Earlier today Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his decision to refuse to apply for the federal “Race to the Top” grant program. The president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Michael Quinn Sullivan, praised the course of action, saying it protects Texas’ children and taxpayers.
“The governor is right to refuse federal dollars that could drive down results and hinder academic achievement. While some might prefer to spend their time chasing federal funds at any cost, the price of the ‘Race to the Top’ dollars could send Texas’ school children to the bottom and our taxpayers to the poor house.
“Texans would be better served by Congress leaving these dollars in the people’s wallets, than presuming to direct education policy from Washington, DC. Just as each child’s learning styles and needs are different, so will the policies best serving those children be different in every state. That is the heart of the system developed by our Founding Fathers, allowing each state to be a laboratory for policy achievement.
“Signing on to this program would likely produce less than $700 million in funds for Texas, but cost taxpayers billions in the costs of new textbooks and course materials, not to mention the recurring costs the program requires even after the federal dollars have died up.
“Whether it’s the ‘race to the top’ or ‘no child left behind,’ successive Congress’ and administrations have left no taxpayer dollar unspent in the race to federalize what the Constitution wisely left to the states.
“In the District of Columbia, under the supervision of Congress, school children have the worst academic performance in the most dangerous of conditions at the highest cost. Maybe Congress and the President should focus their attention on getting DC right, before imposing ill-defined ‘reforms’ on the states.
“The same federal government that cannot get right the number of congressional districts when reporting the expenditure of stimulus funds, should not now be lecturing the states’ on how to develop the next generation of economic and political leaders. Asking the states to commit to as-yet undeveloped standards as the price for quick dollars is a recipe for academic and economic disaster.
“Governor Perry’s action is clearly in the best interest of our children and their future by telling Congress — and the Administration — to stay out of Texas’ classrooms.”