By Scott Tibbs, July 26, 2013
When the House of Representatives voted to significantly alter the No Child Left Behind Act last week, it was both refreshing and instructive. It was refreshing to see Republicans repudiate the Bush Administration's significant expansion of the federal government's role in K-12 education, and it was instructive to see how Democrats reacted to it.
Just six short years after the Republicans took over Congress and started a serious discussion about moving federal power back to the states, a Republican President was significantly expanding the role of the federal government, and NCLB is just one example of that. The Tea Party movement was as much a response to the leftward drift of the GOP as it was to Barack Obama's wild-eyed spending. It is encouraging to see Republicans move back toward a more limited-government stance.
Congressman George Miller (D-CA) said the effort to move standards back to the states moved the country "back to a time when students were left out of the system." This reaction is interesting. Does Miller think that the 50 state legislatures are incompetent to set educational standards for K-12 schools in their states? Does Miller think the 50 state legislatures will not act in the best interest of students in their states? Does Miller have no confidence in state departments of education, not to mention local school boards?
Miller's comment betrays an unfortunate worldview - that all solutions must come from Washington, D.C. So many times when we have a problem, we do not look to local or state government to solve it. Instead, we look to our masters in Washington. The men who founded this country would be appalled at such an attitude. The founders were skeptical of an all-powerful central government, and with good reason. It is a scary attitude.