Posts tagged Constitution
Posts tagged Constitution
With these eight words, the United States begins its yearly political ritual known as the State of the Union Address. This address is required by the Second Article of the U.S. Constitution: “He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The Address being yearly is merely tradition set forth by the college of presidents. Also, it important to note that before President Woodrow Wilson, many presidents did not give an address in person rather sent a letter to congress, fulfilling the Constitutional requirement. Tonight we will once again enjoy an amazing American political custom. Co-Contributor Michael Burleson will be providing a commentary of our President Barack Obama and I will be providing the commentary for the Republican response by Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) and the Tea Party Response giving by former Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain.
Before we look at the current views on education, let’s look at education historically.
The Constitution does not explicitly state anything about education and at the time children would have received education in the form of common life lessons from their parents in between household duties and possibly working on their family’s land. The closest thing the federal government did was suggest that an education system be in place as states enter the union in the Northwest Land Ordinance of 1787.
“ Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged”
Then looking back at the Constitution once more:
"The powers not delegated to the Unites States by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people."
According to these documents, education should be left up to the states. But because our nation and our educational needs have changed so dramatically, should these documents be able to “breathe” to accommodate? Are mandates for education an “implied power?” In the 1700s, it would have been impossible to demand that children attend school on a regular basis because children had a great deal of responsibility in the farming sector. (Our school calendars are still based on harvest seasons.) Not to mention, new states entering the union may not have had the chance to build a great infrastructure yet and poor infrastructure coupled with making children attend school on a regular basis… the impacts of disease could have been terrible.
Our economic future depends on an educated population. It will be high tech and international, no doubt about it. But if we left education up to the states and parents today would our nation be prepared for that future?
Here is what the current candidates had to say on education:
Presidential candidate Ron Paul has stated that he wants to get rid of the Department of Education and leave the matter up to individual states and parents. Stated that No Child Left Behind hooks institutions on federal funding. He wants to encourage homeschooling and private school through a tax write off.
Romney supported No Child Left Behind but knows that it hasn’t met all of the needs in the education system. He supports private and homeschooling as well as standardized testing that “holds schools accountable.” He also supports better pay for teachers.
Santorum voted in favor of No Child Left Behind but does not believe that it serves the consumer, which is the student. He voted in favor of tax-free education savings accounts but voted no on shifting $11B in corporate tax loopholes to education. (Check out the Kennedy amendment relative to education funding.)
Rick Perry promotes school choice as well as the voucher system. Perry turned down $700M in 2010 for federal stimulus money for education saying that “there were strings attached” that would have required Texas to adopt national standards, claiming they would have cost about $3B.
Gingrich said that giving out student loans leads to students who take fewer hours and opt to not work, which, he said, leads to more time spent in college and higher debt. He wants to dramatically shrink the size of the Federal Department of Education, giving more power to the states and parents. He proposed “paying kids” as an incentive to succeed in math and science from an early age and then waive interest on student loans for math and science grads. He also said that the U.S. should replace multiculturalism with a more patriotic education. Gingrich also stated that teachers should be paid based on their performance.
Huntsman has cited the failure of No Child Left Behind and believes in localization of education. He has also mentioned that early learning is critical and supports the pursuit of languages as well as math in order to ensure a strong economic future. He has also said that in order to ensure first-rate students, we need to pay for first-rate teachers.
With all that said, if education was left up to parents now, would our education system be better off?
What about private schools?
About 5 million students, only 10%, of students in the U.S. attend a private school, 80% of which are religiously affiliated. The median cost of private school is $17,441. (That number comes front he National Association of Independent Schools.) First of all, WOAH. Most of these candidates are encouraging private schools and want to provide some sort of tax incentive for families who send their children there. $17 grand worth? If someone told me that a single mother with two children is going to be motivated to send her kids to school for close to $40,000 a year because of a tax incentive, I would call that bluff immediately. A possibility is that families with higher income would send their children to high performing private schools while families that couldn’t afford, it and didn’t have the option, would send their children to public school which would be regulate by state standards.
I just realized that I could go on all night about unequal access to quality education, but I’ll save that for another time.