The success of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz this year is a great and anguished shout from Republicans voters to the powers-that-be in Washington: The system is broken; it’s not working for us.
If you want to know why Republicans voters hate their party in Washington, pay close attention to what massive GOP majorities in the House and the Senate just did: Extend and give new life to the failed No Child Left Behind Act.
They did it the way Washington politicians do such things, by renaming it — No Child Left Behind is now called the Every Student Succeeds Act — and rigging the game so it would pass. The lengthy bill was posted only two days before legislators voted on it, ensuring that few of them would have time to read it and that the American people would have no time to weigh in. The army of highly paid lobbyists had already secured their pieces of the action, during months of what are described as intense negotiations.
Washington education experts such as AEI’s Frederick Hess tentatively endorsed the deal as the best that could be gotten with divided government, which raises an obvious question: Why did Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell decide to pass the first major education reform since 2002 less than a year before America chooses a new president? A Brookings scholar chimed in on the great conservative victory in an article titled, “Finally Taking Yes for an Answer: The Overdue Reform of NCLB”:
Mercifully, it appears that the all-or-nothing way of thinking is on the wane in the early days of the Paul Ryan speakership. Only 64 members of the House voted against ESSA, about half of whom are members of the House Freedom Caucus. And just twelve senators voted no. The vast majority, including the great majority of Republicans, decided that half a loaf was much better than none.
Mercifully to whom? Surely not to America’s parents, already bruised and battered by the insiders’ Common Core deal, which transformed their children’s education without their consent, and now kept out of the loop so Democrats and Republicans could once again trade horses.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.