The nation’s governors and state school chiefs will propose standards Wednesday for what students should learn in English and math, from kindergarten through high school, a crucial step in President Obama’s campaign to raise academic standards across the country.
The blueprint aims to replace a hodgepodge of state benchmarks with common standards.
I suppose we can “thank” President George W. Bush for this. After all, it was the Bush Administration that partnered with Ted Kennedy to significantly increase the role of the federal government in primary and secondary education. The “No Child Left Behind” act was a betrayal of conservative principles.
I reject the implicit assumption in these standards that the people of each state are not qualified to set standards for the schools in their states through their elected state legislatures. We have a “hodgepodge” of standards because each state, through their elected representatives, each have different priorities for what they believe is important.
Can someone please show me where in the Constitution the federal government is given the authority to set standards for schools in every city and town in a nation of 300 million that stretches across the continent? You will not be able to do that, because it does not exist. Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment is clear that the federal government has no authority to set a national education policy, including national standards.
We as a nation need to get away from this poisonous idea that the federal government holds the answer to our nation’s problems. The federal government needs to stick to the powers specifically delegated to it by the Constitution. Allow the states to be laboratories of democracy in setting their own policies. This was one of our nation’s founding principles, and it will work much more efficiently than a large federal monolith setting policy from one city on the East Coast.