I posted Gerald Coles’ predictions about President Obama’s second term. Many commenters responded. This is Coles’ response to those who raised questions:

With respect to the suggestion that the “federal govt. should get out of the classroom entirely,” I think that’s a complicated issue, given, for example, the federal government’s role in ending LEGAL segregation of schools. While issues of curriculum and what should and should not be discussed in the classroom do caution against a national curriculum, there are complications to be considered. For example, do we want “local” control where students can only learn that the world was created 6,000 years ago and global warming is a socialist hoax? I just raise these complications and will leave fuller discussion of them for another day.

Where I think the federal government clearly should be involved is in financial support of schools, teachers & students. Compare, for example, military vs. education spending. I think the Dept. of Ed. budget is about $70 billion, about 2% of the federal budget. In contrast, the military budget is more than a dozen times larger at about $977.5 billion. (For the calculation of true military costs, see David Cay Johnson’s analysis in the current Columbia Journalism Review:


Does the U.S. need nearly anywhere from 700-1,000 (depending on the calculation) military bases ringing the world? Does it need to outspend more than the combined military spending of at least the top dozen or more nations?

Schools deteriorate, teachers are fired, class size increases, neighborhood schools close, teachers spend their own money on classroom materials, while money flows like a rushing river to military corporations and unnecessary wars. With the right national priorities, here there surely is a place for the federal government to contribute to schools and children’s education.