Sunday, July 01, 2007

Reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act

I've heard it said before that all the good debates on the important issues of our day are taking place amongst conservatives.

Iraq? The lefties debate only how fast to remove our forces. Conservatives debate what to do there, what constitutes winning, how to win.

Immigration? The lefties want amnesty, open borders, and no ID checks to vote, ostensibly to increase votes for Democrats. Conservatives have a genuine debate over amnesty (heck, even the President appears to support it), over how and how much to secure the borders, and over naturalization for those illegals already here.

Abortion? Every single Democrat presidential candidate is pro-abortion. Republican candidates occupy both sides of the debate.

Global warming? It's not the left who considers the possibility that it's a natural, cyclical occurrence.

Education? Liberal activists (outside of those in Congress) want NCLB ended. Conservatives have a diversity of views.

Just as an example, at last week's Concerned Educators Against Forced Unionism conference, I initiated some lively discussion with a speaker from the (conservative) Heritage Foundation, who, on the grounds of federalism, wanted to see NCLB gone. Additionally, he wanted to see federal education dollars go to states with few strings, for the states to do with as they see fit--again, under the banner of federalism.

I asked what was conservative about giving money to states with minimal accountability. While I understand the federalism argument, I say that if the feds have to be in the education business at all, there should be accountability a la NCLB. My view is a sort of Realpolitik, but I can justify on conservative grounds just as strongly as did the speaker from Heritage. has an interesting piece on conservatives who are lining up to challenge the reauthorization of NCLB. The closing is brilliant:

But even one of NCLB’s most prominent supporters said the White House can no longer ignore the law’s critics. “I believe No Child Left Behind will eventually be reauthorized and should be, but I think that Senators DeMint and Cornyn’s proposal needs to be taken very seriously,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told me last week. “I would expect that their concerns will have to be accommodated somehow in the legislation.”

For all his stubbornness on immigration, President Bush would be wise to follow that advice. Extending his hand to critics now would present an opportunity to patch up the wounds inflicted during the immigration debate. It might also lead to a better bill.
Even the comments at the end of the article span a variety of positions.

The diversity of opinions is on the right; there's nothing "progressive" about the left.


allenm said...

Unfortunately, left is direction that most politicians lean. If you take a look at *all* left-wing ideas, what they have in common is the concentration of some sort of power in the hands of the select few.

How many politicians are capable of resisting the attraction of more power? Especially over time and for ostensibly good, even noble causes? Not many, on the evidence. But all that means is that this really is a representative form of government.

How many people who aren't politicians and would never consider running for public office could resist the attraction of more power of any kind? Even petty, unimportant power? Same answer.

The framers of the Constitution understood the materials they had to build a country: themselves. The wonder is that, taking a look at themselves, the framers didn't see the natural rulers of mankind but people no worse or better then the people walking by on the street. That's such a distinctly *unnatural* thought that if I were looking for evidence of a more advanced culture of space aliens meddling in the affairs of us mere humans, I'd start with the framers.

Pretty much everything they put in the Constitution was put there just to stop the acquisition of power. The separation of powers, the Tenth amendment, the Bill of Rights, state's rights and more were consciously selected impediments to the acquisition of even one smidgen more power then the absolute minimum necessary to the functioning of the office.

So there's your left/right divide and why the left is barren of new ideas. All their ideas are just different approaches to the same goal. Ours aren't.

Darren said...

Very well put. Good God, have truer words been spoken?

Unknown said...

Ironic, isn't it?

Law and Order Teacher said...

Isn't it interesting that the left's answer to the information in Allen's very fine post, is that the Constitution is a "living document." Code for let's change judicially what we can't change in the marketplace of ideas, or legislatively.

Ellen K said...

I wish both parties would get rid of the concept of "litmus tests". I think we lose far too many good candidates due to their views on a single issue. As for the left/right thing, I think both parties tend to pander to their extremes in normal times then vacillate to the middle during campaigns. I do find most liberals very intolerant of opposing views. I don't agree with every conservative agenda that comes down the pike, but I have never been cussed out by a conservative for having different opinions.

Anonymous said...

I have never been cussed out by a conservative for having different opinions.

Interesting. I've never met a conservative who had anything other than contempt for those who disagree with him; neither have I met a conservative who was willing to look at evidence and change his mind.

FWIW, I live in a county that tracks 60% Republican.

Darren said...

Michael, your experiences apparently don't track with those of Ellen and me. And I live in an area that's pretty much a 50/50 split. Interestingly, what you say about conservatives, I say about liberals.

Funny that, no?