Michele Bachman vs. the Department of Education
by Jesse Loren
Michele Bachmann wants to know why we have a Department of Education. Of course she does. Why, we should all just study the Bible and burn all our little heathen friends. Besides, what has education ever done for us?
Aside from raising the country to a competitive status, training people for careers, cultural literacy, equality, competency, reading, writing, math, history and science with rigorous standards…. Besides standardized pacing and structure of academic content, programs to bring education to small towns, big towns, and desegregation, well, there’s food, and water and shelter. I don’t know. My cousin says, “Schools were so much better and had the freedom and money to run their schools before the Feds came along and decimated them.”
What year was that? What century? What fancy? Perhaps the Bush years come to mind. The mandate of 100% proficiency, or “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) was pushed by Bush, with the lofty idea that all kids could reach competency. Really? The last time I checked, kids fell on a bell curve. The majority in the middle is fine, and some kids are so fast they have already read this article, but there are those that will never reach 100% competency. They just won’t. There are lots of them. If kids fall on a bell curve, a flat line of expectation will never bring 100% into compliance. It’s mathematically impossible, and I am not a math teacher.
Letting states dictate the school system promotes racism. If Federal laws were not in place, we would see segregated southern schools. Separate, unequal and legal.
As my friend Jim Grimsley says, “It’s very important for younger people to remember that ‘State’s rights’ was code for Jim Crow, and for the open legal oppression of non-white races in the south. George Wallace ran on a platform of state’s rights. Leaving power to the states enabled white southerners to deny real freedom to black people for a hundred plus years after slavery ended. If you want to send this country into fascism, cries for state’s rights will be the clarion call.” Federal law protects equality.
Federal law mandates states not close the door on special needs. Districts have to serve the needs of all students in the least restrictive environment. It’s the right of the student to get a free and appropriate education. Anyone with special needs children should shudder at the thought of dismantling the system.
Schools are filled with socio-economically disadvantaged, disabled, and other health impaired, ADHD or ADD kids that might not test well on a high-stakes tests. They deserve a free and appropriate education.
As to funding, the NCLB mandates are in place, but the funding is missing due to the national debt, crashed banks, crashed housing market, unemployment, and lack of tax revenue. We have a revenue issue, not a Federal issue. Maybe we should war less and teach more.
Dismantling the system is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. It’s the classic Republican stance. Break the system, scapegoat someone else for the broken system, then dismantle the system because it is sick. Go GOP!
In straight truth, schools need money. Schools need books, teachers, stability, good salaries, teaching standards and outcome standards. Michelle Bachmann should turn her overdrive toward something besides dismantling the United States of America. Hey, Michelle, stop taking Federal dollars. Better yet, stop talking.