Department of Education vs. Department of Education

I’m so glad that we have smart people to tell us what to do. I am not certain how so many of them ended up working for the federal government, but I suppose that should be considered a feature–not a flaw.

NCLB (No Child Left Behind) was one of the laws put together by smart people back in 2001. Unfortunately, South Dakota has found out that smart people sometimes, well, make stupid decisions:

The South Dakota Department of Education will notify Washington this week of plans to create its own program to replace No Child Left Behind.

In late September, President Barack Obama offered states a flexibility package to create their own plans, as long as they meet stringent accountability guidelines.

“They are telling states, create a model,” said Melody Schopp, secretary with the Department of Education. “The waiver allows us to create a new accountability system.”

Are you thankful that the President has graciously allowed us the flexibility to do things differently? I certainly am.

If one reads through the above article, one sees that the state can do nothing without the approval of the federal government–with regard to education. Why? Because NCLB was implemented from on high. What about repealing the law? If it is poor law, then should we not repeal it? The answer is that it is simpler for the current administration to give out waivers than to permit states to take their proper constitutional interest in their own citizens’ educations. After all, if NCLB were repealed, the federal government would lose some of its power over each and every public school in the nation–and we can’t have that.

Snark aside, the federal government has absolutely no constitutional basis for being in the business of education–just as it has no basis for being in the business of health care. Instead of NCLB, each state should be permitted to find its own way to success. I would go further and say that each community should be permitted to find its own way to educational success.

Ultimately, parents are responsible for their children’s education–not the government. When we take the responsibility away from the parents and give it to the government, we remove much of the incentive which the parents had to ensure that Johnny knows how to read.