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Government Choice
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ezra Klein...
One thing that is a bit unclear to me is why Congress doesn't have the courage of its convictions. In other words, why don't they appropriate massive amounts of money for two grand experiments, one testing a conservative education solution, the other implementing an ideal-world progressive alternative. Convince some demographically similar, money-hungry localities to take the funds and create the programs, and then see what happens. It may not settle the debate, but at least we'd have more data. And in general, you'd think you could get these bills through, so long as they twinned conservative and progressive solutions.

Kids these days may not remember, but we used to have this thing called the 10th Amendment that allowed exactly that sort of thing.

Sadly, the Supreme Court has ruled the 10th Amendment "no biggie" and "really inconvenient", leading to the current state of affairs, where the Federal government either pronounces States incompetent to handle their own affairs, or simply taxes and bribes them into line.

The grand experiment sounds like a great idea, though I'm not sure why the Federal government has to appropriate the money and set the guidelines when we could simply revitalize this "federalism" thing that the Founding Fathers used to make a big deal about. Meanwhile, I don't think there's much reason to believe that State-level diversity will be tolerated for long if executed by the Federal government.

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Previous Comments to this Post 

Haha, "federalism", what a kidder. Reminds me of that joke Justice Thomas told in I believe the Raich dissent... something about the federal government having "limited and enumerated powers". Hilarious!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to check the list of approved hats.
Written By: kevin r
URL: http://
Who are you, and how did you manage to get online?
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Well, I don’t think that you give enough credit to the states. When the federal government tied education money to students meeting standards set by the states themselves, many states lowered the standards.

Or at least I think I read that in a New York Times headline.

"Federalism" has been eclipsed by "get the f**k out of my way-ism," as the states and the national government fight to get into your pocket.

Here’s the civics test:

Question 1: Do you think that you pay too much in taxes?

Answer from most people: Yes

Question 2: Do you want to see universal health coverage?

Answer from most people: Yes

Is this a great country, or what?
Written By: Martin McPhillips
"but we used to have this thing called the 10th Amendment that allowed exactly that sort of thing"

Sure, but you have to be able to count to 10, and that seems to be increasingly unlikely with our new multicultural education system.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Well, unfortunately, the data from said experiments would be stridently manipulated by concerned forces via our poisoned political structures. We, the general public, would have no real clue as to which is better. As usual, we’d vote our preconceived tendency... which is how it is right now. So, it would turn into its own perpetual bureaucracy. The Department of Alternative Universes(?)... or some such sh$t...
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
I agree completely about the 10th amendment. Decentralization is good, in part because it allows experimentation, and in part because the more centralized something is, the more prone to bureaucratic stagnation and inefficiency. But I’m not sure what a "conservative" education would be vs. an "ideal world" education. I’m afraid that this tendency to see dichotomies or the world as "left vs. right" is part of the problem. It seems to me that a good education would serve people across the spectrum equally well, and that the goal is to simply provide quality education that gives students the tools to make good decisions and their own decisions. Bad education is indoctrination and rote learning.
Written By: Scott Erb
Where’s the fun if the federal government doesn’t get to "appropriate massive amounts of money" and tell other how to spend it?
Written By: abw
"In other words, why don’t they appropriate massive amounts of money for two grand experiments, one testing a conservative education solution, the other implementing an ideal-world progressive alternative."
Why, after reading this sophomoric drivel, does anyone consider Klein worth reading?
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
The "conservative" system would merely be vouchers and choice. Don’t need "massive funding" to do that. I have no idea what the progressive system would be...aren’t we already running that?
Written By: Harun
URL: http://

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