A local (really good) blog, Holly on the Hill, ran a piece two days ago about Utah’s 10th Amendment rights. Among the replies were some progressive thinkers not entirely enthusiastic about the efforts under way to restore Utah sovereignty (shock). One, who goes by initials JBT, asked the following;
I am asking the conservative readers of this blog to share with myself and others specific examples of how the federal government has encroached upon their rights as an individual.
Remember the operative words here are “SPECIFIC” and “INDIVIDUAL”. Vague and generalized statements are not on topic and don’t belong in this discussion.
Today another replier, Jacob, stated the following;
I would say the silence is deafening.
Some in our movement just cannot seem to walk away from such challenges even though the headache received from banging one’s head against the progressive wall is well known. I won’t say who the person was that replied but next time I see him in the mirror I will remind him how little good this often does. However, JBT did manage to help remind me of why our efforts are so important and I think you may pick up on that in what I wrote. Here is what I felt (yep, replied with feelings, another mistake):
“It is quiet, I would venture to say most conservative readers are not willing to invest time and energy to once again attempt to explain why our country was built, successfully, on the notion of personal responsibility and self-government at the lowest level. Also, it would appear many are weary of those who embrace more federal authority over local authority; those who believe states are more vicious than D.C.; those who believe our lives are better when entitlement is mandated from the highest level instead of under the designs of the U.S. Constitution. It may simply be there are so many more important things to invest time in than a question on specifics, with a caveat on ‘their’ when it is all citizens, since there are too many tangled ways mandating from the highest to the lowest has drained resources and impacted lives. However, this would constitute vague, generalized statements I suppose so let us turn to a more specific.
Education is in the local news as we are once again short of money and cutting education as a means to balance the budget. 500 jobs lost in a school system that has a growing demand for teachers based on population growth. Since federal intervention began in the late 1940s and the Department of Education was given to us under Pres. Carter in the 70′s, spending on education has drastically increased while scholastic success has decreased. (Let us not bother with the vague fact education is not a federal duty but a state duty or, depending on each states’ constitution, perhaps an individual duty according the federal rules under the Constitution and 10th Amendment, that will simply muddy the reply. Also, we won’t bother splitting hairs between rights and privileges, that would not fit within the replies rules. ) Since schools were still struggling while students’ scholastic scores steadily declined, and there was far more money being spent it would seem likely someone might consider the size and cost of the now ever-growing federal bureaucracy wasting dollars our teachers and students could be using for education as a potential problem but that was not the answer federal level politicians embraced.
Pres. Bush had a much better idea, more federal interference with the ‘No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA)’ added on top of the already over expanded list of ‘programs’ that would benefit my grand children’s education. (Of course this additional multi-billion dollar program has some good ideas in it (along with bad), the problem with these federal programs is not that some ideas are not good it is they are too expensive, too poorly managed, and too generalized which is precisely why education would be better served at the lowest level where the resources are obtained anyway. )
One key area created was the funding gap between what the act promises to pay and what is budgeted to be paid, a gap that leaves states with the tab on yet another program federally mandated (I have no idea why we are once again cutting education, do you?) Whoops, still this is generalized because it impacts all children subjected to federal oversight of the NEA whose motto is “Great Public Schools for Every Child,” and every is general.
Let’s get more individual and specific. Teaching is a passion for people, our daughter shared the passion, loving the children as they grow and learn in her classes. NCLBA requires a tremendous amount of paperwork (among other things) so to fulfill the federal reporting requirements it was decided, at her school, teachers would teach one less class period so they could stay on top of the administration of NCLBA (as the district cannot afford to hire more administrators since there are already too many of them trying to keep up with DOE and state demands as it is) and other paperwork requirements. Class size at the time was roughly 1 to 18 in her classes. Since one less class was being taught and there were no additional teachers (couldn’t afford that with the dag~nab pesky funding gap) class sizes had to be increased to nearly 1 to 30. Students get less attention but are tested more often on the knowledge they should (according to our fed) be learning in the now larger sizes. Classroom management challenges naturally increase with the additional students. Less classes taught mean less time spent where her heart is and more time spent pushing additional paperwork (not working on lesson plans and fun things that benefit the learning environment) which means less incentive to stay in a profession she is very good in and loved at one time so deeply. Students, in the meantime, have less personal attention and when struggling are not afforded the necessary time they were use to previously.
I know, it didn’t impact me directly…just my children and grandchildren, but I served this country to protect their future life, liberty and ability to pursue happiness. The federal mandates, with their demands and funding gaps, drain state, local, and personal resources. Even though our children are grown and gone from our home we pay more than ever in taxes to fund schools that still don’t have enough funding. It is not that you and I cannot afford to give our children quality education with wonderful teachers. It is that the money we should be using for that is being sucked to the highest, least competent (Constitutionally) level of government and we lose though you will no doubt believe we somehow gain and would be somehow worse off if the federal encroachment were not a part of our daily education.
I for one wish the states would have stood in the way of the federal encroachments of the 1940s, 60s, 70s, and 2000s but they failed in their 10th Amendment duties then. Our education system would be flourishing under local, parental competency because we would control it as we were to do under the concept of a Federalist Republic. If it were not flourishing we would be able to see more clearly where the challenges were instead of looking through tangles of federal bureaucratic growth. (Oh my gosh, I think you are smart enough to help?? Yes, I do.) I, for one, will demand today we dutifully stand for all efforts surrounding the restoration of a localized, personal responsibility based system of government. Nationalized programs don’t work. The war on poverty has failed. The war on drugs has failed. Federal mandates have not improved states but have drained them of resources we need. But, those are vague, generalized statements and I have invested far too much time with this reply.”
Gary Wood is the Educational Advisor for the Utah Tenth Amendment Center. Co-founder of the Heritage Training Center, focused on helping end constitutional illiteracy. With 35 years of devoted study of our Constitution his desire is to help others rediscover the inspiring heritage of the United States. Radio show host, training officer, lifetime member of the VFW and most importantly Grandpa.
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