Monday, October 05, 2009

MN-02 : Why Isn’t Kline Condemning Increased Federal Role in Education ?

From MinnPost, Representative John Kline (R-MN) speaks about his new legislation : “The Teacher Incentive Fund puts states and local communities firmly in control of efforts to improve teacher quality. This is precisely the type of reform we should be embracing - models that allow parents, teachers, and local school leaders to work together to develop systems that meet each community’s unique needs.

Does it do that ?

My reading of HR 3683 doesn’t indicate that.
Parents are not mentioned in the legislation but the Secretary of Education is given the authority to distribute the funds as deemed worthy. There is a requirement for matching funds from “State, local, or philanthropic funds which should be sufficient to “sustain the activities at the end of the grant period”. Those eligible to apply for the grants include charter schools and depending upon the interpretation possibly religious-based schools … not necessarily the theoretical “troubled inner city school”. Funding is not required to be spent and may not exceed 3% of the budget.

IF Representative Kline really wanted to enact legislation, then where are the co-sponsors ? Where is the companion bill in the Senate. 96 members (82 Representatives and 14 Senators) have worked as educators, as a teacher, professor, and/or school administrator … but do the legislation’s prime authors, Representatives Kline and Tom Price M.D. (R-GA) have any real world experience teaching in elementary or secondary schools ?

Most surprising is that the legislation is being offered by two Representatives that warn of the “takeover by the federal government”.
The question should be coming straight from the Heritage Foundation playbook : Only the federal government can handle national defense, international relations, and the administration of federal laws. But why should politicians in Washington decide how education dollars are spent in Lakeville, Minnesota or Marietta, Georgia ?
Typically, the message from Conservatives is to shutdown the Department of Education and allow states flexibility and control over their own education programs, but this gives more authority to the federal government !

So why is Representative Kline offering a bill that gives greater authority to the federal government while creating an unfunded program that states would be stuck with the bill if the program ends ?
I don’t know, but I do know if a Democrat offered the same plan, Representative Kline would be the first to condemn it.

1 comment:

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