Prior to 1980, there had pretty much always been bipartisan interest in funding from the federal government. But, under Reagan, education policy was redefined.
Ronald Reagan "significantly reduced the government's role in education and decentralized many programs. He failed, however, to fulfill his campaign promises of abolishing the Department of Education, passing a school prayer amendment, and instituting a tuition tax credit."
So, Reagan started the ball rolling and it continued under his successor:
George Bush "though slightly less conservative than Reagan, continued Reagan's policy of devolution in education"
Then, when the Republicans gained control of congress in 1994 they continued the policy:
In the elections of 1994, Republicans gained control of Congress, and quickly set out to slash funds from various education programs, arguing that the government's deficit necessitates cutbacks...
The Republican Party of the 1990s continues its call for less government on ideological grounds and less aid to education because of fiscal restraints. Continuing a long-running Republican demand of the 20th century, the chorus of current Republicans continues to stipulate that if the federal government does provide aid for education, it must do so without interfering with local control of schools -- and, increasingly, in the freedom of parents to do what they think is right for their children.
OK, so now we have a pretty well-defined track record of Republican policy towards Education. Then, in 2000, George W. Bush says that Education is one of his top priorities
Apparently, he had major success with Education as Governor in Texas. It was called "The Texas Miracle", because dropouts fell and test scores soared. It was such a success that the Houston School Superintendent Rod Paige was made the secretary of education by Bush when he was elected, er, became president.
Unfortunately, it was all a lie. I know it's hard to believe that he would have been so dishonest, but it's true. It was uncovered by Dan Rather and 60 minutes, and this website provides the following explanation of the lie:
Ivins and Dubose show how Paige assured high test scores at the 10th grade level. In cold blood, he kept 9th graders with lower test scores from entering 10th grade. The result was a large-scale dropout rate of 9th graders and artificially higher scores by the 10th graders who remained. This was a case of "cooking the books" that brings to mind Enron, another Houston enterprise. Still worse, thousands of 15-year-olds were pushed out of school with little hope of ever finding a job.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas has the nation's highest school dropout rate. "The dropouts became absolutely necessary because what they are trying to do is get the test numbers up, not improve the education of the children," charged Rice University professor Linda McNeil. And The New York Times reported June 25 that Paige's closest associates in Houston are resigning amid charges of crony ties to businesses that won profitable contracts with the Houston school system.
So, after 20 years of an "in-your-face anti-federal spending" Education policy we now have a Republican who is going to reverse that. He campaigns on his awesome track record in Texas, asks "Is our children learning" and creates the "No Child Left Behind" bill in 2001. What's going on here? Has the right finally changed their tune?
Well, if you said "Get ready for a bait-and-switch" give yourself a cookie. In late 2003, the actions were speaking louder than the words:
But in his 2003 budget, Bush proposed funding levels far below what the legislation called for, requesting only $22.1 billion of the $29.2 billion that Congress authorized. For the largest program, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which provides support to students in impoverished school districts, Bush asked for $11.35 billion out of the $18.5 billion authorized. His 2004 budget was more than $6 billion short of what Congress authorized. Furious, Kennedy called Bush's proposal a "tin cup budget" that "may provide the resources to test our children, but not enough to teach them.
The result: States already strapped by record deficits are being held responsible for the extra testing and administration mandated by law -- but aren't getting nearly enough money to pay for it. So the number of public schools likely to be labeled "failing" by the law is estimated to be as high as 85 percent. Failing triggers sanctions, from technical assistance to requiring public-school choice to "reconstitution" -- that is, firing the entire school's staff and hiring a new one. And Bush isn't doing much to help. The New Hampshire School Administrators Association calculated that Bush's plan imposed at least $575 per student in new obligations. His budget, however, provides just $77 per student. It's a revolution in education policy, all right, but No Child Left Behind was simply a lie.
It continued in 2005:
Except, as we find again and again with this administration, that's a bait-and-switch con job. For 2005, the administration has requested $9.4 billion less for No Child Left Behind than the bill supposedly ensures. Title I, the program to help poor kids, is underfunded by $7.2 billion, leaving 5 million kids without academic help. In all, Bush has underfunded the No Child bill by a total of $27 billion since he signed it with such fanfare.
And continues today:
President Bush's proposed budget for 2007, which he released yesterday, would eliminate 42 education programs totaling more than $3 billion. For the second year in a row, Bush proposes eliminating the Enhancing Education Through Technology block-grant program, the main source of federal funding for school technology--despite his promise to make competitiveness in the new global economy a top priority.
Wow! It turns out he wasn't truthful about his position on Education in 2000. That's just shocking!
All of this points to the same conclusion. Republicans hate education. They know that an educated person is open-minded, seeks the truth, is not susceptable to scapegoating and not afraid to take a stand. If Americans are uneducated then they are more easily brainwashed by the RWNM.