Most would say the military takes priority because it is a mandate in the constitution that the federal government “provide for the common defense” while the governments role in education is justified under the “general welfare” section of the founding document and is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. However, most would also say education must be a top priority.
An article in the New York Times on June 11, 2012 summarizes Mr. Romney’s position on the federal governments role in education as
“…taking his party back to its ideological roots by emphasizing a lesser role for Washington, replacing top-down mandates with a belief in market mechanisms. It is a change driven in part by Tea Party disdain of the federal government. In the Republican presidential nominating fight, candidates competed in calling to shut the Education Department.
Mr. Romney, who never went that far, also seems hemmed in politically by the fact that President Obama promotes many solutions that were once Republican talking points, including charter schools and teacher evaluations tied to test scores.”
In an unbridled free market society, he who has the gold makes the rules. In our country free markets should not exist in a “wild west” manner where resources that would help the nation attain its goals are underutilized because of someones lesser social-economic status. This approach would put us at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the world. If the 2012 version of Einstein is living in poverty and in a broken home, it is in this countries national interest to make sure she is provided with an education allowing the nation to take advantage of this resource. She is a live “national treasure”.
Therefore, we need federal government involvement in financing education. If the federal government partially provides the funds for education, it must be involved in overseeing how the funds are utilized including the monitoring of results. We have yet to find the proper way to do this; however, we should not stop trying. The consequences are too important.