American Education Can Be Saved, but Not by the Left

By E. Jeffrey Ludwig:

Two threads of educational reform can be discerned during the past 25 years. Both miss the need for real reform and have contributed thereby to the further dumbing down of our public schools. One involves greater federal involvement and funding through No Child Left Behind legislation followed by Common Core initiatives extending federal involvement even further into the realm of standardized testing. The other thread of reform blames racism as an underlying cause of educational failure, and through busing and various regulatory requirements seeks more racial balance in neighborhoods and in schools.

The increase in federal control of educational policy is unconstitutional because the Tenth Amendment relegates control of all powers not enumerated in the U.S. Constitution to the several states.  Common Core got around this with a deceitful strategy. Common Core says the federal government is not telling the states what to teach, only that the federal government will supply the standardized tests that will give the states greater feedback about whether they are meeting “standards.”  Thus, states would begin teaching to the tests, the tests would be controlling, but the federal government – not requiring curriculum x, y, or z — on a technicality would not be literally “in control” of state education.

At the same time as anti-constitutional forces in the body politic are attempting to federalize education via control over the mechanisms of standardized testing, another movement is striving to “desegregate” public education, especially in our cities. The civil rights movement fought against de jure segregation in the 1950’s and 1960’s, that is, segregation required by state laws, as being unconstitutional.  The modern progressives are fighting to end de facto segregation, that is, segregation resulting from heavily black neighborhood-based schools which generally are showing poorer scores on standardized exams than schools with majority white or Asian students.

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