must do the same to put an end to the noxious "No Child Left Behind" legislation.
Congress is discussing the reauthorization of NCLB. As Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) points out, "It centralized accountability in Washington with the bureaucrats and appointees at the U.S. Department of Education, completely bypassing the legislatures in fifty state capitals, countless township school boards and local officials, and—most importantly—administrators, educators, and parents all across the nation."
Rep. Garrett's bill, the LEARN Act (Local Education Authority Returns Now) would empower local and state governments to create and enforce public education. What a notion! What an astonishing idea! Oh, wait a minute. Up to NCLB, that's where the power over education was always practiced or assumed to be. Common sense tells you that education must be the province of those closest to those intended to benefit most, the children in local schools.
What NCLB does is create a national standard that seeks the lowest common denominator for states to qualify for federal education funding. Perhaps that's why, in some form or other, says Garrett, "all fifty states have taken some form of action, whether it is legislative or legal, against No Child Left Behind."
Why then is Congress considering extending it? Perhaps it has something to do with the arrogance of the members of Congress who, until assailed for their determination to force a hated immigration bill on Americans, still haven't concluded that our form of government takes its power from the will of the people and elected representatives are expected to act accordingly. They do not know better than us. There's a reason they are called "representatives."
No Child Left Behind is legislation conjured up by Sen. Teddy Kennedy and supported by President Bush. Since its enactment in 2001, the budget of the Department of Education ballooned to $23.5 billion. If NCLB is reauthorized, the budget in 2008 would grow to $24.4 billion, a 41% increase in just seven years!
Currently, the teaching of mathematics, history, geography, and other essential areas of learning are pathetically inadequate, deeply distorted, or totally ignored. The enthusiasm and creativity that new teachers bring to the classroom is crushed. The growth of all manner of administrative staff to cope with federal paperwork expands. And homework increases to make up for the inability to teach the fundamentals during the school day, thus shifting the burden to parents.
Little wonder that some parents elect to home school their children or, if they can afford it, send them to private schools that, despite operating on smaller budgets and lower salaries, still manage to provide a superior quality of education.
Remember, the federal government has no constitutional authority over education policy! That policy should be set, at the local level by the parents and grandparents of children in whom we have invested our hopes for the future of America.
It's time to man the barricades and to fire up the fax machines and email. Tell your Senator and your Representative to vote against No Child Left Behind before it does any further damage to a new generation of Americans.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the website of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. His book, "Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy", is published by Merril Press. © Alan Caruba, August 2007