Sunday, February 15, 2004

Utah Worries while Pennsylvania Gags

Just noticed a couple of editorials in the Utah papers about the ramification of their infamous House vote regarding NCLB. Here:
    Standing up to Washington also presumes Utah has political clout in a presidential campaign. With only five electoral votes, Bush could easily afford to take away Utah's funding for not going along with his program. Rather than influencing a reform in the education policy, Utah would become an example of what happens to those who don't toe the line.
    But this doesn't mean Utah should meekly give up and accept the program. Rather, state education officials need to sit down with their federal counterparts and lobby for reforms in the law.
And here:
    But Utah could wind up the big loser if the Bush administration decides to make an example of the state -- by pulling all its federal education funding, for example -- in order to whip other doubters and recalcitrants into line during this no-holds-barred election season
One theme: fear of retribution by the Bush administration. Out of all the states, Utah apparently is dead last in terms of per-pupil spending. Their worries about NCLB include how to fund this darn bill without spending even more of their local money on education.

They should be worried because our fearless leader, in Pennsylvania trying to shore up support in that swing state, made these illuminating comments:
    When Bush wasn't discussing jobs, he was talking about education. Flanked by local education officials on a stage in the school's gymnasium, Bush said the onus for fulfilling his federal education mandates -- known collectively as "No Child Left Behind" -- ought to fall mostly on state and local funding sources.
    Districts shouldn't bank on checks from the federal government, he said, even though that's precisely what district Superintendent Barbara Hasson asked for.
    "We want to thank you for the push," Hasson said, "but we need a little more money."
So we get straight from the source support for that notorious NCLB meme unfunded mandate. Emphasis is mine.