One history class enjoyed quite a spectacle Thursday as California lawmakers wearing bright smiling faces descended on their school to address the cameras- er, I mean students. From the Governor on down to several Mayors, all were eager to get a turn on the podium to congratulate themselves and each other. The marvelous achievement that had these legislators to pleased with themselves? They had done enough begging to position California even further under DC’s thumb through the request of $700 million in school funding.
One of the more curious moments of this dog and pony show came when Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, asked the schoolchildren assembled there a pretty basic question,
“This is a history class, right? Who here has heard of ‘Brown vs. Board of Education’?”
What followed was a very awkward moment- not a single student raised their hand.
Milliseconds later, in an attempt to recover the failed moment, former NBA star Johnson grinned and issued a second instruction, “Well OK, just raise your hand anyway.”
In that singular moment, a point was made, but it wasn’t made by Mayor Johnson. The student’s lack of basic historical knowledge sadly illustrated the shortcomings of an education system already dominated by edicts from the out-of-touch gang in DC.
None of the men and women at that podium, grinning like kids in a candy shop, seemed to realize that what they were really doing. Of course, $700 million in school funding sounds great on the surface, but along with the money comes something that was not mentioned by the legislators- increased Federal control of California classrooms and ultimately erosion of California’s status as a sovereign state.
For some time now, the Federal government has had a say in CA schools. The result of their meddling can be seen in one history class’ complete ignorance of one of the most well known (though flawed in the opinion of important 10th amendment scholars) civil rights rulings in the past 100 years, Brown vs. Board of Education. Federal emphasis on test scores, a mandate that would only grow more stringent as part of this $700 million dollar deal, puts teaching decisions in the hands of Washington DC rather than teachers and school administrators.
It’s time for the people of California to wake up. As one of the largest economic powers in the world (at least as of a few years ago), it is likely that California gave the Federal Government FAR more than the $700 million it will be getting back (with major strings attached). Unfunded Federal mandates have sucked California’s budget dry for years, while ‘carrots’ like these education funds keep California bound to DC. Californians might not be so enthusiastic if the real price paid for continuing connection to the Federal umbilical were known.