UNTIL WE RECOGNIZE where the central planners in big government have altered the basic formula for American Exceptionalism, we will continue to point fingers among ourselves at all of the symptoms and the cancer continues to grow. I contend that you can trace EVERY major symptom that is the current destruction of America back to the federal intervention of public education. We The People have under the desire of “trying to do the right thing” have turned over our most precious treasures, the next generations of American Citizens, to those that are the worst among us, the Socialist Communist Statist Federal Educrats. And a 100-year slide through defined incrementalism has allowed these central planners to corrupt our greatest treasure.
I believe that our Founders were brilliant in many ways. One being that there is NO mention of education in the Constitution. I believe this was by design, not an oversight. The Founders were terrified of the concept of a powerful central government and they knew that the children were the most vulnerable. I contend they expected the 10th Amendment to keep the federal government out of education. So, why/how have We The People allowed the federal government to get in to our classrooms? It’s been planned since the 1850s and the plan has been being put firmly in to action since Woodrow Wilson, the first and only professional academic to be president, brought the philosophy of John Dewey’s “New School” ideas in to public education. And the basic values that our great Republic was founded on were put under assault.
As with most things that have been illegally done by our federal government, it always starts with a crisis. The next expansion of the federal government in to public education was pushed by the next great Liberal-Progressive President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, as part of his response to the Great Depression. We had to have some national standards for education to assure a well- trained work force.
The federal government’s next major push in to the take over of the public education system happened under President Eisenhower by the Educrats using desegregation as a reason that there had to be some kind of federal oversight in the school house to make sure there was no discrimination in the classroom.
This was followed closely by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and the War on Poverty and that the federal government HAD to be in the classroom because the road out of poverty is driven by education. This was when the federal government passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and set its first major funding hook in our, to this point, still State and locally funded public education system and the “Title 1 school” grant system begin. And the deal was on.
And from here the federal involvement in education flourished and the quality of public education started its decline. Public schools became trained to design their programs so they could best qualify for the next round of federal education grants. This grew rapidly because local school boards were suddenly addicted to “free” federal money and didn’t really see the hidden costs that were attached to the grants. By the late 1970s this had grown to a point where the federal government was losing control of their own bureaucrats because they really didn’t have their own home. So in 1979, President Jimmy Carter, with bi-partisan support from a dynamic freshman Congressman and fellow Georgian, Newt Gingrich, helped push through the legislation that established the U.S. Department of Education as a cabinet-level department.
Now we have a Secretary of Education and a whole new stand alone bureaucracy with its own budget. And for State and local school districts to continue to get their regular fix of federal government heroin (funding), the US Dept of Education started requiring the adaptation of curriculum designed by the educrats in Washington, DC to continue qualifying for the “free” federal money. (Side note: My Father, a life long educator as a college Education professor, told my brother and I in 1981 or 82 that the federal government was getting ready to change the whole direction of education in the Country and he believed not for the better. He had just started reviewing the first ever US Dept of Education curriculum guidelines and saw that the direction of education was going to change course from teaching children HOW to think, to teaching children WHAT to think)
Then the Liberal-Progressive Educrats got their next big step to where we are today from an unexpected source, President George W. Bush. (To this point the only Republican President who had any direct involvement in this progression was Mr. Eisenhower and it can be argued that the education component was not his focus, desegregation was his focus. And the growing federal education community saw an opportunity to piggyback on his noble initiative to advance their Marxist agenda.) President Bush and his “No Child Should Ever Excel” program was true Manna from Heaven for the Liberal-Progressive Educrats. This has put them directly in to every classroom in the Country.
And now, through our current President’s Education Secretary and his fabulous “Race To The Bottom” contest program that pushes individual school districts to spend a quantity of what could be classroom dollars to design programs and jump through hoops to compete with other school districts to “win” more “free” federal grant money. And what do we now get for these 100 years of Pavlovian training and rewarding? And here it is, the final nail in the coffin of the American Experiment, “Common Core Curriculum”. We must stop this madness, now.
So, now that we have identified the cancer, how do we start the cure? The first step is getting the federal government out of our schools. And the States must do this. We MUST quit taking ANY federal money for education. Analyses are starting to show that accepting federal money ACTUALLY takes dollars out of the classroom. How could this be? It’s called compliance costs. Those seemingly unseen costs that just happen so schools can continue to qualify for federal funding. Nationally, the federal government provides just over 10% of total education funding, but there are now estimates that state and local education systems spend as much as 20 – 30% of their available dollars to comply with all of the federal rules and regulations. Does this make any sense at all? And this can only be estimated because some of these compliance costs are so engrained that they are hard to break out.
Back to the cure, we must have the conversation with each of our state legislatures to calmly explain why they must start to refuse federal education funding and also refuse to continue complying with their rules, regulations and curriculum. This is the biggest single thing we can do to start the salvation of the American Experiment.
God Bless America!! And America, Please Bless God Again!!