Jim DeMint on Education
Republican Jr Senator; previously Representative (SC-4)
And that's why things like school choice are important. I don't want to use our education system to force my values on other people. But I want to make sure that if we're creating public funds for education, that they include those who want to put their children in schools where there is a worldview that represents our values and our faith, and it will raise kids in a way where they can be responsible citizens. That's not too much to ask.
I was opposed to NCLB but believed the opt-out provision would allow some states to demonstrate better ways to improve their schools. But in order to gain Democrats' support, Bush was forced to give up the state flexibility provision.
Bush's compromise with Democrats to pass NCLB resulted in more centralized federal control over public education and, ultimately, more spending to maintain an education system that continues to become increasingly less competitive with the rest of the world. It should really be called "More Children Left Behind."
Government cannot instill in children the character and discipline they need to become productive citizens. These must come from good parents and community-based schools that reflect the morals and principles individuals need to be successful in life.
A-PLUS would allow states to be innovative and, more importantly, to adapt their schools to the needs of students.
Competition for the best schools would raise the standards for schools throughout the nation. This could be a revolution in improving the quality of education American students receive, while the size and cost of the Department of Education could be significantly reduced.
The government cannot create the system of specialized and individualized schools necessary to give every student the opportunity to succeed. Education freedom would help America's fiscal and economic problems now and in the future.
DEMINT: I agree that we need to devolve a lot of power out of Washington.
Q; Getting rid of it completely, is that a good idea? No more Department of Education?
DEMINT: I can see a role of looking at best practices around the state. But the fact is pretty clear, since the federal government increased its involvement in the '60s, the quality of our education relative to the rest of the world has declined. And we spend more per student than any other country in the world. So I've introduced a bill to devolve a lot of power from the federal government back to the states.
Q: But that's not the same as abolishing it. A lot of money comes from the federal government.
DEMINT: Well, she's very bold to say it. The fact is, education would probably work a lot better without the Department of Education. You can do it in a common-sense, reasonable way that doesn't disrupt any of the activities that we support
True socialists will jealously guard the universal, government-run education system and fight all attempts to create more choices with competitive, independent schools. That gives the government (and those who run the government) control over the values and beliefs of every generation. Freedom lovers believe parents should have many choices of schools, and the money spent on public education should follow students to the school of their choice.
The president promised that if I withdrew my amendment, he would make sure the state flexibility provision would be added back at some point. I agreed to withdraw the amendment. The president said "trust me" when he promised the provision would be added back, but it never happened. The result of NCLB was more federal control of education and a lot more federal spending but no appreciable improvement in the quality of America's government-run education system
Pres. Bush thought the requirements to measure programs in No Child Left Behind would improve schools. They didn't. In fact, many teachers tell me the effort to "teach the test" in order to meet the requirements of NCLB is actually resulting in poor education. We are losing ground to practically every other industrialized country in the world.
However, in the 1962 "Engel v. Vitale" case, the Supreme Court ruled against a New York school board requiring every class to start each day with a prayer. Unfortunately, the Court did more than ban God and prayer from public schools. It implicitly banned everything else included in the [daily prayer]: respect and honor for parents, teachers, and country. When the Supreme Court banned the teaching of respect for God, it effectively rejected the traditionalist worldview and replaced it with a secular-socialist worldview. The "Engel v. Vitale" case began a cascade of court decisions & legislative action at the federal level that have dismantled the "wall of virtue" that has served as the foundation of freedom in America for generations.
Faith, virtue, and morality are essential elements of the character of individuals. Our government cannot instill these characteristics into our children. American should, therefore, demand the freedom to teach religious concepts and to apply the values derived from faith. Freedom of speech must include teaching and saying that some things are right and some things are wrong based on religious convictions and commo sense. We cannot allow our government to promote immoral destructive behavior or to classify religion-based moral opinions as "hate speech."
The development of faith and values begins at home, but parents should be able to send their children to school that reinforce their worldviews. Churches should consider how they could expand their ministry vision to include education and citizenship training. Faith without applications is meaningless, just as "faith without works is dead" (James 2:26).
The teachers' unions, and most Democrats have consistently opposed this idea. Central control of education is essential to their goals of central control of our culture. Those who want to decentralize the control of education support the A-PLUS Act as a simple and logical step toward creating a better education system through innovation, competition, and choice.
The Zelman decision means government and state legislators now have freedom to provide vouchers or tax credits for children to attend any school their parents choose--government, private, or religious. Considering most states now spend more than $10,000 per year for every child in government schools, even a $5,000 scholarship to independent schools would simulate the development of a wide range of new school choices.
Vouchers would encourage massive private-sector investments in America's education system. Rather than hurt public education, school choice would increase the number and quality of schools available to the public.
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 and 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.
Title: Expressing the sense of the Congress that public schools may display the words "God Bless America" as an expression of support for the Nation.
No DOE funds shall be available to any educational agency which prevents participation in constitutionally protected prayer in public schools by individuals on a voluntary basis. No educational agency shall require any person to participate in prayer or influence the form or content of any constitutionally protected prayer in such public schools.H.Con.Res.199 (Nov 19, 1999, Bonilla et. al.)
Expressing the sense of the Congress that prayers and invocations at public school sporting events contribute to the moral foundation of our Nation and urging the Supreme Court to uphold their constitutionality.H.J.RES. 54
Recognizing the authority of public schools to allow students to exercise their constitutional rights by establishing a period of time for silent prayer or meditation or reflection, encouraging the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and refusing to discriminate against individuals or groups on account of their religious character or speech.
The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:
To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education." The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
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