Saturday, February 18, 2006

Federal Funding For Schools

Matt has an excellent post on hypocrisy:

While I have not studied the Bush budget to any real degree, it strikes me as funny that groups that argue that the federal government is getting too involved in education, now complain when the Federal government cuts the purse strings. It is only through the spending power of Congress that the federal government has any way of enforcing educaiton policy on the states.

Pick a side and stick with. Either you want the federal money, in which case you must play by Congress's political rules, or your don't want the money. But you can't complain when the government cuts funding if you want the money with no strings attached.


Coach Brown said...

Ok, but if you want us to play by the Federal rules, you better stop with the "unfunded mandate" jive. I have no problem making education more localized, but if the Federal government wants NCLB, they better pay for NCLB.

Darren said...

Coach, 7% of California's education budget comes from the feds--at least, that's the figure I always here tossed around. Seems like they're paying a lot.

And STAR testing predates NCLB, and the grades tested and subjects tested are far in excess of what NCLB requires. In other words, there's not a cent of unfunded mandate from the feds here.

We don't have to give any tests. The only thing we'd lose by not giving them is 7% of our education budget. What are you willing to do without?

Old Math said...

Utah has considered opting out of NCLB but has not done so. Perhaps they made a rational economic decision that the benefit of the funding outweighs the "disadvantage" of the mandate. Not surprising since federal spending on education has increased greatly during the Bush administration.

At any rate California has the same option. It is a very similar situation to military recruiting on college campus. If schools want to accept monies from the federal government they also are required to allow free speech from the defenders of that government.

rightwingprof said...

"Ok, but if you want us to play by the Federal rules, you better stop with the "unfunded mandate" jive. I have no problem making education more localized, but if the Federal government wants NCLB, they better pay for NCLB."

NCLB mandates that students pass a standardized exam. Exactly what do you want additional money for? How is it the schools need more money to do what they should have been doing all along?

What's to pay for?

Coach Brown said...

What's to pay for?

You could start by paying teachers a professional wage for a career that requires post-graduate work.

Then you pay for all the people you are going to need to hire to help pass English Language Learners, since NCLB makes very little distinction when calculating scores if the student has any comprehension in English, or not.

Then you can bring back all the Title One money you are about to cut from the budget. See, since the Federal government refuses to address the crisis of illegal immigrants in California (under federal jurisdiction), the State is under more pressure to, again, pass a standardized test that has no point except to satisfy some lame political agenda.

Then pay for the vocational projects that you continue to cut since you have your head up your ass about everyone needing to follow the college prep courseline. God fordbid that a student can't do algebra, but can weld an aircraft carrier blindfolded. Makes perfect sense to cut the funding to essential programs. You know; electricians, plumbers, welders, auto techs, craftsmen.....those industries that don't involve an NCLB mandated test.

Then pay for the Special Education laws that President Ford signed us into in 1975, paving the way for schools to spend massive amounts of money meeting every single need of kids that are given an IEP. Then also pay for the hundreds of thousands that the district has to pay in court costs to try and fight unreasonable parents that constantly abuse the law.

Oh yea, speaking about the President's Special Education law (ie: unfunded mandate), he better be quick with the cash. Over the last 10 years, special education costs to the districts have risen over 200%.

Speaking of funding, lets not forget the wonderful catagorical cash programs that schools are promised year after year, and then denied when it comes time to pay up. Digital High School, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Vocational Education. Like any other institution, schools budget for this funding, and depend on recieving it.

And as for the "opting out" clause of NCLB, we are either naive or lying now aren't we? You think that the Federal government would simply sit back and leave California alone, not excuting some other withholding if they didn't go with the program (speed limit ring a bell?) Since we happen to be the largest contributor to the Federal tax base, I propose that California withhold that estimated percentage of Federal Education spending, and apply it directly to the schools! That way, we can actually pay for the social services (you know, busing, food, shelter, utilities, mandated textbooks, IEP modifications, assistants, police, books for libraries) for kids that are coming across the border under the nose of the federal government. Maybe then the government will consider funding the right programs, not some stupid ass "American Competitiveness Initiative", which is poli-speak for "I haven't a goddamn clue about what is really going on in the classroom, but this sounds really profound."

As a Republican, yes, a Republican, I'm all for eliminating total Federal interferance in the Education system. Make the system state and local (eliminate the county level while we are at it) and create educational INSTITUTIONS. Eliminate the "Oakland" style of budgeting and demand accountability. Demand more from students, administrators and teachers, but fund what you mandate. I'm still waiting for the "fiscal responsibility" portion of my party. I'm not into drinking the Neo-con Koolaid that so many Republicans seem to be satisfied with. It isn't as black and white as you think.

And if you have to ask "What to pay for?" in this state, in this day and age, then you are obviously not a high school teacher.

Darren said...

Coach, if you think Algebra I is a "college track" math course, I encourage you to think again. It's not even a high-school-level course.

I question why you think the feds should pay for so many things. Why should the feds pay for special ed? They only require that the states do what they should be doing anyway.

It's not the feds who cut voc ed classes, and it's not the feds who set the pay scale (talk to your union about that).

As for the rest of your rant--well, I'll assume you've had a rough weekend.