A Gift From Congress: $1.4 Trillion Spending Bill With Increased Funding For Education Department and Common Core
By Carole H. Haynes, Ph.D. January 1, 2019
American taxpayers got a very expensive Christmas gift from Congress -- another $1.4 trillion added to our more than $23 trillion debt. As usual, the bill was pushed to the midnight hour, creating a faux panic about a government shutdown and forcing members to sign a bill thousands of page in length, without having time to read it.
There's much to hate about this 2,313-page 2020 spending bill with its pernicious government creep. For starters, it fully funds the Afghanistan War, expands abortion coverage under Obamacare, funds $25 million for gun control research, fails to provide new funding for border control, reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank with taxpayer-backed loans up to $100 million (corporate welfare), bailout of mismanaged private pension fund for coal miners’ pension, and a 3.1 % pay increase for federal workers.
For USDE funding, many Republicans caved to Democrat demands to expand the federal footprint in education.
Despite the Trump administration’s budget that would have slashed the U.S. Department of Education budget by 10 percent, the spending bill continues to fund all of the 29 education programs. For three straight years, the administration has tried to eliminate those, only to be rebuffed by a Republican-controlled Congress.
The bill increases education funding by $72.8 billion in discretionary aid, a $1.3 billion increase that would include hundreds of millions of dollars more for big-ticket programs for public schools such as Title I and special education grants. There is a $550 million increase for Head Start and a $25 million increase for Preschool Development Grants. Other programs to get an increase in spending include Title IV grants for academic enrichment and student supports, English-language acquisition, and after-school programs.
There are significant problems with the spending bill’s funding of Head Start. Within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed by a Republican-controlled Congress and called a “Christmas Miracle” by President Obama, Common Core was codified, making it impossible to abolish. Besides the fact that Common Core has had disastrous academic results, it is leftwing indoctrination.
Under ESSA, the federal government controls public pre-K which has national early childhood standards, assessments, and data collection. ESSA requires alignment to Head Start and Child Development Block Grants which are tied to the national preschool standards and psychosocial standards.
There are still more reasons why Republicans should have voted to slash the education funding instead of increasing it. Republicans have historically opposed cradle to grave government programs and support parental control over government programs for children. Republicans believe in limited government. Republicans should be opposed to pre-K because it fails to do what supporters claim.
More than 60 years of research, including federal, show Head Start has been an expensive failure. The gains by students who attend government pre-K programs fade by the second and third grades. Students who do not enroll in public pre-K show higher academic achievement than those who did attend.
Besides failure on the academic side, preschool results in more disciplinary problems for those who attend pre-K than for non-pre-K peers. An increase in ADHD is linked to small children being pushed into formal schooling too early. A 2018 Harvard study shows the rate of ADHD diagnoses among children has risen dramatically over the past 20 years with approximately one-third occurring in children under 6.
If pre-K doesn't help education or behavior outcomes, then what's the point?
Socialists want to provide free government "daycare" where toddlers are taught government approved attitudes to become loyal adult comrades. You probably recall that I have written frequently about this and the Communist goal #41: “Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents.”
The fact is there is no formal curriculum that is appropriate for three- and four-year-old children for 6-8 hours a day.
Free government daycare takes hard earned money out of the pockets of the taxpayers and creates a program that nanny state politicians think infants need. Those tax dollars should remain in the people's pockets and the decision for childcare should remain with the families.
Democrats will continue to push for more preschool funding until they reach their overarching goal of universal preschool. No government programs ever go away. They just spread like a deadly virus, controlling everything they touch and taking increasingly more money from citizens to fund them.
Taxpayers should take a look at those who voted for this trillion+ dollar, freedom killing spending bill. If you want to know whether your Congressman or Senator voted for it, click on the link below.