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SCHWARZWALDER: To save children, cut education
Question of the Day
Fourth, pass the innovative A-Plus Act, offered by Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, and Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, which would return a lot of authority to parents and localities and remove it from the educational bureaucracy languishing at the foot of Capitol Hill. As explained by Mr. DeMint, “All states would have the option of establishing a five-year Performance Agreement with the Secretary of Education. If approved, states would be able to combine funds from a few - or all - of the federal education programs that are administered at the state level and would be freed from the requirements of each individual program, allowing states to use the federal funds on proven state initiatives that advance the education priorities of the state.”
Finally, consider teaching your children at home. Home-schoolers score 86 percent, on average, on three of the major pre-college evaluations - as compared to 50 percent for public schoolers. Teachers unions, in fighting the spread of home-schooling, have hotly argued that no one without an education degree can possibly teach children well, and they have attempted to add levels of regulation and roadblocks to parents. But perhaps it is the education-centered approach of home-schooling, sans bureaucracy, that aids in a clear outcome: smarter, better-prepared, healthier and happier children.
In 1995, the then-new Republican majority made a tepid sortie against the Department of Education. The mission failed, and many of the department’s erstwhile opponents have since become advocates of a federal entity they once purported to oppose. Moral courage fell by the wayside as the “outsiders” became preoccupied with re-election, larger objectives or sheer philosophical incoherence.
As a Republican press secretary on the Hill in those halcyon days, I watched the supposed Republican revolution deflate before my eyes. I’d prefer not to witness such a sight again.
There is nothing compassionate about sustaining something that undermines the very purpose for which it was created. And for professing conservatives to say, in essence, “We’re just like the Democrats, only not as much,” is hardly consistent with allegiance to constitutional governance or the interests of those they represent.
The half-measures I have outlined are just first steps. Putting a monster on a diet might make it a little less plodding, but it remains a beast. Should Republicans retake control of Congress in the fall - or whenever they next have real power on Capitol Hill and the White House - they should aim carefullyand slay the dragon once and for all. Parents, children and the future of the nation deserve no less.
Rob Schwarzwalder is senior vice president of the Family Research Council and served in the George W. Bush administration and as a congressional staff member.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
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