By: Bill Bosher
The Committee for Education Funding, a coalition of 112 education organizations, is firing its cannons on the US House of Representatives for proposed legislation that would leave education funding at pre sequester levels.
The Senate opposes this action, so the legislation has little chance of passing. The premise for the "all out" push is that federal funding is being cut as enrollments are increasing and local and state support is decreasing.
These factors are true; however, economists ask another question, "How much is enough"…or the marginal dollar principle. Fed funding is about 5% of a school budget. While it is true that this may be 100% of some programs, the question is, "How critical are these programs to the success of students?"
In Special Education, where the Fed provides about 90% of the regulation and about 10% of the funding, education is a civil right. Some argue that, without Fed requirements, localities might not provide the services that young people need. Others view these requirements as unfunded mandates.
Perhaps we need a reminder. The US Constitution makes no reference to a federal government involvement in public education. The Fed has historically used a "loss leader" approach in a retail sense where you are offered great rewards at a low cost…soon they move to a "bait and switch" approach with promise of funding and the reality of regulation.
Perhaps the 112 organizations should push for de-regulation and … reduce the demand for funds.