Keep Feds Out of Educational Market
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by Mark Gibb

[This letter was published in Florida Today on May 17, 1998]

Concerning a May 9 article in Florida Today detailing a speech given by the president on education to the Delaware Legislature: While listing all of the federal interventions he would like to impose on education, the president said the following: "We have the best system of higher education in the world. We do not have the best system of elementary and secondary education in the world."

I agree with this statement. However, the president fails to understand why this is true. For even though large government subsidies are pumped into higher education, a competitive market still exists among the schools. They compete for the best students, for good reputations, and for high quality faculty. The same competition for quality would exist in elementary and secondary education if politicians would let the market do its work.

Adding more government, especially at the federal level, will only compound the problem. The best way to improve education is the complete separation of school and state.

Our Founding Fathers envisioned a federal government with severely limited powers. To secure this vision, they drafted a Constitution that enumerated these powers. Then, as an added safety feature, they wrote the Tenth Amendment to unequivocally state that the enumerated powers were the only powers the federal government possessed. Because the Constitution does not mention education, it is only through an intellectually dishonest interpretation of the Constitution that one can find any role for the federal government in education whatsoever.


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