(Freedom.news) During a campaign stop in Iowa a few days before Christmas, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton was discussing primary education. What she said was at once comical and horrifying.
If elected president, Clinton would essentially shutter almost 50,000 public schools around the country, according to comments she made regarding the state of public school education and what to do to “fix” it. More on that in a moment.
“This school district, and these schools throughout Iowa, are doing a better than average job,” a pandering Clinton said during a campaign event at a school in Keota, Iowa. “Now, I wouldn’t keep any school open that wasn’t doing a better than average job.”
“If a school’s not doing a good job, then, you know, that may not be good for the kids,” she continued, without really elaborating about how a school doing a poor job could possibly be good for the kids, The Federalist noted.
First, the cold, hard numbers.
According to U.S. Department of Education statistics, there were just over 98,000 public schools in the U.S. as of the 2011-2012 school year, the most recent timeframe complete data is available. Under her plan to close all average and below average schools, that amounts to almost 50,000 schools, if you assume that the median and national average performance levels were about the same.
Oh, and more than 30,000 of those are elementary schools.
Second, let’s examine the implications of this proposal:
— It isn’t likely to go over well with the public school unions that universally support Democrats for office, considering that in Iowa alone, 35,000 teachers are employed to teach more than 500,000 students enrolled in K-12. How many teachers would be affected by the closure of 50,000 schools?
— Don’t expect any mainstream journalist or Democratic loyalist to ask this question, but Clinton should be challenged to explain why it is that Americans spend more per student than any great power in the world, yet we are saddled with an 80-percent graduation rate and substandard scores in important subjects like math and science. She should also should have been asked 1) what she would specifically do to improve outcomes; 2) why her recommendations would work; and 3) what she would do with the millions of students affected by her school closures.
— Clinton should also be challenged on where in the Constitution the federal government or the president is given the power to shut down locally-funded schools, even if they are receiving federal funds to any degree (and most are – but Congress could fix that easy by repealing funding of the Department of Education or doing away with it altogether). That Clinton believes she would have the authority to do so as president is chilling, given the disregard her predecessor, President Obama, has for the nation’s founding document.
Again, it’s not likely that Clinton will be challenged in any meaningful way by her sycophantic supporters in the mainstream media or on the campaign trail because her handlers won’t allow it. But should she become president, congressional leaders should step up early and often to remind her that local school districts are just that – the responsibility of local and state governments – and that presidents don’t have, and should not have, the power to impose a set of arbitrary standards that would result in closures of local public schools. It’s unserious proposals like these, however, that gin up disdain of federal government intrusion and meddling, none of which has been productive for the nation’s public school systems.
But also, Clinton’s proposal should serve as a prime example of just how casual it has become for our presidents to assume there are little checks and balances on the Executive Branch, and how dangerous a development that is for liberty. Congress and the federal courts are, in large part, to blame for this assumption, for steadfastly refusing to reign in habitual executive overreach, especially by the past two administrations. That will have to stop if the constitutional balance of power is to ever be restored.