Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Transportation Policy son sends me a job announcement about Education

My son, who works in transportation policy in Washington, forwarded the following announcement to me:

Job Announcement for Executive Director
The nation's largest coalition of education associations seeks new executive director
starting January 1, 2010. The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), established in 1969, is a strong, unified voice in support of federal education funding, ranging from pre-school to postgraduate education in both public and private systems.

I wrote back saying that I was against federal funding for education and he responded that of course I was right. This is a funny thing for someone who works on funding issues in transportation to say. What is the difference between transportation and education?

Highways that don't connect to highways in other states would be a problem for the country. Airlines that followed different rules in each state would create chaos. That is why we have a federal government. Making rules about infrastructure is critical. But education is not infrastructure. States can, and should, have different rules. Farming matters in some places and managing casinos matters in another. Some states have aircraft jobs and some have marine related jobs.

The federal government, nevertheless, insists on national standards, treating everyone the same, which usually means lots of algebra and literature for some unknown reason.

The President announced $12 billion in funding for community colleges the other day. Yippee, Yahoo. Real education for real people related to real jobs.

Uh oh. Maybe he means to impose national standards on community colleges too. Please don't do that Mr. President. Community Colleges are not interstate highways.

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