Congressman Jack Kingston Knocks Competitive Grant Education Funding

April 8, 2014 9:20 am

by Jon Richards · 6 comments

In a Washington Examiner op-ed, Congressman Jack Kingston takes issue with how the President’s proposed 2015 budget distributes education dollars back to the states. Secretary of Eduction Arne Duncan will testify in front of the House Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee today, which Congressman Kingston chairs.

While acknowledging the benefits of formulaic spending, such as that used in Title I programs for the disadvantaged, he knocks competitive grant programs, including Race to the Top.

A competitive grant from Washington means states get to compete for their own tax dollars by kowtowing to Obama, Duncan, and their teachers’ union overseers. The Department of Education, by carrot and stick, can enforce their vision of schooling on classrooms throughout the country, all the while hiding behind it being “optional.”

These competitive grants reduce flexibility for parents and teachers while saddling a school with burdensome reporting requirements. Once a school “wins” a grant, it agrees to install Duncan as puppet master and remove parents’ voices from the classroom.

These grants do not come cheap to the taxpayer, either. The schools must comply with the grueling paperwork requirements attached to all government programs. This takes teachers out of the classroom and traps them in the break room as they report to Washington on how they are fulfilling the demands of federal bureaucrats.

One of the ways these competitive grants have gotten out of control, Kingston notes, is with the Common Core State Standards. He correctly points out that the 45 states and the District of Columbia that agreed to implement the standards received waivers from the previous No Child Left Behind program, along with additional education funding.

But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The redistribution of some $45.8 billion in education funding back to the states wastes money, and is a way for the federal government to get its preferred programs implemented. I’ve made the same argument with the way the government redistributes the federal gasoline tax. In both cases, getting the feds out of the way and letting the states decide how much to spend would be a better idea.

In the end, though, while the Common Core standards are being promoted by the Obama administration’s carrot and stick approach, they were developed independently from the Federal Department of Education. They were introduced at Gwinnett County’s Peachtree Ridge High School back in 2010 as part of a voluntary effort to ensure students learn the same concepts at each grade levels, no matter where they might live.

For those opposing Common Core, my question is whether you, like me, disagree with Washington setting the education agenda via competitive grants, or is it with the standards themselves?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

John Konop April 8, 2014 at 10:04 am

……back in 2010 as part of a voluntary effort to ensure students learn the same concepts at each grade levels, no matter where they might live….

…….For those opposing Common Core, my question is whether you, like me, disagree with Washington setting the education agenda via competitive grants, or is it with the standards themselves?…..


In Georgia, we cannot standardized the math because of math 123, and no other state uses it….A lot of people debating the issue on both sides do not want to dive into the details….and the devil is always in the details….

John Konop April 8, 2014 at 10:12 am


How do you standardize something taught in different order? BTW it has been a gift to the tutoring industry…I guess to bad if you cannot afford it…

………Integrated mathematics is the term used in the United States to describe the style of mathematics education which integrates many topics or strands of mathematics throughout each year of secondary school. Each math course in secondary school covers topics in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and analysis. Nearly all countries throughout the world, except the United States, follow this type of curriculum.[1][2]

In the United States, topics are usually integrated throughout elementary school up to the eighth grade. Beginning with high school level courses, topics are usually separated so that one year a student focuses entirely on algebra, the next year entirely on geometry, and then another year of algebra and later an optional fifth year of analysis (calculus). The one exception in the American high school curriculum would be the fourth year of math, typically referred to as precalculus, which usually integrates algebra, analysis, trigonometry, and geometry topics. Statistics may be integrated into all the courses or presented as a separate course.

New York State has used integrated curricula since in the 1970s.[3] A few other localities in the United States have also tried such integrated curricula,[4] including Georgia.[5]

Under the new Common Core Standards set to be adopted by most states in 2012, the only difference between a traditional American sequence and an integrated sequence is the order in which the topics are taught.[6] Numerous school districts across the country are considering switching to an integrated curriculum, including communities in California,[7] as well as North Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.[8] Supporters of using integrated curricula in the United States believe that students will be able to see the connections between algebra and geometry better in an integrated curriculum, but the Common Core Standards allow either type of curriculum…………

Jon Richards April 8, 2014 at 11:06 am

John, what am I missing? If the Common Core Standards are agnostic to the type of curriculum used (as indicated in the Wikipedia article) then … ?

John Konop April 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Student A is taking Algebra 1 in Ohio…..his parents move to Georgia mid year, what class does he take? Integrated math does not teach in sequence it does partial mixture… is this student prepared for the Georgia common core test?

objective April 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

competitive grants need not be one size fits all. they often encourage and fund innovation, individuality, and state-level experimentation. and it does leverage the benefits of competition by encouraging states to at least think about, and maybe even preliminarily develop, innovative standards. i also believe that reporting and data collection are important pieces of any grant, especially with innovative programs or stds. but those costs should be folded into the grant. better to fund fewer properly than more improperly.
and as far as standards go, states who choose to compete for the grant clearly have some alignment with federal standards. applying for a grant is not “kowtowing”. it’s saying i agree with you- more or less- and want the funds to do it. jack kingston should look at the state Dept. of Ed. to see how many there think the program they developed is kowtowing.

Sherena Arrington April 8, 2014 at 10:25 pm

To answer the original question – both.