Local column: Bring education decisions back to Idaho

Idaho’s parents know what is best for their children. Let them make education decisions, writes Joseph Sacco.

Recently, Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador discussed in an op-ed published on Idaho Politics Weekly that Idaho’s schools need local control. I happen to agree with this sentiment. For years the states have labored under the auspices of the Department of Education. This department was ostensibly formed to leverage the power of the federal government when it came to schools all across the country.

The Department of Education was formed in 1979, under the presidency of Jimmy Carter. It has a current annual budget of $68 billion dollars. So my very simple question is this: Where is all that money going to?

Schools across the country have to rely on the federal government and its money to continue because it was set up that way. But one could argue that if it took over 200 years for the government to form a Department of Education, why did the need suddenly arise in the latter half of the 20th century?

Congressman Labrador goes on to argue that decisions regarding education should rest with the people who understand the problem the best. That means that the parents and legislatures in each state should be the ones determining what their children learn. That means taking the decision making away from the bureaucrats in Washington and deciding what is best for the children of Idaho.

The Department of Education likes to push one-size-fits-all solutions to perceived problems in the education system around the country. But these types of solutions rarely produce the intended results. The roll out of Common Core has been messy and represents some of the worst government meddling in a system that was not that broken to begin with. Lest we forget, President Bush signed into law No Child Left Behind; another large scale federal program that did not have the intended effect.

According to Pew Research, the United States ranks around the middle in the world in mathematics, science and reading. Why is this happening if the Department of Education is in place to ensure that every child in a public school is succeeding 100 percent? Can we not agree that maybe the mandated mission of this agency is not working as intended?

My first column for the Post Register also addressed public education in both Idaho and the United States. The website Education Week ranked Idaho 47th in the nation in overall grades and scores in 2016. I argued then, as I will now, that there are two options available: Either modify the current system to make it more flexible for parents to choose what is best for their children, or abolish the federal education system altogether.

Congressman Labrador is arguing for those same points. He has proposed the dismantling of Common Core and the abolition of the Department of Education. Since the Department believes that throwing money at the problem will solve it, it would seem that the best solution would be to rid the country of the Department. Moving towards state control of education is the best option for the children and parents of Idaho.


Sacco is a 9 year Navy veteran with an Undergraduate degree in Homeland Security. Contact him on Twitter @saccjp


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