Michele Bachmann on Education
Republican Representative (MN-6); 2011 GOP frontrunner
Bachmann vs. Palin on Social Issues
"I do believe that God created the earth and I believe that there are issues that need to be addressed--the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the issue of irreducible complexity, the dearth of fossil record," she said. "Those are all very real issues that should be addressed in science classes."
Not allowing ideas like intelligent design to be discussed in science classes amounted to government censorship, she said. "I think the one thing we do not want to have is censorship by government," she said. "Government shouldn't be dictating what information goes on the table."
Unfortunately, within months, we were confronting dissidents and protesters who accused us of trying to advance Christian values in the schools. Yes, we were Christians, but we never sought to impose Christianity on our students. However, some liberal activists seemed to think that the word "rigorous" was somehow code for "religious."
Ultimately, I and other board members stepped down. The school survived, and today, the focus on "at risk kids" remains.
BACHMANN: We need that to do with education what has always worked historically, and that's local control with parents. What doesn't work is what we see happen right now. I'm a mom five biological kids. We've raised 23 foster children in our home. The reason why I got involved in politics was because of the concern I had about our foster children and the education they were getting. What I would do as president of the United States is pass the mother of all repeal bills on education. I would take the entire federal education law, repeal it. Then I would go over to the Department of Education, I'd turn off the lights, I would lock the door and I would send all the money back to the states and localities.
A: Well, I think I've demonstrated a lifetime of achievement and work. Both my husband and I worked our way through school. But we're also entrepreneurs. We started our own successful company, we've created a lot of jobs--plus, I have a very long history of educational reform. That's how I got started. We had 23 foster children. We'd started a charter school for at-risk kids, and I was very concerned what I was seeing in education. So we were able to accomplish something no one thought was possible, which was the repeal of an anti-academic excellence oriented program in Minnesota, and instead created academic excellence. I saw that you really can fight city hall and win, so to speak, and I took that spirit to Washington, D.C. I'm not a part of the good ol' boys club. But that's something I'm proud of. We need really bold reform, but we need someone who gets the private sector.
In 2011, Bachmann voted to re-establish the DC school voucher program. As a member of the State Senate, Q Bachmann voted to prohibit teacher strikes during the school year. She also voted to allow parents to use education tax credits for tuition at private schools. She's introduced legislation to make foster children eligible for education vouchers.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Bishop, R-UT]: In 1996, Congress insisted upon a charter school program in DC. You will hear from both sides of the aisle recognition of the great value that that program has, and justifiably so. There is a waiting list in DC for those charter schools. This bill increases the percentage of funding going to charter schools in the District. In 2003, an Opportunity Scholarship was instituted, at the insistence of Congress. Again, there was a waiting list of people wanting the opportunity; disadvantaged kids who wanted the opportunity that this scholarship afforded them. There were 216 kids at the time scheduled to enter the program who were not allowed; the bill remedies that.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Hastings, D-FL]: In the last 41 years voters have rejected private school vouchers every time they have been proposed. In 1981, 89% of the people in a referendum in DC voted against vouchers. So how dare we come here to tell these people that we are going to thrust upon them something they don't want without a single public official in this community being consulted. Congress' oversight of the District is not an excuse for political pandering to the Republicans' special interest of the day du jour.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. BETSY MARKEY (D, CO-4): This legislation will improve the learning environment for our children, reduce energy costs and create new jobs across the country. Green schools not only save school districts money but also teach the importance of sustainable living to children at a young age.
Opponent's argument to vote No: Rep. GLENN THOMPSON (R, PA-5): We all know our Nation is drowning in a sea of red ink. The bill we're debating today would add an estimated $40 billion in new spending. And despite the majority's hollow promises of fiscal responsibility, there's nothing in the legislation to offset this hefty price tag with spending reductions elsewhere. This is just more of the same borrow and spend, spend and borrow policy that we've seen under this majority and this administration.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. OBEY: This bill, more than any other, determines how willing we are to make the investment necessary to assure the future strength of this country and its working families. The President has chosen to cut the investments in this bill by more than $7.5 billion in real terms. This bill rejects most of those cuts.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. LEWIS: This bill reflects a fundamental difference in opinion on the level of funding necessary to support the Federal Government's role in education, health and workforce programs. The bill is $10.2 billion over the President's budget request. While many of these programs are popular on both sides of the aisle, this bill contains what can rightly be considered lower priority & duplicative programs. For example, this legislation continues three different programs that deal with violence prevention. An omnibus bill is absolutely the wrong and fiscally reckless approach to completing this year's work. It would negate any semblance of fiscal discipline demonstrated by this body in recent years.
Veto message from President Bush:
This bill spends too much. It exceeds [by $10.2 billion] the reasonable and responsible levels for discretionary spending that I proposed to balance the budget by 2012. This bill continues to fund 56 programs that I proposed to terminate because they are duplicative, narrowly focused, or not producing results. This bill does not sufficiently fund programs that are delivering positive outcomes. This bill has too many earmarks--more than 2,200 earmarks totaling nearly $1 billion. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.
Congressional Summary:Authorizes the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to award grants for qualified sexual risk avoidance education to youth and their parents. Requires such education to meet certain criteria, including:
Opponent's argument against bill: (Nick Wing on Huffington Post) How much could it cost to keep teenagers from having sex? More than $100 million per year over the course of five years would be a good starting place, according to the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act. The bill seeks to award $550 million in Affordable Care Act grants over five years to programs that provide teenagers with abstinence-only education.
The abstinence-only effort stands as an effective counter to the Democratic-backed Real Education for Healthy Youth Act. Introduced the same day as the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, the bill seeks to "expand comprehensive sex education programs in schools and ensure that federal funds are spent on effective, age-appropriate, medically accurate programs." The legislation would also set down guidelines calling for sexual health programs that receive federal funding to feature LGBT-inclusive language on a variety of issues, reject gender stereotypes and provide accurate information about HIV.
Congressional summary:: Strongly denouncing the President's coercion of States into adopting the Common Core State Standards by conferring preferences in Federal grants:
Opponent's argument against (CoreStandards.org): The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. 45 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards [not adopted in TX, NE, AK, MN, and VA]. The nation's governors and education commissioners, through their representative organizations the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the development of the Common Core State Standards and continue to lead the initiative. Teachers, parents, school administrators and experts from across the country together with state leaders provided input into the development of the standards.
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