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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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Mimi

I am shocked at the liberal bent of most public schools and the fact that they spend more time on indoctrinating the children then actually educating them about our history and democracy in general. I am surprised at the public standing for this disservice to our population. Some smaller public schools do much much better. Inner city public schools are money-wasting, discipline lacking entities. I advocate for charter schools and private schools which appear to do a much better job of educating. The children need to be taught respect as well as the necessary subjects. Seems like grammar went out the window when the government got control of the system. Did you ever really “listen” to how some of these children communicate? It is abhorrent!!
Most of the problem began with the Democrat’s “great society” program. Big government ruins many things!!

Rik

How about just getting the Progressively Communist teachers fired? … If you talk to young students today you’ll find they aren’t taught any traditional facts such as in American History, that it was the Southern Democrats that fought the Civil War to keep slavery. All they know about Presidents Washington and Jefferson is that they were slave owners. They’re taught that the Electoral College is evil but not why it was established in the first place. They’re being taught that Christianity is bad, that being a homosexual or lesbian or transvestite is “normal”. Even now in California, they are about to pass a law that Christians cannot refer to traditional marriage being between a man and a woman. Anything to break up the family unit and promote it’s okay to be “different”! Politicians are the scum of the earth and we need term limits and especially to bring back the… Read more »

Ralph

The suppression of learning has been going on for quite awhile, or as it was once called “the dumbing down of America” (common core). The young ones (minds of mush), have NO idea what they are really asking for in their protests. They are not being taught…Just indoctrinated, for what we see is going on now. The idea of going to collage is to better yourself, and become a leader for the future. Just the opposite is happening. The commies are here! Only in America … Could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 a plate campaign fund-raising event. Only in America … Could the rich people – who pay 86% of all income taxes – be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all. Only in America … Could the government collect more tax dollars from… Read more »

Ivan Berry

From the Johnson Administration in 1965 with the Elementary Secondary Education Act, the Feds got really active in making the rules. From then, with Carter’s reauthoration, Reagan’s, G.H.W.Bush’s, Clinton’s, G.W.’s (No Child Left Behind), then Obama’s, and now Trump’s, enough Fed meddling in our public education. Nowhere in the Constitution did the founders even mention public education as being the business authorized to the Federal Government. Local Schools should be just that: Local, Local schools have many problems, most of which came from encroachment and bribes (Fed aid) that took control from locals and put into the hands of Washington bureaucrats (note the last four letters). Having more administrators for Federal requirements and to handle the paperwork generated by outsiders’ rules and regulations than to have teachers who actually teach classes is no longer rare. It takes an army of employees to manage a government’s take over of what once… Read more »

Jack B

Unions have destroyed the teachers of today!! If they want managers wages they should be at will so the bad ones get fired out of the system… unions should not be allowed in schools , hospitals, fire departments, and police and especially federal and state employees who take tax payers money !!!throw the unions out!!!

BobA

“Have we lost sight of the purpose of America’s education system?”
Seems that it has become a forum for liberal teachers to indoctrinate our children. No more reading, writing and rithmatic. Gay marriage, pot, abortion, big govt, free, free, free. We all “deserve” what the next guy has, all we need to do is ask for it and our elected officials will provide. God is totally out of the equation. Socialism, most of them probably don’t know what it is, but sounds good so we need it. No wonder more & more of our children are being homeschooled.

Glen Cowgill

As a retired educator, I seen the push to make all students college graduates, often leaving the student and families with tons of debt. Not all students are college material and not all college graduates are able to find a job. Society requires carpenters, mechanics, service people to do the many odd jobs required. It is time to put the wood shops, auto/diesel, electrical, drafting and other shops back in the schools to teach our children life skills.

Computers are nice as a tool but they are not teachers. This idea that teachers should be facilitators and the computer the teacher is foolish. You cannot replace an encouraging voice with a computer. Students today have a hard time communicating because the teacher is simply not there in many classrooms speaking and questioning the students.

Laura C.

So many of the problems in education today are caused by having to bend over backwards to fulfill the requirements of the Feds. Teachers can’t teach, principals can’t supervise the teachers and uphold the quality of education because too much of their time is being spent jumping through administrative hoops. When I finally quit teaching in disgust, after 20 years, more than 25% of my district’s budget was being spent on administration. Not only that, but I was penalized by Social Security for having spent my last 20 working years in the classroom trying to serve the community. I had worked for the previous 20 years and paid into SS, but had my benefits cut by more than half because getting a small teacher’s pension was considered ‘double dipping’. Never mind that the thieves in Washington get 100% of their salaries FOR LIFE after serving one term, I’m a nasty… Read more »

Jerry G Yatros

Eliminate Federal Government from education. Return to basics. Return US History to our classrooms. All of our History generated America. America a work in progress.

SARGE

What staggers the kids from learning are the pos democrat teachers. Ive read something like 94% of all teachers from 1st grade to crybaby millennial college kids are democrat. How can anyone learn under that system??

Van Hamlin

There is no doubt that the Constitution’s complete abandonment of education means that the founding fathers saw this as a topic covered by the 10th Amendment. It is an area of our lives to be dealt with by either the state’s or the citizens themselves. At the same time, there is nothing prohibiting the Federal Government from regulating the aspects of education that fall under the interstate commerce blanket or creating programs that promote the general welfare of our nations citizens. This suggests a limited role in education for the Federal Government. Congress likes to use money as the motivator for citizens to comply with their demands. You can have some cash if you give us some of the say. We’ve done this and caused ourselves big headaches. The far left is using Federal programs to indoctrinate your children into thinking as the left thinks. In addition, Teacher’s Unions have… Read more »

CRLH

My first teaching job was in Kansas in a Catholic school. Not paid big, no union, but since my IQ was high, my classroom consisted of high IQ students. The high IQ student needs variety, firmness, and listening to them. The beauty of this school was that if a student in my class had a little slowness in a subject, he or she was sent to another classroom to up their skills/ability in that subject so that all my students would soon be at the same level. This, I still think, was the best way to teach. I had control of the class, I had to have weekly, monthly and yearly teaching schedules and I was allowed to use new ways to get attention and teach. It was fun, hard work, but rewarding. I even taught the girls how to be a “priest” and prepare and say Mass. This was… Read more »

eva

I respectfully disagree. Professor JARADA here at Fresno State University is proof. Slander, disrespect, anti-morality, anti Americanism has NO place in the classroom.
Classrooms from preschool thru and including higher education do need monitored. Teaching leftwing policies do not belong in any classroom.

Terry Allen

Government’s job should be government not controling all aspects of American life including education.

Lynda Royal

One room school house is excellent model. I agree with this article but as a retired principal I must raise the concern about incompetence and moral issues. Close monitoring would be wise.

Tina S

Most of the problems of “kids today” really is a result of their home life. Even 18 yrs ago when I began teaching, it was rare that a child had a 2 parent household where they were encouraged to care about school and take it seriously. Talk to the teachers in your area and find out what they struggle with. If they have a majority of students that actually care and try, then consider your district blessed. Pray pray pray for teachers and please stop calling them indoctrinators. Pray for students and become a mentor. Be the change you want. Yes there maybe a handful of really wacky and bad teachers that make the news. The rest are seriously struggling to keep their sanity. It is rough in the schools today. But, yes I do home school. It is not because of the teachers in the schools, it is most… Read more »

Laurie Giesle

These new laws are still government overreach! They are unconstitutional!!!

C.J.

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

Grandma Gaye

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… Read more »

Lantern

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… Read more »