By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Congress has done it again… at least the House this time! The leadership of both parties has decided that it should cut the "Page Program."
Having existed since the First Continental Congress, the "message" is that they are no longer needed; the "means" is to cut them from the budget, but the "motive" may be different. Since the House added back previous cuts of more than $500 Million in special education, it seems that the $5 Million for the Page Program pails in comparison.
If the decision had been to cut back, restructure, or even suspend the program, the "no sacred cows" approach would be reasonable… but this is about symbolism.
Last year Dr. Tom Coburn, US Senator from Oklahoma published a report entitled, "Pork 101: How Education Earmarks School Taxpayers". It highlights that since 1965, the Federal Government has spent $2 Trillion on education where it has no Constitutional responsibility.
Congress has recently invested $4.3 Million in the National Labor College in Silver Spring , MD. Why not cut that and save the pages? Dr. Coburn also concluded that Congress funds 5,563 earmarks, mostly pork, at a cost of $2.3 Billion.
While the Fed provides about 10% of the total cost of funding schools in Virginia, there is little if any change in achievement, behavior, or even general welfare for children as a result of federal spending. As for Congressional Pages, it also seems that our leaders have forgotten that it was suppose to be a learning experience.