Federal “Race to the Top” grant competition enhances federalization of local schools
By Seth Richardson
The U.S. Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” grant competition is another step in the not-so-stealthy program to take over public education and administer it at the federal level. Starting with Jimmy Carter, who birthed the bloated bureaucracy, big-government advocates have been relentlessly working towards full federal control of education, despite attempts to deconstruct the unconstitutional intrusion on state sovereignty and parent’s rights by Ronald Reagan and other liberty-minded fiscal conservatives over the years.
Crypto-Progressive George Bush the Younger, whose favorite political theorist was Progressive architect Woodrow Wilson and who never met a big-government bureaucracy he didn’t like, shoved the plan far down the slope with the No Child Left Behind Act, and Progressive/Liberal/Socialist (take your pick) President Barak Obama is continuing the slide towards full federal control of education.
As a part of the Obama administration’s inflationary American Reinvestment and Recovery Act fiat-money exercise in fiscal insanity, the DOE is dangling 4 billion dollars in front of state educators in an attempt to further enhance the framework of federal education control. The competitive grant program provides a long laundry list of requirements and criteria upon which a state application will be judged, and upon which awards, if any, will be based.
Among other attempts to commit states to centralized control, key to the effort is “standardization” of everything from teacher education to student testing and evaluation. One particularly troubling aspect is the criteria that encourages “a commitment to adopting a common set of high-quality standards, evidenced by … [a] State’s participation in a consortium of States that… [i]s working toward jointly developing and adopting a common set of K-12 standards… that are… internationally benchmarked… and [i]ncludes a significant number of States.”
Why we would want to benchmark our children’s education to international standards that consist mostly of Socialist propaganda is something we might want to discuss. Why we would want to jointly adopt common standards with other states is another question that leads inexorably to the conclusion that Obama’s One World Government may be preceded by his One Nation Government wherein state sovereignty ceases to exist.
But nobody can accuse Obama or his cohorts of being stupid. The forces of Progressivism, Liberalism, and Socialism have been working on this educational agenda for more than a hundred years now. Neo-Marxists and radical Liberals and Progressives, who infest the National Education Association and nearly every school district in the country understand that the route to collectivism and control lies in the minds of our children, and that control of their education by the State, by which I mean the Collectivist State, not the State of Colorado, is essential to indoctrinating and raising up generations of dependent-class Proletarians who are pliable and compliant with Socialist, Liberal and Progressive ideology.
And because states are loathe to give up any chance they have at recovering some of the wasted tax dollars they send to Washington, dangling money before educators is like tossing a bucket of swill into the feeding trough at a pig farm, and Colorado is no exception in the swinish rush to the federal trough. That’s unfortunate, because Colorado should take the lead in rejecting Congressional swill-pandering and standing firmly on the solid ground of state sovereignty.
There’s nothing wrong with improving education, but not every effort to improve education is worthy of consideration, particularly when the sub rosa agenda is a nefarious one that leads to the surrender of local control over our children’s education. Colorado must not participate in programs that enhance federalization of our education system and should flatly reject the offer to grunt and squeal at the federal trough. Instead, we must insist that the federal government respect the Constitution and Colorado’s sovereign right to educate her children as the People of Colorado see fit, not as the bureaucrats in Washington require.
Keep in mind that the purpose of the grant program is not only to bind states to educational “reform” through the “cooperative agreements” criteria, it’s to get states to do the scut-work of creating the framework that the Department of Education will eventually implement through regulation to imprison the states and their educational systems to federal servitude. By participating in this “race,” Colorado is facilitating the federal government in exceeding its constitutional limitations and authority, and is helping to forge the very fetters that will bind our children’s educational future to the visions of Progressivism, Liberalism, and Socialism that the Administration has in mind.
There’s a better idea though, one that’s been floated in Washington since Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education; eliminate it as a flatly unconstitutional intrusion upon state sovereignty. An added benefit of eliminating the department is that tax money we send to Washington to fund it can remain in Colorado and be used to actually serve the educational needs of our children without having the federal government skim some off the top, give most of it away to other, more compliant states, and then send a pittance back to us. It’s our money, and we should keep it right here in Colorado.
CATO Institute scholars Veronique de Rugy and Marie Gryphon wrote in their 2004 paper “Elimination Lost: What happened to abolishing the Department of Education?”:
“As recently as 1996, the Republican party sought to abolish the Department of Education as an inappropriate intrusion into state, local and family affairs. The GOP platform that year was clear: “The Federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the market place. This is why we will abolish the Department of Education.”
While the Republican congresses of the mid-1990s are most famous for their efforts to eliminate the department, their goal was not a new one. Conservatives had talked about eliminating the department since its creation by President Carter. President Reagan made a campaign pledge to eliminate it, and renewed his promise in his first State of the Union address in January 1982: “The budget plan I submit to you on Feb. 8 will realize major savings by dismantling the Department of Education.”
It’s high time we demanded that our state legislators support such efforts, and it’s long past time to demand that our federal representatives get on with slaughtering this pig.
In a Denver Post article, Molson Coors chairman Pete Coors and Steve Shuck, chairman of The Shuck Corporation in Colorado Springs, write:
“Colorado is applying for millions in federal funds to be used to transform our state’s education system. Who can dispute the need to do so?”
However well intentioned the sentiment of improving education, what Mr. Coors and Mr. Shuck don’t appear to see the danger of allowing the federal government to take control of public education.
If Colorado’s education system is broken, then it’s up to Coloradoans to fix it, and we’re perfectly capable of doing so on our own. Debilitating dependency on federal largesse does not solve anything, certainly not Colorado’s educational problems. This grant program, even if Colorado competes successfully, will provide only $60 – 175 million in grants, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the more than $5 billion Colorado spends on public education every year. And it’s not about federal money that will improve education, it’s about committing the state to policies and programs that comply with federal educational goals, not necessarily the legitimate needs of the children of Colorado. And ultimately, our children will be paying for the grants the feds hand out, because there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Shall we sell our children’s minds and liberty, not to mention their economic future, down the river at such a cheap price?
Coors and Shuck go on to say:
“When the interests of our kids, families, communities and businesses are on the line, we must subordinate our personal, historical agendas to the securing of their futures. The interests of our kids must trump partisan politics.”
Indeed. Which is why Colorado must reject further pandering to Liberal/Progressive/Socialist political agendas and overweening federal interference in the education of our children and save them from proletarian dependence on the federal government for their educational needs.
Education is a local matter, let’s keep it that way.
© 2009 Altnews