North Dakota needs to tell the federal government to take a hike when it comes to education. Rep. Oley Larsen (R – District 3) – a former teacher himself – proposed Senate Bill 2180 earlier this month which would do just that. SB 2180 proposes to have the state deny any federal funding for education that has strings attached to it. A committee hearing was held on January 18th and a committee vote is expected any time now. Perhaps as early as today.
The most stunning find in the debate over this bill was found (oddly enough) in the Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) own documentation. In a document titled, “REPORT OF FUND GROUP 1 REVENUE AND EXPENDITURES AND AVERAGE COST PER PUPIL FOR 2014-2015”, they showed that of the 179 schools listed, there were 163 of them that had surplus funds beyond the amount received from the federal government . Fargo and West Fargo schools alone had over $42 million in surplus. The 16 schools that did not have surplus funds were, for the most part, reservation and air base schools.
What do these figures mean? It is quite simple. North Dakota does not need federal education funds. In fact, these funds account for just 8% of the total education budget in North Dakota. Yet, how much control do we give up for that 8%? A lot. Does “Goals 2000”, “No Child Left Behind”, and “Race to the Top” mean anything to you (all failed federal education programs)? States have been strong-armed or bribed into these programs. Federal education funding doubled from 1995 to 2003 and yet national testing shows a flat-line in results. The Common Core State Standards and Every Student Succeeds Act are two of the newest ideas.
In addition to the above-mentioned educational programs, we might also mention former First Lady Michelle Obama’s school lunch program, and the more recent transgender bathroom dictum that came down from her husband and former President, Barrack Obama, to the states.
Why does North Dakota put up with the unconstitutional federal meddling in education? Especially for 8% of the budget? We shouldn’t.
Please make time early this morning and contact the Senate Education Committee. Ask them to give this a Do Pass recommendation. The link to members of the committee will be shown below. Let’s let our representatives know that North Dakota can set it’s own course for education and that our children should no longer be subjected to the whims of an intrusive federal government.
Senate Education Committee link: