"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

Search This Blog

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Up Twinkles for Rand Paul! He Declares NCLB Reauthorization process "rotten from top to bottom"

If you interpret the roles of the Federal Government and the States according to the Constitution, you are cheering Rand Paul's recent procedural move in the Senate to stop the much heralded bi-partisan agreement for the NCLB reauthorization. GW Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation crafted with Ted Kennedy has largely been a costly disaster according to the left and the right. What does the current Harkin-Enzi reauthorization plan propose?

Who knows? It was being rushed through (just like the Health Care legislation) without legislators not having either the interest or the time to read it. It ballooned to 868 pages with 48 hours to review. The original Race to the Top document was also 800 pages and districts were given 6 weeks to review (during Christmas break) before they had to sign...or not.

Everything's a crisis! The sky is falling! This rush to reauthorize is nothing but a replay of RTTT, Obamacare, TARP, stimulus funding, etc. Thank you to Senator Paul for stopping this rush to nowhere (except toward more spending, mandates and federal control) so at least senators and taxpayers understand how the Federal government has taken over all local and state control of education. As he stated:

“I’m one of the old-fashioned conservatives who does believe that schools are and should be under local and state control.”

FINALLY. We are witnessing a politician who is standing up and requiring we look at the process, the content of legislation and question if the politicians are FOLLOWING THE CONSTITUTION. Where are the other senators backing him up? Where are the governors? Where are the constitutionally minded groups? Why is permissible to turn our educational system over to the Federal Government and private organizations to draft standards and assessments with taxpayer money with no accountability?

The only suggestion I would give to Senator Paul in his speech: invite the parents and taxpayers who are funding public education for their input as well (in addition to the teachers, principals and superintendents).

From HotAir:


Rather than unthinkingly reauthorize No Child Left Behind as the president would have had Congress do, the House of Representatives has conducted hearing after hearing about how best to revise it. In the Senate, however, no such process has occurred.

Instead, after a long period of relative quiet on the topic, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), last week proposed to his committee an 868-page bill to reauthorize NCLB. Then, on Monday, he added to it an 868-page manager’s amendment, a re-working of the original dropped bill. The members of the committee had just 48 hours to wade through the manager’s amendment before the committee proceeded last night to a markup of the bill.

But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) objected to the rush. A markup, he pointed out, is supposed to provide committee members with the chance to debate, amend and rewrite proposed legislation. How on earth could they do that, he wondered, with just 48 hours to read the proposal? So, Paul used a procedural rule to halt the markup.

Harkin took the dust-up to the Senate floor, asking the Senate to agree by unanimous consent to allow him to reconvene his committee. Passionately, Paul objected:

“I find it a tragedy that we’re operating here in the Senate by introducing an 868-page bill with 48 hours to read it,” Paul said. “I’ve been here since January and there’ve been no hearings on No Child Left Behind. I’ve had no hearings that involve teachers, no hearings that involve superintendents, no hearings that involve principals. I think this is an affront to the process. As I go around my state and I talk to teachers, I’ve yet to meet one teacher who is in favor of No Child Left Behind. They abhor it. … This process is rotten from top to bottom.”

Paul’s objection sparked predictable cries of “obstructionism.” Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, for example, painted Paul as a senator who doesn’t care to help children in poverty receive a college education. “The senator speaks of the tragedy of this process,” Bennet said. “I’ll tell you what a tragedy is. The tragedy is that only nine of 100 children living in poverty in this country in 2011 can expect to get a college degree. That’s a tragedy.”

But, to some extent, Paul’s move worked. Not only did he manage to postpone the markup until today, buying (a very little bit) more time to read the bill, but he also prompted Sen. Harkin and HELP Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.) to call a hearing on the subject of NCLB for Nov. 8 to at least obtain a little outside input on the reauthorization of NCLB before the full Senate votes for it. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

The entire episode illustrates a couple important realities.

Firstly, while members of both parties agree that No Child Left Behind needs to be “fixed,” they don’t necessarily agree about what the federal role in education should be — and that’s ultimately what this debate is about. Paul gave voice to that in his objection when he said, “I’m one of the old-fashioned conservatives who does believe that schools are and should be under local and state control.” Given the federal government’s gradual encroachments in this area, Paul is right to be on guard.

Secondly, the Senate, by its pitiful attempts to seek input from those most affected by education reform, gives the appearance of being in collusion with the president’s plans to use the problems with NCLB to expand the federal role in education. Harkin says the bill does, in fact, “return a lot to local control,” and Enzi says the reforms in the bill, while not perfect, are “a start,” at least. I hope that’s true — but no harm in having a hearing or two and especially no harm in giving local-control advocates like Paul time to actually read the bill to ascertain its meaning.

Snaps to Paul for staying vigilant.


(Thanks to the HotAir reader for the uptwinkle reference).

1 comment:

  1. This link should be sent to every teacher, PTA, principle, school board,etc., you can get an address for. IMO schools & teachers have, in this case, an unfair assessment of their "performance" due to standards of NCLB.
    Our rural school, R3, has had nothing but yearly downgrades since this was implemented.
    I am sure the Federal Gov. and Department of Education have pushed this as a reason to take over "failing" schools, and it really ticks me off!
    END the theft of taxpayers' money, take back a faltering state sovereignty and get on parents' cases to instill proper respect, personal responsibility, hard work and rewards for achievement where due!


Keep it clean and constructive. We reserve the right to delete comments that are profane, off topic, or spam.

Site Meter