Federal government now must “save” local education

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is asking Congress to put politics and ideology aside – for the good of the children – and come up with $23 billion to save education in America. What did you really expect would happen? The $100 billion in stimulus funding was just the tip of the iceberg.

This is a great example of a symptom of the disease. You see, over the past few decades local school districts have become more and more dependent on the state for funding elementary and secondary education. But it did not end there. With stupid federal programs like No Child Left Behind, the states and local school districts became dependent on the federal government.

This incremental of power from local communities, to the states and then on to the federal government is the disease that I’ve been writing about for more than two years now. This is the problem that must be at the top of our issues during the next two decades.

See, I told you so.

Funding for local issues by the federal government is destined for failure, and from what Duncan is claiming, we’re at the education failure point and the only people who can solve the problem is Congress; by throwing $23 billion at the problem immediately. From Fox News…

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is asking lawmakers to put aside “politics and ideology” as they consider a request for $23 billion in “emergency” funding for public schools – a measure Republicans reject as a massive federal bailout for the teachers’ unions.

The Obama administration is supporting the bill, formally titled the Keep Our Educators Working Act and sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).  In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) dated May 13, Duncan warned that if the bill is not enacted, “millions” of school children will be adversely affected and the ensuing damage will “undermine the groundbreaking reform efforts underway in states and districts all across the country.”

Of course, this is being sold as a bipartisan issue. Who in God’s name could even consider being against this critical legislation!

This has been the plan for liberals all along. They want local school districts to depend on funding from the state and federal government to the point where if they don’t get it – they have to close the doors.

Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s blog notes…

The “Recovery Act” stimulus sham gave $100 billion to school districts in part to allegedly “save teachers jobs,” but a year later the stimulus has worked so well that they’re going back to the trough for more.

Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Dimsdale on May 24, 2010 at 5:54 am

    Isn't the thought of the government "saving" local education kind of like the the little dutch boy, on encountering a leak in the dike, putting in a stick of dynamite instead of his finger?


    The only thing that education has to be saved from is the very liberals that have spent the last fifty years ruining it!  You know what happens when you get federal monies: you get federal regulations, stipulations, rules and legislative "cures".  The strings that will hang education forever.


    We know why all statists have to get into the minds of the children: they can turn out a generation of little programmed robots that have been fed socialist crap all of their lives.  No wonder they all seem to worship China (that's ChiComs for you, sammy!) and Cuba.  The Chinese have the kids turning in their parents, neighbors spying on neighbors etc.   Sound familiar?


    Homeschooling, baby!

  2. FigPucker on May 24, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Right on, Dimsdale!


    The idea of the fed saving education is like the idea of a tornado saving a town.

  3. David R on May 24, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Better more federal money than my property taxes going up. If it's income tax , the hit is spread around, if it's a property tax solution the towns with no tax base, like mine, get hammered.  Got a better solution? I am all ears.

    • Dimsdale on May 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm

      Why does it have to be a federal, one size fits all approach?  Why not state funding?  At least you would still be able to have feedback, whereas the feds might just as well be on Mars.

  4. PatRiot on May 24, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Arne Duncan's ploy is a tired repeat of the Wall street bailout  – "If we don't do something right now…..".  This supposed knee jerk reaction is ridiculous.  And lets think about the health care bill.  For 100 years the progressives have waited for this day – and the best they can do is pass it before they read it, spend $$ we don't have and trounce on individual snd state rights!  If they aren't ready after 100 yrs – I can imagine the lack of quality in the knee jerk action Mr. Duncan is calling for.

    And as for home schooling – another repeated ploy – If you don't participate in the regular plan, you will pay a penalty.

    Let's redefine a common phrase – Think globally, act locally.   Cut your teeth browbeating sense into your local gov't so you can be an expert in dealing with the state and federal arrogant ignorance.

    Stand up or be stepped on.

  5. PatRiot on May 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Hey Dave R.  I once had the opportunity to have a town mayor tell me about the shift at town meetings.  He said the majority used to be retired folks who lived through the depression and properly questioned every town expenditure.  In 5 short years, in the 1990's, the majority shifted to the entitlement folks who kept asking for more and more yet did not have the ability to contribute much.

    There needs to be a shift in the majority again.

    • Dimsdale on May 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      That is a good point: if you "spread the hit around", but the majority swings to those at the government teat, then you only have the non entitlement people paying, and the hit is much more focused (the bulls eye is on your back!).  And those with their hands out will vote to keep those hands getting filled every time.


      Just another reason why people that are receiving government money should not be allowed to vote, at least as far as being able to vote on matters that benefit themselves.


      Entitlement vote recusal?

  6. gillie28 on May 25, 2010 at 2:01 am

    As a very experienced teacher, I can witness to the fact that throwing money at the education system does NOTHING (zip, nada) to improve students' behavior or academic skills.  Until the education "powers that be" realize that schools need to go back to basics, nothing will change.

    First and foremost, many children are growing up without moral accountability and this is a root of many of the social issues in the schools and in the homes.   School officials are so terrified of being accused of mixing "church and state," and ensuing lawsuits, that practically anything implying moral guidance and values is shunned. 

    Secondly, teachers have a hard time disciplining unruly, disrespectful, and even dangerous, students, also for fear of lawsuits and/or losing their jobs.   In many cases, administrators often side with students over teachers – this I've witnessed many times.  Also, I've literally heard students speak of threatening to lie to authorities about teachers if they penalized them for anything.  I've also heard other students threaten to turn in their parents to social services if they attempted to curtail or punish them….and I knew several in High School equivency programs who had actually done this and been taken out of the home.  One of them admitted to me she had lied about her parents because they insisted on a curfew.

    The first public schools used the Bible as a textbook, so there were no Constitutional issues with this in the beginning of the US Educational System.  The only way to solve social and academic issues in the classroom, and all other walks of life, is to bring back godly, moral standards.  This doesn't cost a dime!  It's time for Divine Enforcement of His laws!!!

  7. djt on May 25, 2010 at 2:42 am

    while I"m in agreement that more federal dollars won't save the ed. system because the $$ comes from too far away from the localities, part of the reason states and towns have become more dependent on fed $$ is precisely BECAUSE of programs like No Child… and other mandates that cost $$.

    and the republican thought that this $$ is for teachers unions is absurd. the same teachers that are being laid off and taking pay freezes (some for 2 years or more) to try to save jobs? Ridiculous.

    Steve, I know this is not a discussion board but if you have time for a question…why is it in the liberals best interests for schools to have to close their doors?

    • Dimsdale on May 25, 2010 at 3:33 am

      A dumbed down, dependent voter is a Demcrat voter.  'nuff said.

    • Steve McGough on May 25, 2010 at 3:52 am

      They won't close the doors! That is a total straw-man argument and everyone knows it. They constantly use this rhetoric to threaten communities with a reduction of "critical" services. It's been going on for decades.

      Then the brow-beating starts from teachers, unions and many parents who are totally mislead thinking more money solves the problem when it has been proven there is zero correlation between dollars spent per kid and performance. You know, the how-could-you-want-to-see-our-children-suffer bull feathers.

      It's not student to teacher ratios, or computers in the classroom either. The only correlation is median household income.

      Sure, the actual federal money coming from "far away" is an issue, but it is more of a dependency issue. The local communities are hooked on the state and federal funds, really more so state funding at this point, but as time goes on, it becomes more and more federal funds.

      On top of that, states are bankrupt, and our federal national debt has increased trillions of dollars in a couple of years. There is no more money.

      The right thing to do is pay for it at the local level if you want it and turn away funding from states and the fed. The problem is the "we deserve our cut" culture that has been incrementally building during the last 60 years. You're seeing the results of that culture shift. Our culture demands our state and federal representatives bring home the bacon. That sir, is the disease I've been speaking of.

    • David R on May 25, 2010 at 4:33 am

      Locally, I see the cost problem driven by parents who want more from their schools.  I'd like to see some radical changes in the education system. How about eliminating 12th grade for college bound students and shift them to community colleges for a "transition year".  That would shift the burden to a cheaper alternative that is not dependent on the grand list.  And how about  giving up the notion that a model for compulsory education developed in the 19th century is best for the 21st? Not every kid's best opportunity is found in the standard classroom poring over traditional academics.  On top of that we should stop expecting schools to deal with the consequences of  decreasing affluence, electronic distractions, poverty, and a public ethos that thinks we deserve to be entertained 24/7.  If we weren 't distracted by foolish partisan bickering maybe we could get serious.

  8. djt on May 25, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I know what you've been saying steve, its really quite clear, but your suggested solution of paying for  education solely at the local level is perhaps an admirable ideal, yet not at all realistic; Unless of course, taxation at the state and federal level were cut back drastically, also highly unlikely.

    Agreed, there is truly zero correlation between dollars spent and educational success and yes, median household income is a better barometer of student success, but public education has to educate the kids whose incomes are various amounts below the median, what does the system do with them?

    The most effective way to deal with the problem, at least in CT, is to cut costs with regionalization, which would also be very difficult and would not likely happen without a near collapse to usher it in, but is much more likely to happen in our lifetime than locally funded schools.

    • Steve McGough on May 25, 2010 at 9:26 am

      So I'm right. I'm perfectly willing to concede this would be a very hard culture change that may take years and years. But it is the solution. If you think cutting costs through regionalization will improve performance, safety and graduation rates, you are incorrect. Regionalization may in some way lower costs, but we want our kids to perform at their highest level.

      The only way to ensure that is if they and their parents have skin in the game. Right now, the perception of value for education is all messed up. It's free. Free stuff and free services are treated with respect equal to what is paid for them.

      I've always noted the first step was to drastically reduce the federal dollars and just replace those funds with local taxes. Heck, I'm fine with a dollar for dollar change. Lose a dollar in federal funding … raise taxes locally to make up that dollar lost. Then begin to do the same at the state and local levels.

      We'll then see how comfortable people from local communities are about stealing money from other people outside their local community. That's all we're doing now … legalized government sponsored theft.

  9. djt on May 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Oh my…

    Do you really think people think that public education is free? Have you read about the vitriolic town budget meetings, the voting down of one municipal budget after another, the cuts, the layoffs, the furloughs , the salary freezes, the cutting of sports, the inception of pay to play? The stark fact that schooling is not free is in the news everyday.  Make no mistake, the parents know they have skin in the game.  And its usually the parents who willing to pay more and the seniors that fight to hold the line. Every spring, in almost every town, it’s the battle of generations. And to this situation you want to subtract a federal dollar and raise that same dollar locally?

    Sorry Steve, I agreed with you more before your response. You have the right ideal, impractical as it may be, but the wrong means to your end.

    Lastly, regionalization will lower cost, but it is no guarantee of improved performance (since as we agreed, more dollars doesn’t equal better performance), I didn’t mean to imply that, I only meant it as a way to cut costs and therefore be less beholden to non-local dollars. Do the same job for less money, then maybe you can start to turn down those federal dollars and the strings that come with them. That’s the way to more local control.

    • Steve McGough on May 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      When I say free, you knew exactly what I mean. We're talking perception of value here. There is no specific tie to paying for education, especially if you are a renter of a home. You're not cutting a check to a school to pay for your kids education. Heck, when I went to high school, if I wanted to go to the Catholic high school guess what? I had to pay one-third of the tuition and pay for my books. I came up with the $333 plus the cost of books myself the first year. That's buy in. That's what I mean.

  10. djt on May 26, 2010 at 3:44 am


    I guess where we’ll have to agree to disagree is about the specific tie to pay for education. Its seems to me that when parents are willing to may more in property and real estate taxes to counteract school budget cuts, and every municipal budget story features a breakdown of the overall increase and the portion of the increase that goes to education, the tie is unmistakable, and the “buy in” is clear. And its mostly around that tie that the yearly tug of war occurs.



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