Common Core vs Common Sense

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August 29, 2014 by JImbo


Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Sues Feds over Common Core Program Violation of Constitution

In a nutshell, the Governor is arguing that you can’t promise to “waive” Federal laws for states if they do what you want.

The historical basis for the claim is a big muddled in practice.

Legally, the courts have upheld the idea that you can give additional funding for related projects.

For example, the Federal government gives more money to fix roads to states that adopt the Federal 55 mph speed limits. Since they both relate to highway safety, the reasoning was that it was two parts of the same coin.

The courts have said that the Feds CAN’T link two different things simply for the sake of intimidation to get a desired result.

For example, when money was given to states for projects that were entirely unrelated to health care in return for them adopting Obamacare. You can’t say “Help us with Obamacare and we’ll give you money for roads.” They are entirely unrelated issues and one shouldn’t impact the other unless you are using it for political leverage (according to the judges)

It gets fuzzy which case this will fall under.

The Governor has a point that this violates the 10th Amendment which states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Yes, education IS a state function. It isn’t a Federal function. The lawsuit says: “What started as good state intentions has materialized into the federalization of education policy through federal economic incentives and duress.”

So, he’s arguing that the Feds are trying to bribe the State into giving up its rights to running its own educational system. That’s a big claim. Can they back it up?

(I know they can if they try. There is ample evidence of that. However, that’s up to the lawyers to do.)

They may have been buttressed recently by the case of the Obamacare insurance exchanges. The Feds tried to “Federalize” the STATE run exchanges there too. They claimed it was because “The law really meant Federal when the language in the bill says “State. The writers of the bill just made a mistake.”

No lie.

THAT was their case.

In fancier lawyer-speak anyway.

The judges tossed it out and said basically “If they had meant Federal they would have wrote Federal. You lose.”

I don’t expect the Feds will STOP there. It is power after all and what politician doesn’t want more power?

Still, that ruling could have impact on this case. Yes, the Common Core is being pushed by a P.R. department at the Federal Department of Education. And yes, the standards in some states (like here in New York) are essentially copy-and-pasting those standards and calling them “State Standards.”

However, they ARE still at least technically STATE Standards. It may be plagiarism and unimaginative, but as long as it is the STATE Education Depts running things those are still STATE standards.

So, it’s likewise the right of the people and governments in those states to decide if they want to keep them, change them, or throw them out.

Now… IS it fair to waive the “No Child Left Behind” provisions if a state adopts the “Common Core” standards?

That would be like saying “We’ll let you sell cars without seatbelts in your state if you make the speed limit 45 mph.”

Yes, you COULD make the case that the two are tangentially related. Much like lower speeds would make accidents less dangerous… and hence seat belts aren’t needed (as much)….I guess…. you COULD make the case that tangentially if “Common Core” is good for kids’ educations… then you don’t need the No Child Left Behind rules.

I’m not saying those are GREAT arguments but that is basically what the Federal government is saying.

It’ll be an interesting case. Personally I think both programs/laws are crappy and useless. The Federal government really should have no role in education. Period.

It’s just a waste of time and money to give jobs to bureaucrats and centralize control.

Consider how many levels of government are already involved with your school district.

Between my house and the school about 2 miles away, there are FIVE levels of government involved (before you even get to the teachers and kids)

1-School Board

2-Town (Village too if you’re in the village)




If this were anything BUT school, I could contract with the school for a service like any other. If education were a private thing I could simply choose who to educate my kids (if I had any) and then pay them.

Problem solved.

No, ALL of these levels of government have to handle my tax money FIRST. Don’t think that causes waste, inefficiency and abuse? Let’s look at this closer shall we?

Let’s say that each level of government is VERY efficient (by government standards) and 90% of the money gets to the next level. That’s actually very high but I’m feeling generous.

Step 1- I pay my taxes to the IRS. They take 10% for “administrative fees”, leaving 90% to go to the Federal Dept of Education.

Step 2- The Federal Dept of Education takes 10% for “administrative fees” and the other 81% is sent to the State Dept of Education.

Step 3- The State Dept of Education takes their 10% cut for “administrative fees”, leaving 73% to go to the School District.

Step 4- The County doesn’t really directly take a cut, but they just skim off the top for county-wide programs. You know, “inter-district coordination” and all. But yeah, another 10%. That leaves about 66% to go to the actual school.

Step 5- Then of course once in the District, you have staff that have to manage how that money is distributed… into which classrooms, etc.

Step 6- So, that leaves about 59% of the money I paid in to actually go towards EDUCATION.

How many people along the way had “administrative” jobs and simply “managed distribution of funds?”

Now remember, 90% is VERY EFFICIENT for a government organization. Normally it’s much lower than that.

You can apply the same sorts of levels of administration except add a couple MORE for health care.. especially with Obamacare in the mix.

That’s just an argument for monetary responsibility. Then there is the argument against centralization of authority.

Power corrupts. Why give more people more power? Why do you want to give ALL of those faceless bureacrats at ALL of those levels of government power over your money? Why tempt them with the ability to swindle a little extra or push their agenda on you? Besides, what PRODUCTIVE things are they doing? How can we ever get our country to be productive while we are increasing the legions of people who do nothing but sit in an office and “administratively distribute funds” that had NO REASON TO GO THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Why do we just accept this as “normal?”

You give money directly to your local fire dept.

You give it to your local police dept.

You pay your mechanic directly.

Those are relatively cheap and effective services.

Who don’t you pay directly? Your DOCTOR maybe? And how expensive is health care again?

Your school? Costs rising astronomically.

See a pattern here?

The more “middle men” (and women) involved, the more inefficient, ineffective and expensive the “solution” gets.

“Consolidarity”… The idea that government at the lowest level solves problems the best.


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