Debra Saunders Gets a Hit ... Though it Stays in the Park  

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

In concept, Debra Saunders has hit the nail on the head with an excellent post on education.

Enforcing standards based on programs and concepts that work is the only way to go in education. Too many "educrats" are too busy playing political football with the lives of America's children.

The only problem I have with this article is that Ms. Saunders misses a very important point with regard to NCLB ("No Child Left Behind"). While it is true that having and enforcing standards based in the actual reality of education, as required by NCLB, has helped American children improve educationally, there is one very important detail that gets left out time and time again when it comes to NCLB - it is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Nowhere in the Constitution does the federal government have the authority to implement or fund such a program. Good idea that it is, the fed is required under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to leave this issue to the States and the people.

Does this mean that the President and/or the Congress cannot say or do anything at all with regard to education? Absolutely NOT. However, it does limit what they can do to bascially issuing statements of opinion and/or suggestions. This could have been VERY productive.

An appropriate method of presenting NCLB would have been for the President and his cohorts in Congress to draft and build a joint program to present to the various States. The States would then have the opportunity to revise and implement the program as they saw fit IF THEY SO WISHED (and if their individual state constitutions allowed). The federal budget would have no obligations to the various States' educational programs, since such expenditures are not authorized under the Constitution, so NCLB couldn't have any negative effect on the deficit.

Sure, these ideas have worked. But they would have worked much better in a context whereby the States would have had the opportunity to tailor the program to their own needs and budgets. That's why we have the Ninth and Tenth Amendments in the first place. It's a little concept known as "States' Rights". What we have now under NCLB is a good idea driven into the ground by big-spending beaureaucrats.