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    Community and Educational Excellence

    12/04/2010

    Personal Freedom and Power 109:  Local Governance

    Beyond government’s primary duty to protection people and their property, there are societal needs, which are generally accepted as universal goods.  Education is an example.

    To maximize human freedom society must seek family, community and local government solutions before national or international governments.

     Community and Educational Excellence

     

    Knowing Americans respect education, presidents and members of Congress eagerly enact grandiose policies.  So, how has Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Obama’s Race to the Top influenced K-12 education?  Badly.

    Diane Ravitch, of NYU and top researcher of best practices in education, evaluated the No Child Left Behind, which purported to enhance education by prescriptive national test coupled with punishments.  Ravitch finds:  It has saddled the nation's public schools with a regime of testing and sanctions that is burdensome, harmful and ineffective.

    Last year, Congress and the Obama administration gave States $5billion if they adopted unproven mandates from the federal government.  Ravitch’s general assessment:

    … the ones (programs) promoted by this administration were not implemented anywhere before they were foisted on 40 states by state legislatures competing for federal dollars. Massachusetts, the highest-achieving state in the nation, dropped its own proven standards to adopt the new, unproven ones so as to be eligible for Race to the Top funding.

    Harmfully, Massachusetts discarded their proven policies for the seductive “free” educational money from the federal government.  Resultantly, the power elites from DC control the local school, which once was the heart and center of every community in America

    This is how DC co-opts the states.  The federal government advances a mission, sets standards, prints money, states accept the standards, “free” money flows to the states, and DC controls state and local communities.  Food Stamps, highway safety, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, juvenile law and hundreds of more programs have lured states to accept Federal money and Federal dictates. 

    Obviously, nothing is free.  Massachusetts relinquished sovereignty to DC. And, of course, free money increases the debt, which ultimately will be paid by every American taxpayer.

    Back to education, Ravitch’s research finds that children are best educated by excellent educators offering a strong curriculum of arts and science. Ravitch observes this is best obtained by the local community with a direct interest in educating their children and supporting educators.  Ravitch pleads:

    The question today for Republicans is whether they are a party that endorses top-down reform from Washington, D.C., or a party that respects the common sense of the people back home and their commitment to their local public schools.