10th Amendment and Education

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. -10th Amendment

Above is the 10th amendment to the United States constitution. This amendment was placed in the bill of rights, not without good reason. Prominent anti-federalists of the day such as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson fought hard for this specific amendment, because there was a prominent fear of the federal government. The colonists broke away from the British crown partly because they did not have proper representation. Without decentralization of government, it is likewise very difficult for the people to receive proper representation. Michael Boudin makes a great point, voting the bums out is a failed strategy. The people of this country should not expect to gain rights back by an increase in federal power. Instead the American people would be advised by many of the nation’s founders, to instead use state and individual power as a necessary check to the federal government.

“whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”-Thomas Jefferson

Many responsibilities the federal government has taken upon itself were never enumerated to it in the constitution. Last time I talked about the inefficient TSA, in this post I will question the legitimacy of just another one of the unnecessary government expenditures. Powers not specifically delegated to the federal government by the constitution are to be left up to the state or individuals. Education is one of the powers that is not enumerated to the United States by the constitution. The federal government takes an unnecessary overreach in the education process. The fact that there is a cabinet position called ‘secretary of education’ is enough to reveal this. However, the common core program shows the full ridiculousness of this federal overstep. States were forced to spend an estimated ten million dollars up front on this federal program, and continue to spend an estimated 800 million dollars per year. Despite the federal overreach, public education is mostly a state run thing that most people believe should be provided. I can agree with that, what I cannot agree with is the way this service is provided.

People say public schools are “one of the best parts of America.” I believed that. Then I started reporting on them.

Now I know that public school — government school is a better name — is one of the worst parts of America. It’s a stultified government monopoly. It never improves. – John Stossel

John Stossel is a news analyst on fox who has written books on education and healthcare from a Libertarian perspective. The above quote comes from a short column on the true nature of our public schools or ‘government schools’. It is a well-known principle that competition encourages quality, this is exactly the reason Private schools perform so much better than Public schools. Not only must private schools compete with other private schools, students at private schools have a vested interest because their family is sacrificing something for them to go to the school. Private School tuition is unaffordable for most families, but what the government spends on its poorly functioning schools is insane as well. Michael Godsey wrote a fascinating column for the Atlantic on why he teaches at a public school but sends his kid to a private school.

It doesn’t take an incredible amount of research to discover that public education is a failure as a result of a lack of competition and a lack of consumer interest. Neither does it take incredible creativity to realize that states should move to a complete voucher system. In the current system, there are publicly run schools and in twelve states, low-income families or disabled youths can qualify for small vouchers (scholarships really) for private education. In a complete voucher system there would be no such thing as a public school. Kids would take their voucher of likely $5,000 to $8,000 dollars to a private institution and pay the remaining tuition for an overpriced school. This would cause competition, and would give the consumers of the education vested interest in their choice school.


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