Interview: ND Superintendent Wants To Find Ways To Get The Feds Out Of State Education


Earlier this week North Dakota Superintendent of Public Schools Kirsten Baesler contacted me about SCR4012 which she and Senator Howard Anderson have been working on. The resolution calls for a study into the ways the federal government is involved in education policy in North Dakota with a specific aim toward getting the federal government less involved.

From the resoltuion:


That the Legislative Management study the statutory and regulatory requirements placed on North Dakota schools and school districts by the United States Department of Education, determine whether there are viable options to achieve the federal government’s goals without having the federal government’s oversight and involvement, and determine whether the federal fiscal impact is a significant and necessary factor in assenting to the continuance of federal government involvement in this state’s educational process; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislative Management report its findings and recommendations, together with any legislation required to implement the recommendations, to the Sixty-fourth Legislative Assembly

I interviewed Superintendent Baesler about this resolution and her support for it.

It’s worth noting that Baesler is also fighting to get North Dakota a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind policies, and says her goal is more state autonomy in education. Citing recent controversy over federal school lunch standards as an example of the feds frustrating local policymakers, she is taking a federalist position on the issue, believing that the states and not the federal government ought to lead the way on policy.

By the way, I also asked Baesler about the “milkgate” controversy which erupted between Republicans and Democrats over funding for a school milk program, and she said there was a lot of “misinformation” about the program and that she hadn’t heard from anyone that the program was a priority.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • camsaure

    The libs would have a cow if education actually taught the kids something rather then indoctrinate them into liberalism. If the state could and would sever itself from the feds and their oversight, learning in this state could soar and we could have some of the smartest kids in the country. It should be also included that they be taught about how our constitutional Republic actually works, and what the Constitution means.

  • Kevin Flanagan

    Why stop at education? ND is more than capable of being self-sufficient. Get the feds out of everything!

    • borborygmi

      Don’t take fed money. Let the State shoulder the burden and if income taxes have to increase to do it fine.

      • Kevin Flanagan

        Taxes on income are punitive.

      • Anh-Minh Nguyen

        The Federal Government have not constitutional business in Education. Its use of money extracted from the states’ citizen in a unconstitutional and criminal DOE are illegal. The Federal govnmt can only spend money on constitional government function, money use for any other function belong to the citizens in the individual states. Its time to repeal the income tax amendment and set a limited on what the Federal Government can tax, and what those tax money can be use for.

    • Lynn Bergman

      Nothing wrong with federal funding of interstate highways; it is national security related and has been ruled constitutional.

      • Kevin Flanagan

        It’s also OK to charge tolls. Is that what you want?

  • SCates

    WOW! Sanity! What a concept.

    Time to confront the insidious tendrils of the Federal DOE.

    Outstanding work already Ms. Baesler!

  • borborygmi

    I would think that as long as you don’t accept Fed money you could disentangle the fed and state system.

    • Rob

      That’s right.

      The problem, of course, is the money.

      • borborygmi

        It will be interesting to see what the panel comes up with.

        • Lynn Bergman

          They will find out that it is against the law to deny highway funds if a state declines education funds.

      • Kevin Flanagan

        The real problem is the greed and laziness of the state government bureaucracy!

        • Anh-Minh Nguyen

          The problem is unlimited power to tax by the Federal government. The Federal government should not be allow to tax more then 5% of a state productivity a year. The States and it citizen can decided what is worth supporting in the state level with the remain wealth generated in the state.

      • Lynn Bergman

        The study should also detail the SAVINGS derived from declining federal funds; should be at or in excess of the funds received. Wasn’t the Policy council to put out a report on that?

  • Molon Labe

    This is huge! Finally someone gets it. I think we have our next candidate for Governor!

  • whowon

    Where are all the “Keep it Local” folks? Disappeared, guess they think we forgot because they removed their website! Good job Kirsten, we need more like you..

  • slackwarerobert

    Took me 3 seconds to figure it ou…. Put GOD in the school, and the government can’t get near it.

  • borborygmi

    We have had a preview on what the State finds important with milk gate. What was the quote, If the Feds want us to run the program they can pay.

  • Harlan Goerger

    Great going Kirstin, this is the conversation that caused me to support her election and get some new energy in the education office. I asked, “What are your thoughts on the fed DOE?” Kirstin, “They can go away anytime.” Great to see her keeping her word!

  • Lynn Bergman

    Congratulations to Superintendent Baesler; a politician who actually follows through on an extremely important policy change initiative. When you need further political support, you know who you can count on!

    Legislature, we are watching… get this one right! It will be on the list of bills in my complete legislative report after the session ends. And it will be in every newspaper in the state initially following the session and immediately prior to the next election. Not a threat… a promise!