Editor's Note: Today a new blogger joins Patch, and he is a candidate running for the U.S. Congressional District 47, which will represent most of Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor and other Orange County cities.We have invited all of the candidates to blog for us, and Foley becomes the third. We do not edit their posts and hope that they will use the forum not as a campaign stump speech but to continue our online townhall of ideas.
Education is a crucial component in raising and properly equipping new generations of leaders who will keep America free, prosperous, and exceptional.
To face facts: The U.S. Department of Education has failed the people of California and all Americans in the duty of educating our children.
Standards and performance in our public schools continue to deteriorate. We’re continually told that more money will fix the problem. Yet, the more federal funding we have thrown at the U.S. Department of Education, the further performance has fallen. Money is clearly not the problem. Rather, it stems largely from wrong-headed educational philosophy and defective curricula mandated at the federal level.
Instead of giving every child an opportunity to grow up smart, we’ve created a mediocrity factory.
It is not our children’s fault that the educational standards we set for them are now abysmally low. It is not our children’s fault that no one has believed in and expected more of them. It is ours.
Our children need a solid foundation in the hard subjects–reading, writing, mathematics, and science–to be able operate and compete effectively in the real world, to grow up and be contributing members of our great nation rather than a drain on it or slaves to it.
Our children also need a firm rooting in the history and civics of our country in order to help them understand how the United States came to be; how and why it is unique and special; the methods by which it has yielded an unprecedented degree of freedom to its citizens; the value of our Constitution and other founding documents; why what our Founders established for us is worth preserving; and how best to go about doing so.
Sadly, the U.S. Department of Education isn’t assisting our children to build this valuable and necessary foundation. For the past 33 years, it has squandered taxpayer dollars and pretended that we simply couldn’t do education right without them.
The proof is now in the pudding.
BOLD SOLUTION A: De-Fund the Federal Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education was an ill-advised expansion of government, signed into law in 1979 under then-president Jimmy Carter. We’ve insisted for years that education is a top priority but have failed to step in and end this federal experiment run amok.
I am committed to de-funding and eliminating the U.S. Department of Education so that we can finally free our children from the shackles of low standards and values-based–as opposed to proper knowledge-based–education. The responsibility of instilling values must finally be restored to parents, while that of communicating knowledge must be restored to this country’s many gifted and committed teachers.
Eliminating the U.S. Department of Education was, in fact, formerly a plank in the Republican platform. Figures as prominent as Ronald Reagan advanced this very idea. Yet, somehow, we wrongly convinced ourselves that nurturing government bureaucracy would work out in our favor.
We also forgot that the U.S. Constitution nowhere grants the federal government authority over the education of citizens–and that there are solid reasons it does not. Centralizing education places far too much control over our children’s minds into the hands of the federal government. The increasingly poor results achieved by the U.S. Department of Education plainly demonstrate that our government has prepared our children to follow, not to lead.
Our children, and consequently our nation’s future, were far better off before the creation of the U.S. Department of Education than at any point since. It is time to relegate this failed federal agency to a footnote in our nation’s history.
BOLD SOLUTION B: Restore Educational Decision-Making to State and Local Governments
In eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, we can finally restore to the states and to the people their rightful authority over educational process and prerogatives.
The more local education is, the better it is. Why? Because it is at the local level where parents and local leadership have the most immediate interest in outcomes. When school boards and parents once again become prominent in the educational process, investment in ensuring solid outcomes will only increase.
One of the intentions behind making each of the states sovereign was that each was an independent laboratory for ideas. Every state and its citizens could experiment to see what ideas worked and which did not, thereby fostering healthy competition. The best ideas could then be shared and advanced through wider adoption.
The same concept works for communities within a state. Each becomes a laboratory. Competition works to ensure that the best ideas rise to the top and gain wide adoption.
Centralized government thoroughly inhibits this process. Innovation is quashed, and the failed experiments of the federal government are instead inflicted upon us all.
The lie has now been exposed. We are not better off when we allow bureaucrats in Washington to dictate educational philosophy or curricula. It is time to admit our mistake, correct course, and restore educational policy to more local levels.
I support the right of the states and the people, under the 10th Amendment, to make their own decisions regarding educational policy. They must once again become efficient educational laboratories and researchers. In that capacity, they will be best equipped to develop, test, and advance solid ideas that will provide our children with the knowledge-based foundation they need to lead and maintain American liberty and excellence well into the future.