We recently gave a talk about education, common core standards adopted in Missouri, and the ramifications of this decision. We received a comment from someone in attendance and wanted to share his point of view:
By now, we should all know that there really is no such thing as a free lunch, even at a public school. However, have you ever wondered what we really give up for all that “free” stuff from the federal government?
The real deal is that we agree to exchange our sovereignty for their dollars. If you have never been forced to read the “Other Certifications and Assurances” that state and local governments cede when they sign off on federal grants, you might be surprised by what we agree to do for money ( or maybe not ). Here are a few examples directly from page 5 of Missouri’s unsuccessful Race to the Top application:
Other Assurances and Certifications
The Governor or his/her authorized representative assures or certifies the following:
The State will comply with all applicable assurances in OMB Standard Forms 424B (Assurances for Non-Construction Programs) and to the extent consistent with the State’s application, OMB Standard Form 424D (Assurances for Construction Programs), including the assurances relating to the legal authority to apply for assistance; access to records; conflict of interest; merit systems; nondiscrimination; Hatch Act provisions; labor standards; flood hazards; historic preservation; protection of human subjects; animal welfare; lead-based paint; Single Audit Act; and the general agreement to comply with all applicable Federal laws, executive orders and regulations.
Most of these additional “Other Certifications and Assurances” also have little to do with the original purpose of the grant application. The Feds insert this type of language into all federal grants. This contractual language provides a fail-safe way to twist our arms into “voluntary” compliance with un-Constitutional federal initiatives. Failing to comply with these provisions simultaneously jeopardizes funding for many federally-sponsored activities.
Some Missourians may think that ceding sovereignty is a small price to pay for education reform. Perhaps, but I cannot understand the motivation of any liberty-inclined conservative who would willingly relinquish sovereignty at the state, local, or personal level to accept national standards, the so-called Common Core Standards, for education. I can only assume the motivation to accept these Common Core Standards has some relation to these “Other Certifications and Assurances” made in exchange for federal funding for education or other purposes.
I understand Missouri’s acceptance of these Common Core Standards in math and was made by members of the State Board of Education and was not made directly by our political leadership. But the Board’s actions still require the consent of the governed. Do liberty-inclined conservatives consent to this? Do we really think this national, metric-centric approach to education reform will enhance liberty and its companion, innovation?
If there is some liberty-inclined-conservative reason, other than money, to relinquish sovereignty and to accept these standards, I’d sure like to hear it.
**************************************************We echo our guest editor's last sentence. Why is our State Legislature willing to relinquish sovereignty by accepting these standards? We didn't like the Federal Government directing our health care; why is our Legislature making no effort to block this takeover of the educational sector? Why won't our legislators address these questions?