Thursday, September 21, 2006

Response to the push for federal education standards

Be cautious about advocating for federal control over any issue. The feds are simply an aggregation of state officials and bureaucrats - no better, though more power-hungry. Sometimes we forget that the drive to game the system is found at all levels of government.

Having the feds involved creates a positive impression simply because we have been taught to believe in the omniscience of the greater governmental power. That's why issues move up the chain of control, since those who are unhappy with their local situation appeal to the next level of government for redress.

A true market doesn't need governmental control as all can be satisfied with their own choices. Of course, some are only satisfied when we all are required to select the supposed correct public good.

The movement of standards from the local level to the federal level will not reduce the politics involved in the process. Typically, federal issues are more political due to the increased amount of money at stake with any decision.

Advocating for federal standards, and their certain to follow accountability and control, seems antithetical to school choice. Once the feds push standards down to the local level, all schools will have to adhere to them, whether they are good for a given child or not. School choice will become the same as the choice between a Whopper or Big Mac. Not much of a choice at all for those who prefer a Taco Bell Bean Burrito.

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