Education – Special or Otherwise

Sarah Palin made a statement the other night that the Federal Government needs to play a larger role in the education of special needs children.  Personally, I don’t believe the Federal Government should have anything to do with the education of any children, special or not.

Currently, the Federal Government spends about $70 billion a year through the Department of Education.  This roughly accounts for 9% of the total money spent on education in this country, which is close to $1 trillion (both of these figures were taken from the Deparment of Education website, http://www.ed.gov).

However, the Federal Government has a broader reach with different Acts and Laws that require performance or allocation of money, such as the No Child Left Behind Act.  This forces the states and local school districts to follow laws that are mandated by Washington.  So, even though the Federal Government only funds 9% of the education programs in the US, it basically controls the allocation of all of it.

It’s great that Governor Palin wants to help those with special needs.  However, it should be left up to the states and local school boards, not politicians and bureaucrats in Washington.  The states should have control of the money they raise for school programs, and should be able to allocate their resources accordingly.

As Americans, we need to realize that we should not look to Uncle Sam for everything.  Instead we should look to our states and local governments.  It might sound good to have a President who wants to change education policies, but the federal government just throws a blanket over the entire system.  Local governmets can tailor policies and adjust to the needs of the area.  How are bureaucrats in Washington supposed to know this?

I really believe that as soon as we get the Federal Government out of the education of our children, the sooner they will be better performers and come out better prepared for the high tech jobs of today.  We need teachers teaching how to think, reason and question.  Instead, they are teaching how to pass a standardized test.

So when you hear a Washington politician talking about education, realize that they have good intentions.  However, if they really wanted to change the education policies, they would be talking about ending Federal education programs and returning that power to states and local school boards.

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One Response to “Education – Special or Otherwise”

  1. Jerry Friedrich Says:

    Although I agree with you general premise, I disagree with you characterization of the federal Government overview of the process as “throw(ing) a blanket over the entire system”. Your solution is similar to a child agruing with a parent to “leave me alone”. If you are a parent you know your actions are more like placing the child on a string and giving him or her more length as they show the ability to handle the responsibility. Although the Federal Government is not a parent the fact remains that federal laws override states and many states have still not shown adequate responsibility on education. That leaves the federal Government no choice if this country is going to provide an equal education as a goal. I believe your better argument would have to ask the government for a waiver of the law if your state shows adequate responsibility. This same point applies to states that deal with individual local boards. Not everyone acts the same way with intentions of the students to be adequately educated coming first.

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