He did it on the campaign trail in 2008, he did it in his first year in office, and how he’s done it again: speaking at the Forsyth Technical Community College in North Carolina yesterday, President Obama praised post-Sputnik federal education initiatives aimed at improving achievement in math and science. The trouble is, those investments—the National Defense Education Act—failed.
Having already demonstrated the decline in achievement that followed the passage of the NDEA two years ago, I won’t re-hash it here. I’m left to wonder though, what the next two years are going to be like. If the president is still recycling campaign speeches about programs that never worked in the first place, is this what we can expect for the next two years?
Perhaps, faced by the latest international test scores showing that the United States continues to languish in educational mediocrity, this administration is simply out of ideas. Perhaps it’s unable to accept that 40 years (and $1.8 trillion) of federal education intervention have failed, and unable to accept that educational freedom is the solution.
If so, that’s yet another reason for Congress to return the reins of educational power to the states and the people, where the United States Constitution so wisely left them.