First and foremost, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that the federal government’s role in the education of our nation’s students should be lessened. She believes that if the power to craft teaching strategies is given back to the local school administrators, teachers, and parents then the education system on the whole will have greater flexibility. This greater flexibility leads to better accountability in the classrooms and more adaptability for the teachers in serving the individual education needs of their students.
While her stance in the past has been that the Department of Education would serve only as guidance as states planned their own curricula, her stance on this current election has gotten significantly harder. She now supports the complete abolition of the Department of Education so that the tax dollars do not get fed into a government bureaucracy that was only formed to appease the teachers unions and has shown a decrease in national test scores since its inception. She wants to show the people of America that students were still getting great educations and test scores before the Federal Department of Education was formed in 1977.
Congresswoman Bachmann supports repealing the No Child Left Behind Act because she believes that it’s good intentions are overshadowed by the fact that it encourages “teaching the test” instead of focusing on real educational advances for students. Her very motivation for entering politics was on the issue of education: “I entered politics because I want to give my children the incredible educational experience I received from public schools as a student. No Child Left Behind must be repealed and control of our education returned to the local level.” She does not believe that a federal, “one-size-fits-all”, approach gives the teachers the authority needed to serve their students first. With five biological children and twenty three foster children she has had extensive experience in observing how important it is that schools and teachers are given the flexibility they need to serve their students, and has found no use for a federal-level education department in the teacher-student relationship.
On the highly controversial issue of “Evolution vs. Intelligent Design”, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that since science has not come to any concrete conclusions regarding the origin of life that intelligent design and evolution should be taught alongside each other in public schools so that students can get exposure to the two predominant ideas. As with all education issues, she believes that this should be handled at the state level and not the federal level. One way that she plans on tackling this issue is through her original co-sponsorship of the bill H.R. 1539, the A-Plus Act. While this bill was not passed, portions of it still remain an integral part of her education plan for America. The bill grants a great deal of power and flexibility to each state for implementation of programs best suited for their own needs, and puts a great deal of stress on education transparency. This is done so that the public is able to easily see how their students are doing in relation to the proficiency standards set by the state.
Her stated rationale is that a state which is allowed to increase its standards unhindered by a federal bureaucracy will be able to draw new residents to the state. This competition will naturally force schools to get better at educating students, and it creates overall much more competent and educated youth.