Legislature Considering Study To Wean State Off Federal Education Dollars


Last Thursday, Senate Concurrent Resolution 4012 was introduced by Senators Howard Anderson Jr., Ron Carlisle, Ralph Kilzer, and Margaret Sitte; and Representatives Vernon Laning and David Rust which would, if passed, direct:

… Legislative Management to study state alternatives to 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.

A full copy of SCR 4012 can be seen below. A review of the language of this SCR reads more like a laundry list of the US Department of Education’s failures since they were elevated to cabinet status by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 than legislation. More importantly, if passed, it signals the start of a refreshing attitude change on the part of our state legislators.

For too long, they have been too willing to look past what can only be eloquently termed ridiculous federal policies and requirements in order to access “free” federal money. I’ve been told by those “in the know” that the unofficial rule for many years in the legislature is to spend or go after federal funds, regardless of if the rules will allow North Dakota to fully solve the problems, before a dime of state money will be considered.

It has become painfully clear that those federal policies — and the money that fueled them — have done very little to improve the education our children receive, nor make them ready for post-secondary education endeavors (all one needs to do is look at the horrible graduation rate in our own university system) or the workforce as a whole. A lot of that can probably be traced back to the efforts our educators have had to put in to prove they are complying with federal mandates versus teaching our kids.

I honestly don’t think this SCR goes far enough. Education is not the only area where our state government has swallowed the hook of asinine federal rules in order to have a taste of the bait of free federal money. Transportation and disaster relief funding are other areas that come to mind, and I am sure if you surveyed the program managers in other state and local agencies, you would find a lot of their time and efforts are spent ensuring compliance with federal rules instead of serving the taxpayer. We have allowed ourselves to become beholden to the desires of bureaucrats in the beltway, contributed to a ballooning federal debt in the quest to get “our share” of the federal pie, and worst of all — have given up our sovereignty little by little over a long period of time because of it.

A lot of discussion has gone on about what to do with our state surplus. Everyone has a pet spending project, program, or idea they think should become the beneficiary of this windfall. But in reality, what we perhaps should be doing with it (other than maybe giving it back to those who paid the taxes generating the surplus in the first place) is wean ourselves off the flow of federal money, and free ourselves from the federal rules that have come with it. It is also, quite honestly, the responsible thing for us to do as well. If we can take care of ourselves and our own needs with our own resources, we should be doing just that.

North Dakotans know what is best for North Dakota. SCR 4012 is a start towards allowing us to address our needs in ways that will work best for our state, with less interference from DC. I only hope other areas of government services are added to it (or become the subject of their own studies) and the concurrent resolutions are passed. We need to take an honest look at how badly we really need the interference of the federal government in our state, in exchange for a few dollars which we could probably finance from within.

SCR 4012 63rd ND Legislative Session by


LegitSlater is a SayAnythingBlog.com contributor who focuses on features primarily pertaining to state and local government as well as political parties, but has been known to dabble in other areas. LegitSlater has also been known to pinch hit for Rob when he is out and about in his worldly travels, or attending the occasional Yankees-Twins series. LegitSlater's numerous awards include the personal satisfaction received from informing the vast readership of SAB, spurring respectful debate, and hunting the trophy sacred cows which have been otherwise deemed off limits by the traditional media, elected officials, and the political parties.

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  • Roy_Bean

    Great plan. I hope they have extra AEDs for the democrats when they read this.

  • whowon

    So true, until our elected “civil servants” get it we are under their control. Bringing home the pork is no longer a qualifier, it is all our money and they have blown all of it. I can’t believe when I read “we will accept Federal money for X program”, they must be part of the fools who believe the feds have their own money. We are in a position to break free, let’s do it in every way we can. Hoeven better change his thinking soon, voting with Heidi is not what we sent him to do either.

  • ec99

    You’re talking about a state that has been a Federal junkie for decades. Members of the Congressional delegations, whose political ideology would have meant certain defeat, were elected on the basis of the pork they brought back. There is no way ND will ever suffer the withdrawal symptoms of separating itself from federal largesse.

    • whowon

      Those days are over, the good old boys just haven’t figured it out.

      • ec99

        Better tell that to Dalrymple so he doesn’t waste time waiting for his 2.5 million subsidy check.

  • whowon

    Nice if we could eliminate NDEA too.

  • WOOF

    Ranks in the top ten worst political platforms.
    Will there be purges and re-education camps for those
    infected with federalist education policies ?

    • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

      Why are you against local school boards having autonomy over local education issues?

      • WOOF

        The feds give the states money for teachers , poor and handicapped students. How’s that hurt? What horrors are the feds forcing schools to teach ? The feds don’t force schools accept funding. If the state wants to teach nonsense, the feds don’t stop them. Wan’t to go it alone, roll on.

        • RCND

          What makes you automatically think teachers, poor and the handicapped can’t be adequately addressed without the intrusion of the federal government?

          • WOOF

            Where’s the advantage to state tax payers ? Again top ten worst political platforms “we don’t want federal dollars we’d rather spend state tax dollars.”

          • RCND

            There are no state dollars or federal dollars. They are taxpayer dollars.

          • WOOF

            Two different buckets. The feds can refill theirs in a heartbeat.

          • RCND

            With what? They don’t have any money. They will be asking us for a loan soon. The money that they do have in their bucket comes from the people just like what funds the state bucket. There is no “free” federal money. Its that mentality that has in part put us in debt up to our eardrums

          • yy4u2

            I’d say Woof is referring to the printing presses. Since he has no drive, he has no money. Making money worth less by printing more has no bearing on jackwagons like him. I can just hear him scream like Dick Vitale, “it’s all free, babyyyy!”

          • Game

            Have you ever talked to a local school board member about the cost of Special Education? Overwhelmingly, they think kids with disabilities are not worth the cost. Prior to the Feds getting involved they sent kids with disabilities of to institutions to be held, again their will, in a prison like setting. Just a few years ago, a school in North Dakota had a shop class build a cage to hold a child with a disability.

            That is why I thing the teaching of kids with disabilities cannot be “addressed” without the intrusion of the federal government.

          • RCND

            I do not buy your logic one bit. Even if your war story is true, it isn’t as if only the Feds can know what is right and wrong.

            And what better way than a study to prove you are right if you are. If you are right, you have nothing to lose if this goes forward.

  • RCND

    They do need to expand this study to all areas of state government. We need to see a consolidated report of all federal funding flows and the rules that come with them so we can make some honest assessments of the impacts of these programs, good or bad, and whether we are better off going it on our own

    • camsaure

      Yes, I agree with you, but I have to admit this is a good start. I am sure the feds and libs will resist because it could make it harder for them to indoctrinate our children. You should see some of the BS being foisted upon the children in school nowdays.

  • Guest

    This is a loser for the tax payers of North Dakota. If all states did this it would be fine and those services could be returned to the state. For us though if we do this we will continue to pay taxes to the Federal government but no receive any money back while other states do. Right now North Dakota gets far more back from the government than we pay in taxes; ironically enough we get more back in federal programs than the vast majority of states. If you are being ideological this is fine, but the real implications of what will happen is we will pay Washington, but not get money back. In this one example for schools we get well over 10% of funding for education from the Federal government. It may not sound like much but imagine if this coming year you all of the sudden had 14% or whatever the exact percentage is cut out of your pay. Now imagine that would do to our balance budget if you did that to more and more programs. Ideologically it sounds good, but in practicality it would be a major loser for the tax payer.

    • RCND

      I think what you are saying actually justifies a study even more.