Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Education

childcareKevin McCarthy, writing in National Review February 25, 2015, discusses HR-5, Republican Education Reform:


It’s not easy for the average family to ensure that their child receives a quality education. And the federal government is not making it any easier.

How does the Federal Government make it hard? We read:

When kids start school, families often have little choice over where they can go. Sometimes, children are forced into a failing school simply because their parents live in a certain district and that school is the only option.

Ah, kids may be forced to attend public schools for lack of choice. That’s one way.

Then, schools are bogged down by federal bureaucracy and one-size-fits-all national standards. This centralized approach results in programs and standards that don’t work for everyone and can distract teachers’ focus from what matters: teaching.

So, National Standards are a problem. That’s another way.

It’s no wonder that despite the 2.7 million students already enrolled at charter schools, another 1 million kids remained on waiting lists for such schools last year.

Then charter schools must be the answer. Evidently any school called a charter school is guaranteed success.  What evidence supports that view, one wonders?

Outside of the family, education is the greatest determinant of social mobility. Yet for decades, Washington has attempted to fix our education system with more centralization, more bureaucratic control, and more tax-and-spend gimmicks, all yielding the same sad results.

The House has a different plan. This week, we will focus on expanding equal opportunity in education through two bills: the Student Success Act and a bill to improve and expand 529 college savings plans (H.R.529 – Savings Enhancement for Education in College Act).

To improve access to high-quality education before college, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), authored by Chairman John Kline (R., Minn.) of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, takes control away from the federal government and puts it back in the hands of the states and local schools.

States’ rights–Oklahoma can teach American History as they wish.

First, the SSA expands America’s already-successful charter school system and allows federal funds to follow low-income students to the public school of their parents’ choice, not the school dictated by district lines.

Public funding for private schools; who would have thought Republicans would like that idea. The proposed charter school for Elmira has an unelected board. That is the antithesis of local control.

Second, the bill consolidates more than 65 duplicative and unnecessary programs into a single Local Academic Flexibility Grant that lets schools apply resources according to individual student needs.

Block grants give States and Localities money to spend as they wish.

Third, it preserves state and local autonomy by barring the Secretary of Education from forcing states to accept national academic standards like Common Core, and replaces federal school accountability schemes, including “Adequate Yearly Progress,” with state-led accountability systems that empower parents and local education leaders.

Funding without standards or accountability.

To reduce the college debt burden and promote a culture of saving, the House also passed a bill by Representative Lynn Jenkins (R., Kan.) to improve and expand tax-free 529 college savings plans.

H.R. 529 affects a few percent of Americans, mostly wealthy people. Tom Reed supports this bill. Reed writes:

Despite President Obama’s assertion that 529 plans only benefit the wealthy, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that 85% of accounts are owned by families earning under $250,000, and 52% by families earning under $100,000. This is a fair solution that will benefit every family saving for a child’s higher education.

Note that “every family saving for a child’s higher education” isn’t quite the same as “every family.” It is more like “wealthy families using the 529 tax provision.”

McCarthy continues:

Real education reform starts with taking power out of Washington’s hands and giving it back to the people. That means school choice. That means local control. That means more college savings and less college debt.

Rep. McCarthy is the peoples’ representative in Washington. It seems strange that he has so much faith in others and so little in his fellow Representatives and in himself.

To get that done, we just need President Obama to get on board.

Rep. McCarthy, like Rep. Reed, delights in telling just his side of the story. President Obama has suggested he will veto H.R. 5 saying it is a step backwards. Some Republicans want to retreat even further from education reform by repudiating and defunding No Child Left Behind.

© William Hungerford – February 2015



About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
This entry was posted in Congress, Education, Political, Reed's Views and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Education

  1. josephurban says:

    I have always found it amusing how the right wing attacks “public schools” as failing. Yet, public schools are a great example of what happens when there is LOCAL control of an important segment of society. Very little federal impact. Local school boards determine much public school policy, not the federal government. Local sports boosters demand money for football and cuts to science, math, etc. “Local control” is what public schools are all about. If not for hundreds of thousands of dedicated teachers the entire system would go down the drain .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deb Meeker says:

    Results of charter schools vs. public schools in comparison of improvement of overall education are not really well documented. Seems to me, charter schools are a great way of creating segregation by race and class. No to public funding of charter schools. If money is drawn away from public schools for charter schools, it’s much easier to have public schools and public education fail.

    One example of a charter school disappointment in Ithaca, NY.


  3. solodm says:

    Governor Cuomo writes: “This is the real scandal in Albany, the alarming fact that state government has stood by and done nothing as generation after generation of students have passed through failing schools. This report underscores the severity and shocking nature of this problem. The time is now for the State Legislature to act and do something about this problem so we no longer are condemning our children to failing schools.”
    Cuomo said this as he continues to cut property taxes and push for charter schools –


  4. josephurban says:

    Your car runs out of gas. Don’t buy gas for it. Ask the government to support your “charter car”.


  5. whungerford says:

    A charter school, Finn Academy, has been approved for Elmira. The program seems to duplicate what is available in the Elmira City Schools. The school will be funded by the taxpayers, but outside the control of the local school board. I have no idea why this school was approved. Some parents may imagine Common Core standards won’t apply, but I believe they are mistaken about that.


  6. Deb Meeker says:

    Exactly! I know property school taxes can be expensive – but people don’t seem to put two and two together, and realize when property taxes are cut so is school funding -yet – they want the “best schools money can buy”.


  7. solodm says:

    Do you know who is pushing for this new charter school? Chances are it’s not the underserved.


  8. whungerford says:

    I have a general idea, but I will keep it to myself. Long ago I sent my kids to a private school, so I am reluctant to criticize those looking for an alternative. The real difference is that I paid, parents who send their children to religious schools pay, those who attend the Montessori school pay, but the taxpayers support the charter school like it or not.


  9. Deb Meeker says:

    I see private schools where the tuition, etc.are paid for by the parents/guardians very differently than charter schools. When people are willing to not drain public school funding to make personal choices for their kids – that’s a whole other situation.Of course, when those totally private schools are chosen, those who make that choice are also paying into the funding for public schools too.
    Perhaps my main gripe is the fact that most charter schools, as you mention, have much less if any community say in the curriculum, staffing, and leadership.


  10. whungerford says:

    Here’s what they say:

    Finn Academy: An Elmira Charter school proposes class sizes of 18 and will feature an integrated, project-based curriculum. Finn Academy: An Elmira Charter School leaders are committed to a vision of educational excellence for all scholars. The Finn Academy: An Elmira Charter School is committed to closing achievement gaps for the most at-risk scholars, and dedicated to a program that is differentiated for both advanced and struggling learners.


  11. whungerford says:

    The leaders could work on their writing skills if nothing else.


  12. pystew says:

    I was trapped in a waiting room a few months ago with FOX News being the only distraction. I don’t remember what the topic was suppose to be, but one of the Foxy regulars called Public Education “Welfare”. Public Ed, one of the first institutions, after churches, our founding fathers developed is now being considered Welfare. The founding fathers didn’t see it was Welfare; they saw it as necessary for a strong community. If we deny any citizen the best education available we are harming our community. Look at the backward countries that deny education to all but the well to do families.

    Education is a freedom issue. Without a proper education we are trapped in the vicious cycle of unskilled jobs and poverty–far from the American Dream. The “Stuff you Missed in History Class” (.com) organization have three great podcasts (a bit less than 30 minute each) on “Plessy V Ferguson“, The Road to Brown V Board of Education, and The Aftermath of Brown V Board of Education. Listening to them reminded me of how Americans struggled to try to reach the goals of our Constitution. It was important for the powerful to keep education away from others to maintain the status quo.

    Sounds like what is happening today.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. whungerford says:

    “Finland, said to have superior schools, has a national plan for creating and maintaining a superior educational system that leaves no child behind. The Finns have national standards. National standards are not necessarily inflexible, the idea that students should learn to reason isn’t bad, and the idea that private schools meet the needs of all Americans when public schools don’t and can’t is unsupported.”

    Keeping us dumb may reflect indifference more than intent. Subverting public education for private profit is certainly deliberate and not in the public interest.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.