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  • Another Year, Another Reckless Education Budget

    If there existed a company that for nearly half a century had failed to improve upon its product, had watched as other companies passed it by in its ability to be innovative, and all the while had more than tripled its overhead costs, it’s unlikely that company would be in business much longer. And let’s imagine for a moment that the company, adding insult to injury, was planning to go back to its shareholders to request yet more capital, expecting to be granted the new money because this time—without any changes to their business model—something would be different.

    Most Americans would balk at the idea of investing in such a company. Yet year after year, the business of educating our nation’s children operates in this way. Despite little if any return on investment for the nearly $2 trillion the American people have “invested” in government education over the past half century, the Obama Administration plans to compound this failure in its FY 2012 budget.

    Indeed, the Administration boasts that “K-12 education receives one of the only significant funding increases in the 2012 Budget.”

    The President’s budget proposal provides $77.4 billion in funding for the Department of Education (DOE)—which includes both K-12 and higher education spending. This funding includes:

    • $1.4 billion for new competitive grant programs for early childhood education, K-12 education, and higher education;
    • $900 million for a new Race to the Top program;
    • $26.8 billion—an increase of 6.9 percent—for programs funded under No Child Left Behind; and
    • $350 million in new funding for an early learning challenge fund.

    Short-term increases in the Department of Education’s funding are illustrative. If the President’s request is enacted, the agency’s budget will have increased 57 percent in the past decade alone – after adjusting for inflation – from $49 billion in 2000 to $69.7 billion in 2008 and to $77.4 billion in 2012.

    But that’s not all. Who could forget the nearly $100 billion bonus the DOE received in addition to its regular annual appropriations in 2009 as part of the so-called “stimulus”?

    If that makes you squeamish, read no further. Despite its creation just 30 years ago, spending increases have been significant enough that the DOE’s discretionary budget is now the third largest of any federal agency, behind the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services. But despite all of this new spending—and decades of increased federal involvement as a result—academic achievement has languished, achievement gaps persist, and graduation rates have stagnated.

    On Friday, Republicans released a plan to cut $4.9 billion from the DOE’s coffers. While a move in the right direction, the proposal still doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. More money is not the answer; putting precious resources to better use is.

    Instead of continuing to increase federal spending on education, policymakers should work to put those resources in the hands of state and local leaders who are better equipped to meet the needs of local children. For almost half a century, families have been sending their money to Washington to see it filtered through federal bureaucracy and sent back to states in an effort to improve education.

    States can do a far better job at meeting the educational needs of students than Washington can. That’s why state leaders should be allowed to opt out of federal programs such as those found in No Child Left Behind and instead target that money to the most pressing needs in their communities.

    Continuing to spend more taxpayer dollars through Washington-centric education programs is a broken business model. Putting state and local leaders in the driver’s seat is a far more promising strategy.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Another Year, Another Reckless Education Budget

    1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    2. George Colgrove, VA says:

      "Despite little if any return on investment for the nearly $2 trillion the American people have “invested” in government education over the past half century, the Obama Administration plans to compound this failure in its FY 2012 budget."

      WOW! It is a crying shame! – - All wasted! And yet it persists.

      Here are some quoted from arguably one of the smartest people to have ever lived in the US:

      Quotes from Albert Einstein:

      "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction."

      "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."

      "Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing."

      "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

      "Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal."

      "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

      "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."

      "Equations are more important to me, because politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity."

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

      "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."

      And the one that applies here:

      “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    3. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      Get the federal government out of the education business. After 40+ years the federal government has proven it can't do the job of education. Return responsibility to the states and local boards. Stop the federal financing of scholarships.

    4. Margaret, MN says:

      "Instead of continuing to increase federal spending on education, policymakers should work to put those resources in the hands of state and local leaders who are better equipped to meet the needs of local children."

      Let those who really understand the local needs address those needs.

    5. Colin, Maine says:

      Time to educate the DoE bureaucrats in the joys of the private sector job market.

      Close the department and start a phase out of federal education dollars to states. Remove all federal education mandates to states. While we're at it… Stop grants to graduate students immediately. Phase out federal student loans and grants. End socialized sub-standard education. The cost will decline and the quality will rise as states and localities seek a new model for K-12 education.

    6. WHICH WAY says:


    7. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I am reminded of the Federal Interference in Traffic Law, 'way back in the mid seventies. The Federal Agency mandated the States to embrace the erosion of Habias Corpus, real Damages and Common Sense (prima facie). It is still a big secret! Nobody knows! That is where we got Thought Crime put into the United States! Yeah! So here it is forty years later and Americans, of all people, are embracing perfectly crazy un-American things! Hey! They made us pay for it in the name of Traffic Safety but now the greater damage money wise is the Protection Racketeering of Traffic Police. Really, they can destroy your life when there was never any real damages, just statistical possibilities of harm!

      The American Educational system has been systematically destroyed by the Department Of Education. They fully intended to mandate a curriculum based on the Junk Science of a Post Industrial Age. There is no such thing. I think hidden Communists have controlled the American Curriculum and all Obama really wants is to pay off the Teacher's Unions. I would be all in favor of dissolving the Federal Department Of Education and leave the States to undo a hundred years of Liberal Progressive Socialist damage. Gosh! That would save Trillions at the same time improving Education.

      It is reckless! I think it is criminally reckless what Obama and his Shadow Government plan to do with American Education. Defund it! That is the only way for the Republicans to have clean hands. Education is a States Right and I think it is Unconstitutional for the Feds to tamper.

    8. Tom Sullivan in FL says:

      Education should be made a voucher system. The federal government has no business in education. Parents should decide what schools teach, not government, and not teacher unions. US K-12 education is 3rd rate compared to other developed nations, and even many underdeveloped nations. Give the money to parents to make all the decisions.

    9. Dave Aldridge, Dayto says:

      Put the money in the hands of local school boards. They know best where it needs to go. Do away with teacher unions! Make them produce for a change, no tenure unless 75% of your students pass state mandated tests.My wife was a teacher in a paraoichal(sp) school. For five years all of her students passed the state exams for their grade level. Its a PROFESSION not a job!!! She cared, teachers union don't, they care about retaining teachers jobs and increasing their benefits. Government employees should not be unionized, and they d____ sure should not be making more than their private sector counterparts.When are going are we going to learn the DOE is a waste of taxpayer money. A bloated government arm to dumb down the next generation.

    10. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 2.15.2011 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    11. Renny Maryland says:

      I see all the numbers passing around but I have not seen a breakout of what the UNION/LABOR costs are? Can a cut in salary/benefits be done and what would that amount to. Not only educational unions, but all unions, the ones that received all the stimulas money and now receiving more of our tax dollers!!!

      Doesn't make sense, we pay and suffer and they just ROLL ALONG!!!!!!!

    12. Mike In Florida says:

      Wow! Cutting $4.9 billion from the $70 billion budget of a totally failed entity passes for 'bold' action. The Federal Department of Education has failed miserably and should be disbanded asap. 'All' responsibility for education should be at the state and local level, where it belongs. End of story.

      I would also suggest, not unlike Rand Paul has, that the Federal government has overstepped its authority under the Constitution by establishing the DOE in the first place. There is no mandate in the Constitution that supports this level of Federal intervention. If the Republicans want to achieve their $100 billion of cost cuts this coming year, doing away with the DOE will get them $70 billion closer to their goal, and go a long way toward improving education for all children.

    13. R York Scottsdale, A says:

      Thank you for another great article supporting local control of education. Helps grassroot morale and definitely gives us more credibility in the face of bureaucratic skeptics.

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