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October 20. 2013 6:22PM

The NH way: Is that possible anymore?

When a local school board risks losing a large portion of its funding because it wants to devise academic standards that are higher than those promoted by federal bureaucrats, it is a good sign that the people have relinquished too much power to Washington.

Last Wednesday Manchester’s school board voted to use the Common Core standards as a floor, not a ceiling, for measuring student achievement. The district is to spend $28,000 to develop its own, higher standards. But can it?

Common Core was officially adopted by the state a few years ago. Though there is no mandate to use the standards, the city would need a waiver from the federal government to replace the Common Core test with one of its own. He who controls the tests controls education because classroom instruction is geared toward doing well on the tests.

So even though Common Core is not a curriculum itself, it will to some extent guide curriculum decisions.

Also last week the state’s Medicaid Expansion Commission recommended that the Legislature kinda-sorta expand Medicaid. It recommended subsidizing people up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, but not putting all of them on Medicaid. The state would need a waiver to do this. If we don’t expand in precisely the way the Obama administration wants, we won’t get millions in federal matching funds.

The state could insure the same number of people for less money, and provide them with better insurance than Medicaid offers, but Washington discourages that. It’s Washington’s way or pay. This is how innovation is discouraged and freedom is shrunk. By cycling so much money and authority through Washington, we are slowly turning our nation into one big, homogenous blob controlled by central planners at the hive headquarters.


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