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[Susan notes: Although I believe there have been some good federal edicts regarding public education, the letter certain scores points with regard NCLB. It seems that a lot of people make a lot of money forcing other people to beg for money.]

Published in Appleton Post-Crescent

To the editor

Letters: Federal involvement in education wasted

Though I study politics every day as part of my job, I found it difficult to vote for any candidate this past November because I knew how the issues and facts were being distorted in ads by the candidates or conveniently ignored.

I'll pick on Democrats since they seem to mainly have won. Gov. Doyle in his campaign claimed that Mark Green, Bush and the Republicans in Washington had reduced federal education spending.

This claim had almost no validity. In fact, the Republicans merely reduced the increase in education spending. All told, the Republicans have raised K-12 federal education spending by nearly 40 percent since Bush took office.

As campaign attacks raged over this issue, the most important detail was completely ignored: whether federal involvement in education is wise.

Consider what happens when the federal government gets involved unconstitutionally involved.

The federal government taxes us to provide education monies. The Department of Education then "administers" the money. Some money gets apportioned based on federal mandates, such as No Child Left Behind, eating up money in administration costs. Some of the money is disbursed when school staff write grants to beg for money. Time and money are wasted by both those writing the grants and by those reading the grants.

Some of the federal money goes to state departments of education if they follow intrusive federal guidelines or write "good" grants. Then the state "administers" the money in much the same way as the federal government. All of these activities waste time and money; none improve student performance.

As a former public school teacher, I cannot recall a single federal edict that improved student learning. Even the much-vaunted No Child Left Behind Act is little more than a threat: Succeed or else. It's more a Full-bureaucracy Employment Act. What foolishness!

Kurt Williamsen

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