From the "Dragging him over the line" notebook - well, he's got this Education point right. - Granite Grok

From the “Dragging him over the line” notebook – well, he’s got this Education point right.

In 2008, I was not the most thrilled to have John McCain to be the Republican nominee, at least until I was able to say “Yeah, I voted for Sarah Palin and the old white guy”.  At that time, however, I had a bad premonition about what an Obama Presidency would bring (yeah, I pretty much had it right as the future-now-history shows).  This time, it is Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee and once again, it’s back to “drag that candidate over the line” as the excitement for me for his candidacy just isn’t there.  It is back to the “vote against the other guy”, for if Obama is given a second term, the America that the Founders envisioned with respect to limited government and an emphasis on individual freedom may well be never seen again.

However, this from a speech that Romney gave today gave me a little smile:

First, I will expand parental choice in an unprecedented way.  Too many of our kids are trapped in schools that are failing or simply don’t meet their needs.  And for too long, we’ve merely talked about the virtues of school choice.

As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school.  For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted.  And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it.

To receive the full complement of federal education dollars, states must provide students with ample school choice.  In addition, digital learning options must not be prohibited.  And charter schools or similar education choices must be scaled up to meet student demand.

Instead of eliminating the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program as President Obama has proposed, I will expand it to offer more students a chance to attend a better school.  It will be a model for parental choice programs across the nation.

I’ve said for a number of years now that “every child does not deserve a public education – they deserve a publicly funded education” and that the parents should make the decisions about where their child should go and not just because of where they happen to live.  It used to be that way until education became industrialized and returning to that philosophy can only be to the good.  Certainly this would create a huge power shift – it will relieve the present power structure of much of that power.  That can only result in that power being decentralized – anathema to the Progressive mantra that now drives much of the field (as in “we are the professionals, we are the educated (and thus, you are not) so we should be calling the shots).  Centralization has built almost unassailable folks who have massed that power either into themselves or their office and has resulted in a lot of butt kissing.  It also has created very little opportunity to hold those in power accountable – malfeasance is reported almost daily of educrats doing badly.  Putting the power back into the hands of parents will, by definition, decentralized that power into literally thousands of little power centers and remove a lot of opportunities for graft and back scratching.

Frankly, it is not just the right thing to say but also politically smart.  There is no way that the teachers unions are going to be voting for him but it may well make a enough of a difference in some suburban to move that needle over to red from blue.  In urban areas,  it may make a difference where the schools are really horrendous and parents are subjected to uppity unions talking point of “hey, just give us more money – then we’ll fix it) that keep their kids trapped in those schools.   I am troubled, to a degree, that the Feds will use the “our money, our strings” approach to the States.  It has always had the outcome that it

This should be an election based on differences – and this will create a huge difference between Mitt and Obama.

Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t gone daft!  I still don’t think that the Feds should be in the Education business at all from a 10th Amendment standpoint.  This still propagates the “we take your money, make some rules, and then “give” it back IF an ONLY IF you follow our rules” (i.e., here’s your Highway Bill money – it’s all yours unless, of course  you don’t pass a seatbelt law on your citizens or spend it the way We want you to like those stupid ARRA signs that pay homage to Dear Leader).

Can this be a bridge?  Maybe.  But you have to admit, until we can delete the US Dept of Ed, funneling the money for parents to control is at least a first step.