Last week, Governor Bob McDonnell withdrew Virginia from the federal government’s Race To The Top program (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), which provides millions of dollars in grant funding to public education. However, the inevitable federal strings come with those millions. In this case, the deal breaker was the adoption of federal academic standards that are weaker than our own Standards of Learning. As the governor told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC yesterday, standards should be a floor, not a ceiling. Of course, the federal government’s involvement in local education is a problem in and of itself — good intentions and incentives aside, it shouldn’t bribe states and localities with other people’s tax dollars for a one-size-fits-all approach. (Instead, how about letting the states — the people — keep the money to begin with, or using the money to balance the budget?) Here’s the governor explaining his reasons himself:
Governor McDonnell: Virginia won’t be bought off by the feds, not even for a couple hundred million dollars!