Opinion / Politics / Press Releases

OPINION: Regulation of Education Stifles Progress; We Need to Cut the Red Tape So Our Kids Can Learn

classroom students kids education regulationBy Dan Weber, President of AMAC

Have we lost sight of the purpose of America’s education system?  It is supposed to be focused on providing the nation’s next generations with the knowledge, moral values and skillsets they need to be responsible and productive citizens.  However, federal over-regulation has created an intrusive atmosphere in our schools that stifles progress.

Education consultant and activist, John Danielson, points out that schooling is a local matter.  Danielson has served as senior advisor to one US Secretary of Education, Lamar Alexander, and Chief of Staff to another, Rod Paige.

“The Founding Fathers were prescient and wise by avoiding even a reference to public education in the US Constitution.  The education of our children is most effective when determined locally, by parents and the communities who know them best.  It follows then that the freedom for teachers to innovate, imagine and determine what paths are the most appropriate for the individual needs of each student belong in the classroom.  In recent decades, the long-arm of federal intrusion into every area of education has exceeded what most agree is the rightful role for government in the classroom,” according to Danielson.

But we live in a new era now and it’s time for a course correction.  And it appears that Senator Lamar Alexander [R-TN], Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee [HELP], is actively seeking to make the changes that are needed.

Danielson points out “Alexander, in particular, knows that the benefits of deregulation include giving teachers more choices in using classroom time to meet the needs of each student, the flexibility to determine the best educational tools to deploy on behalf of their classes, and the freedom to exercise the expertise reflected in their profession.  When teachers are allowed to devote their precious classroom time teaching students, rather than responding to the demands of over-regulation which sap time and energy from the task at hand, our children are the beneficiaries.”

Last year, under Alexander’s leadership, Congress passed a reauthorized Elementary Secondary Education Act with overwhelming bi-partisan support.  The primary thesis of the Every Child Succeeds Act is that federal infringement does not belong in education, that local schools can decide what is best for their students, and the law restored the proper balance in American education.  And Alexander appears set to do it again with a new bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

He says that passage of the Higher Education legislation in the Senate could come within the next several months.  Bipartisan negotiations are already under way and the ranking member of the HELP Committee, Patty Murray [D-WA] says she looks forward to working with Senator Alexander to get the job done.

The aim of the new Higher Education Act is to cut the red tape so that students can have easier, more affordable access to financial aid.  It is also focused on giving administrators greater flexibility in the task of teaching.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has signaled her support for scrapping the old law to reduce the regulatory burden on our institutions of higher learning.  As she put it: “For me, and I suspect for most Americans, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to simply amend a 50-year-old law.  Adding to a half-century patchwork will not lead to meaningful reform.  Real change is needed.”

DeVos was confirmed in February 2017.  She’s for school choice and believes that charter schools have a place in education, whether they are nonprofit or for profit.  Her focus has been on the need to undo restrictive regulations that hamper student ability to learn in our schools from K-12 to colleges and universities.

We are proud of the accomplishments the United States has achieved over the past 242 years since our founding.  American ingenuity, creativity and initiative are qualities that define us and that make us a beacon for the world.  If we are to maintain our undisputed reputation as the role model of nations, we need an educated citizenry.


Dan Weber is president of AMAC, the 1.3 million-member Association of Mature American Citizens

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4 years ago

You didn’t mention anything about the liberal indoctrination that goes on every day behind our backs! Schools are failing left and right. And then consider the fact that we have no choice but to pay for it with taxes. Like obama, they are using our strengths against us. Clean out the system first and get back to teaching to get students to thing on their own, and then we’ll talk about the rest of this. Otherwise it’s only academic.

4 years ago

Cut the red tape NOW!

4 years ago

Need to get rid of the Dept of Ed and the state office of Ed and allow it to be locally ran.

Dr. Patricia Duke, PhD
4 years ago

Our schools are Government run! This happened when the government back in the 1970’s, I believe it was, offered money to the States to help them. Did they not see all the strings attached to this offer? I did and I’m sure I’m not the only one who did!

I was a public school educator from 1973-2010 in Hillsborough County, Florida. I saw the harmful changes to that were happening. The only way to “cut the red tape” is to stop taking government money! Good luck with that!

Parents are having less & less input into what is happening in the public government-run schools. Take a look at California and their horrible sex-ed program where the parents can’t opt-out their children. This is not the only horrible mandated program from this State either. It won’t be long before it sweeps across the U.S. to your State! Then what are you going to do? It has already happened numerous times already with other programs! In the Public Education sector, the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other. It seems it never lands in the middle!

I encourage everyone who will listen to me to get their kids out of the government-run schools. Homeschool them, enroll them in private schools or a church-run school. There are some good ones out there. Don’t use money as an excuse because there are scholarships available. You might have to give up something to do it but it can be done! Put your children first and get them OUT of the government-run schools!

4 years ago

LOL!, LOL! Another new government idea to help education. C’mon you are not going to buy this rubbish are you? If government and teachers unions really cared about education, they would loosen their strangle hold on it and give it back to the parents. Truth is when we graduated High School back in the 60’s we knew more then 4 year college grads of today know.
A little history for some of you who might or not remember, Schools really started going downhill when Democrats started interfering. In the 60’s, there was news story how the inner city schools in L.A. (Back then they were mostly Black, not illegal aliens like today) were not making the cut. Students were under performing and had low test scores. So the genius mind of Democrats had a brilliant idea how to fix this, Did they add more teachers? did they make sure all the teachers were qualified? Did they check class sizes? Did they isolate students who needed extra help and try to give it to them? What wonderful idea did Democrats come up with to fix this problem? They lowered the test scores , problem fixed.
Face the fact, until parents get off their duffs and start taking control of their local school it will remain the same.

bob bonnell
4 years ago

dump the unions and get teachers who actually want to teach and develop our children

James H. Rust
4 years ago

Save tax dollars and eliminate the Department of Education and fire everyone.

Glenn in PRNJ (People's Rep of NJ)
4 years ago

What are the kids really learning under the tutorship of a liberal teacher?

4 years ago

They are learning to vote Democrat Glenn. Everything Democrats do is positioned to do one thing: Increase the number of Democrat voters so they can win elections and further the socialist movement here in the United States. It certainly works here in the PRNJ. The indoctrination process, commonly referred to as the public school education process, is designed to turn out more and more under-educated drones, who have been conditioned to view the Democrat Party and the federal government, under the control of the wise and benevolent Democrats of course, as the source from which all things flow. Things like “free college”, “free student loans that are forgiven when you go to work for the government”. Free this and free that”, all of which will be paid for by “the evil rich”, which is defined as anyone who has a dollar more in their pockets than they do.

Our glorious new Governor, Phil Murphy, is fully committed to catching up to and maybe even surpassing Governor “Moonbeam” Brown of California in his progressive policies, if Sweeny doesn’t stand up to him. The teacher unions and teachers in the PRNJ were all a major reason why we ended up with this progressive “rising star”. I’m sure he already has his sites firmly fixed on either the Senate or a run for the Presidency at some point after he completely craters this state with his policies.

4 years ago

I’ve never understood why teachers vote as a block for liberal dimocrats. They’re voting for the very ones who appoint the liberal judges who prevent any discipline in the schools, and make teachers’ jobs hell!

4 years ago

The start of the downfall was LBJ, but Carter accelerated things by giving a labor union a cabinet-level position! The DOE needs to be completely eliminated, or at best it should only have a few employees to support LOCAL education- not decreeing monsterous liberal indoctrination from the mountaintop!

Texas Belle
4 years ago

The Federal Government should have no say in the educational system. Their reach has grown exponentially to the detriment of our children, many of whom cannot read well, cannot communicate well, and have no idea of proper grammar. Liberal indoctrination seems to be prevalent in many schools, which should have no place in the classroom. History should be taught on the facts, and not on some liberal idea of “social justice”. Discipline is so lax that a teacher cannot correct a student for fear of being accused of being an ogre, a racist, a bully. We should return to teaching the basic courses well, to be able to maintain order in the classroom, to discipline unruly students as needed, without fear of reprisal. We are far behind other countries in science and math, necessary courses for future Engineers and Scientists, on whom progress depends.

4 years ago

Teachers are totally stifled by the system and the laws and the testing. We can’t help children to learn to think for themselves because the testing requires them to think like the tests!!

Grandma Gaye
4 years ago

When attending a “Grandparents Day” at our Granddaughters Catholic High School – the adiminstrator gave a talk in welcoming us but also to thank us for the support in making it possible for our grandchildren to be able to attend the private school. This is the choice of our children’s to educate their children in the same environment they received. We made the sacrifice to work for the tuition money to send our three daughtesr to private schools and the colleges of their choice. Two of them chose Universities for their degrees while our youngest chose again a private Catholic college to earn her degree. She is the one who has been able to succeed in her life career choices as a result. The adminstrator, Dr. Craig Furker said while working in the public sector he felt the pressure for high Sat test scores of the students in order to receive Federal and State funding to support their school system. How do kids learn if the presssure on test scores is the only focus? He also felt the behavior of the students in private schools by far surpass those in the public sector. (It’s called “RESPECT” – not Entitlement) If it’s provided to you FREE as Bernie wanted it – do they really appreciate what they’re receiving? We contributed to public education through our taxes, however, we also made the sacrifice to support our children in providing a better education through private education that focus on education. Our granddaughter carries a 4.2 and many colleges are already pursuing her. We are so blessed that private schools exsists! AMEN! It is my hope that school vouchers would be provided for parents to have more than one choice (Charter or Christain schools0 IN the future. Public schools are not filling the bill any longer!

Maria Gregory
4 years ago
Reply to  Grandma Gaye

I too, attended Catholic grade school, from grades 3-8 and those were the happiest years of my school life. We also had Nuns teaching us and I honestly believe that’s where my real education started as I learned so much from them and with enthusiasm too. Discipline started on the first day of school and everything was regimented. We learned respect and believe or not, we were well-behaved kids on campus except for one or two rowdy kids who always liked to “test” the Nuns. Our report cards were handed to us by our parish pastor and if our grades needed improvement we got a stern warning in front of the class, and don’t anybody dare laugh about it or else they’d face detention time.
I do believe going to a private school serves the students better as in my case, the Nuns had more time to pay attention to each of us, which made if easier for us to want to learn more. This was back in Hawaii in the mid 1940’s…I’m dating myself…but education then was very important and I got the best from those Nuns. Discipline and respect remained with us even as adults today and I am a great grandmother to twins. I am still in contact with former classmates from those days (although our numbers are small now) and we always reminisce about our days in the Catholic school, and our teachers….God love them as most of them are now resting in heaven. There was one, however, who was my biggest inspiration, as I loved the way she taught us and I followed her teaching methods when I became an instructor in Passenger Service at one of the big airlines at LAX. A former teacher-turned-passenger service agent complimented me on my teaching method and I told him I owe it all to a Nun teacher.

4 years ago

Eliminate the federal program, and Make Education Great Again!!

4 years ago

WHAT, not a word about President Trump promising to abolish the unconstitutional Dept. of Education in his campaigning? This is again just warmed over hash like “reforming obamadontcare” instead of abolishing it. This band aid legislation is to maintain the Dept of Education by soothing abusive areas so there is not a whole-sale rebellion. C’mon, Mr. Weber, lets get to the heart of these evils besetting our country.

Amelia Little
4 years ago

I agree (and have said for a long time) that education should not be under federal regulations (and mandates) but should be local, meaning cities and states. Quit sending our education tax dollars out to everyone else and take care of our children first. Get back to teaching things that matter most–reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history (not re-written liberal versions.) Get back to teaching kids skills that will be useful like econimics, add in how to make and balance a budget, even basic cooking and nutrition skills. I don’t know the new name for what was home ec, hopefully some of these skills are in the curriculum. Do they even still have shop? Make sure the kids are aware of all types of career opportunities, that there are education options that do not necessarily include attending Harvard or Notre Dame. Prepare them for life! Sure, included in, I’m not sure what classes, information about cultures and religions, but don’t spend excessive time on one particular religion/culture and very little time on others. And while corporal punishment doesn’t have to be included, teachers and administrators should be able to discipline students. They should not have to spend their time dealing with irate parents who are upset that their little sweethearts need discipline, or will get failing grades if they don’t do any schoolwork, or whatever other slight the parents think their children are enduring.

Donald Mccormick
4 years ago

One thing we could DO to get our children to learn better and MORE is with and get the education they SHOULD get and is what they SHOULD be LEARNING is to just LET our LOCAL educational groups to direct what the children will learn because then the CORRUPT government can NOT direct the schools to ONLY teach them what they want the schools to teach them.
Right NOW the children are ONLY being TAUGHT what the federal government WANTS them to learn and NOTHING MORE.
If the LOCAL groups are the ONLY ones to tell the schools to give their students and IDEA of what they NEED to learn and then they will have the teachers expand on those requirements or ideas of what the students NEED to KNOW and then schools will find the books and other educational things the teacher feels they need to get the students to learn and thus give them the meanings of WHY they should learn the suggested subjects and WHY.
Right NOW the students are DIRECTED to learn ONLY what the federal education association says they have to learn and NOTHING MORE.
The federal government can FORCE the schools to ONLY teach what they WANT TAUGHT be controlling the funds they give out to the schools and that S FORCES them to ONLY do WHATt they want done.

4 years ago

“Over-regulation” isn’t the problem. The gay/ ,progressive/,globalist agenda is the problem. There is no meaningful education. There is a debased obsession with sexuality being promoted to our children, even how-,to videos about oral sex! It is a social engineering, propaganda/,indoctrination center destroying the American way of life.

4 years ago

Yes. All they’re producing is minions.

4 years ago

Why was there no mention, in this article, from either Dan Weber or Betsy DeVos of abolishing the Department of Education? Everyone knows that it was just a political payback to the teachers union for supporting Jimmy Carter. We need to get the Federal Government completely out of the education of our children and return that duty back to the local people. But I don’t believe there is much hope of that with Ms. DeVos running the show. She is just another power hungry, progressive republican that came out of the Jeb Bush camp. DON’T TRUST HER!!

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