Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Some Races Just Shouldn’t Be Run

Some Races Just Shouldn’t Be Run

According to a NewsOK editorial July 27 (Editorial Staff), Oklahomans should be stunned that our state hasn’t yet announced its intentions to appeal to the Obama administration for a piece of the additional $500 million (Schlafly) tax payer dollars set aside by the Federal Department of Education to fund a Race to the Top Early Learning grant. If won, money from this grant could be used to fund programs in Oklahoma, like EduCare, founded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser even joined with the Obama administration in announcing the contest (Editorial Staff)- quite appropriate as Kaiser is a key Obama fundraiser (Carol D. Leonnig).

For the record, this is the same Kaiser Foundation whose lobbyist Margaret Erling confronted a State Senator on (McGuigan) the floor of the Senate about a bill to push back the date for Kindergarten two months (P. B. McGuigan)and the same organization who lobbied for and pushed Obamacare (Pinkerton) through the Oklahoma Department of Health and Human Services (Blatt).

Though Kaiser believes early education to be a moral obligation and the "most effective way to reverse the cycle of poverty in America" (Rolland), even his fellow progressives don’t agree philosophically on the role of education in poverty (Bernstein).

US Census data shows that poverty is directly correlated with marriage status (Wikipedia). Traditional families have 5% poverty rates –single parent families 26%. Wouldn’t private programs centered on incentivizing and strengthening the family unit be much more effective in reducing poverty in the United States than putting all ‘underserved’ infants through four year olds in publicly funded PreK programs?

Phyllis Schlafy concludes (Schlafly), "The premise that poverty causes illiteracy is fundamentally wrong. In the 18th and 19th centuries when Americans were pitifully poor by today's standards, we had almost complete literacy." In fact, since LBJ introduced the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965, states have been given over 116 BILLION (Schlafly) tax payer dollars (in addition to those supplied at the state/county level) for educational efforts, yet by 2003 this system has produced a literacy proficiency rate of only 13% in graduates (adults) (U.S. Department of Education).

Cato Institute sees this new round of RTT as “a recipe for the ultimate federal control of pre-K (McCluskey) and how could it not be so? When the federal government takes money from states, then makes states apply to get the money back based on the fulfillment of specific government-ordered criteria, the government is now in control. This is Statism (Wikipedia, Statism) – the complete antithesis of our American Founder’s prescription of Federalism (Olivastro)and the principles of the Republican Party (Party). Why in the world would the Republicans newly elected as Governor and State Superintendent of Public Instruction apply for a program that is essentially a slap in the face to their constituency?

Lastly, with households getting more money from the federal government than they are giving (Cooper) and our national debt increasing nearly 4 billion dollars daily (U.S. National Debt Clock), indebting our nation in order to administer, “…top-down directives forcing states to adopt programs favored by Washington” (McNeil) would seem in opposition not only to the tenets of our Constitutional Republic, but plain old common sense fiscal reality.

Bibliography

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Carol D. Leonnig, Joe Stephens and Alice Crites. "Post Politics." 25 June 2011. Washington Post. 16 August 2011 .

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—. "Editorial Page." 2 June 2011. NewsOk. 16 August 2011 .

McCluskey, Neal. "CATO at Liberty." 26 May 2011. CATO Institute. 16 August 2011 .

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—. Statism. 2011. 16 August 2011 .