THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, USA

An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Volume VI, Issue # 104, May 22, 2004
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor
Government Committed to & Acting in Accord with Conservative Principles
Ensures a Nation's Strength, Progress, & Prosperity
Home Page   Main Menu   Recent Articles   Site Map   Website Index   Issues & Controversies
  Cyberland University   Political Science, Philosophy, & History: Lectures   U.S. Constitution
  American Constitutional Law   American Constitutional System   American Political System
  Conservatism, Liberalism, & Radicalism   How America Goes to War
  World War IV: Islamist Terror War Against the U.S.A. & the West

INNOVATIVE IDEAS FOR IMPROVING EDUCATION:
IDEAS DERIVED FROM REAL-LIFE EDUCATION EXPERIENCE
By Thomas G. Tancredo

FULL STORY:   As a former public school teacher and the U.S. Secretary of Educationís Regional Representative for the West, I understand what works and what doesnít work in our education system. And I am committed to putting this experience to work in improving our schools Ė public and private.
THE NEED FOR IMPROVING EDUCATION
Recent tests and studies have shown that the academic performances of American students on both the national and international levels are far below standards needed to excel in todayís global economy. The statistics are sobering. On the national level, forty percent of fourth-graders still cannot read at a basic level, and half of the students from urban school districts fail to graduate on time, if at all. Public institutions of higher education are required to spend over $1 billion annually on remedial education.

Despite the increase in federal spending on education over the last several decades, students are clearly not learning at their greatest potential. Today, the federal government spends billions of dollars on over 800 education programs administered by 39 federal agencies. The increase in bureaucracy that has accompanied this growth has resulted in burdensome paperwork and reporting requirements (over 48.6 million pages are produced each year to comply with federal regulations), leaving as little as 80 cents of every education dollar for the classroom. As we all know, what might work for the kids in Colorado is very different from what might be needed in New York, Mississippi, or Montana. Yet the current system of federal grants-in-aid to the schools insists on a one-size-fits-all approach to education -- an approach that is not working. We can and must do better.

THE NEED FOR INOVATIVE IDEAS
I believe that now is the time to implement creative, innovative ideas for improving education. Rather than relying solely on increased federal funding, efforts must be made to return control, decision-making authority, and money back to the local level -- back to the teachers, parents, and school boards to whom we entrust our children, back to the arrangement that was originally intended in the United States Constitution. Congress can best do this by focusing their efforts on putting more of the federal education dollars back into the classroom, and not on bureaucrats who never see the classroom. I also believe that, before Congress provides funding for new education programs, Congress should first and foremost fulfill its long-standing obligation to IDEA, i.e., its obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Without this critical funding, state and local school districts have been forced to divert money from other important programs to meet the existing mandate of IDEA. By fully funding the federal governmentís share of IDEA, local school districts will be able to spend more money on other priorities, such as school construction, hiring teachers, or improving school technology.

The No Child Left Behind Act, while heavily touted by supporters, does little to embrace state and local level educational needs. In fact, the act has proved next to impossible to implement -- as well as to fund -- and places unnecessary stress on local school districts, as it fails to take into account the needs of individual schools. Instead, Congress should pass legislation that would give local schools and school districts more flexibility in spending education dollars as they see fit, giving states like Colorado the option of establishing a performance agreement with the U.S. Secretary of Education. States or school districts which have their agreement approved would be able to combine funds from a few or all of the federal K-12 education programs they administer at the state level and use those funds as they see fit. In exchange for this flexibility, participating states would be held to strict accountability standards.

This freedom would allow states and local school districts to use federal education dollars to advance their own priorities, such as reducing class sizes, hiring new teachers, or buying new textbooks and computers, as long as they meet the goals spelled out under their performance agreement. State and local education leaders know better how to tailor their education programs to meet the unique needs of their students than Washington bureaucrats who have never visited the school or the state.

Congress and state and local governments must also help the limited and zero English proficient children of immigrants to learn English as soon as possible, thereby enabling them to achieve the same high level of academic success as their English-speaking peers. We should also provide parents the right to choose whether or not their children participate in bilingual education programs and allow states and local governments, along with parents, to choose the types of English language instruction provided to limited and zero English proficient children.

With the controversy over bilingual education between the Denver Public School (DPS) system and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), we learned that there were some cases where Hispanic students were enrolled in bilingual classes for the entire twelve years of their schooling. Unfortunately, some students graduating from high school still did not have a full grasp of the English language.

It is for this reason that I strongly support efforts to reform the bilingual education system in this country. While I understand and fully support efforts to encourage our children to become multilingual, the system that is currently in place is clearly not working. We need to implement programs that have certain standard criteria in place for the entrance and exit from bilingual education programs, criteria based on whether a student has the English skills necessary for success in the mainstream classrooms. We also need to include instructional components that will ensure that students can learn English using the most efficient and effective approaches as possible. Finally, we must limit the amount of time that students are enrolled in such programs. A three-year program has been deemed by the U.S. Department of Education and most experts as adequate time for a student to be in such a program.

Most importantly our nationís education policy must stress the importance of parental involvement. Involved parents, after all, can hold our schools accountable, ensuring that our kids come first.

LINKS TO RELATED TOPICS:
Education & America's Schools

A Practical Guide to Homeschooling



Thomas G. Tancredo is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the Sixth Congressional District of Colorado.




Return to Top of Page

Go to the WEBSITE INDEX

Return to Beginning of
THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, USA,
Public Issues & Political Controversies


Return to Beginning of
THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, USA,
Volume VI, 2004


Return to Beginning of
THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, USA,
Subject Matter Highlights, Page Two


Return to Beginning of
THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, USA,
Subject Matter Highlights, Page One


Return to POLITICAL EDUCATION Homepage

CONTACT & ACCESS INFORMATION




LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:

Africa: Black Africa * Africa: North Africa * American Government 1
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * France
Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control


This is not a commercial website. The sole purpose of the website is to share with interested persons information regarding civics, civic and social education, political science, government, politics, law, constitutional law and history, public policy, and political philosophy and history, as well as current and recent political developments, public issues, and political controversies.



THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, USA
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor
Conservative & Free-Market Analysis of Government, Politics & Public Policy, Covering Political, Legal, Constitutional, Economic, Cultural, Military, International, Strategic, & Geopolitical Issues

POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.

Government, Politics, Public Policy, Legal Issues, Constitutional Law, Government & the Economy, Cultural Values, Foreign Affairs, International Relations, Military Defense & National Security, Geopolitics, Terrorism & Homeland Security, American National Interests, Political Systems & Processes, Political Institutions, Political Ideologies, & Political Philosophy