Federalism—our system of “50 laboratories of democracy”—is one of the great strengths of the American constitution. But we aren’t taking full advantage of it. Many states in the United States today have Republican majorities in their state legislatures, and even Republican governors, yet still have many left-wing policies on the books and people in their state governments enforcing them. What might be done in these red states to try to improve things? Herewith are ten suggestions.
The first few are under the heading of “anti-racism” and anti-discrimination. It is racist to take race into consideration in one’s daily life—in hiring, in deciding who to hire, who to admit to school, and which contractors to use, etc. All that should be prohibited in the name of ending racism.
End Affirmative Action in State Hiring and Admissions
Ironically, states like California and Washington have banned affirmative action, and have rejected efforts to restore it, even as they remain decidedly blue. Yet many red states have not taken that step. If this can be done in these left-wing blue states, one must assume that the people of red states are at least as opposed to affirmative action. It is, after all, racist to force schools, businesses, and governments to take race into account in hiring, admissions, and the like.
Hence our first suggestion: ban the consideration of race in admissions in all state colleges and universities, and in all hiring by the state government, or in the selection of any contractors receiving state money. The red states can be laboratories of democracy. Let’s run the experiment. Will racism be more reduced when we stop government mandated race-counting and race-conscious hiring? It’s not a bad bet to think it might.
Fire All State Diversity and Affirmative Action Employees
Following from the first suggestion is a necessary second suggestion. Fire everyone paid by the state to enforce affirmative action or diversity in hiring. As the state’s anti-racist strategy is to stop counting by race, all these jobs are no longer needed.
Prohibit the Counting by Race
The Beast of critical race theory feeds on data. Rather than focusing on individual cases of discrimination (which still do occur), advocates instead focus on statistical disparities. Without the gathering of such data that would be impossible. Hence states could prohibit the collection of data on race by the state government, in all state colleges and universities, in all state offices, and, in states where they have such power, by all local governments. That might run into federal mandates requiring such data collection. A state might declare itself an “anti-racist sanctuary” and prohibit such data collection.
Alternatively states might note on all forms that require such classification something like, “In this state we take it as a given that it is racist and wrong to count people by race. The federal government, however, mandates that we give you the opportunity to check the race box, or race boxes of your choice. Believing as we do that this is wrong, we encourage you to check ‘choose not to declare’ or ‘none of the above.’’ If enough people did that it might deprive the corrupt racist enforcers of the data they need to do their dirty job.
Finally, if counting by race is federally mandated, the state might add categories for its official tally. Many elite schools fill their “diversity” goals by bringing in African and Afro-Caribbean students. But if the United States owes an historic debt to black students, it is to those who had ancestors who were slaves in the United States and/ or lived under Jim Crow and other racist programs here. Cornell’s black students protested the relatively low numbers of American black vs. African and Afro-Caribbean students. Hence it would be good, if data must be collected, to disaggregate such groups in the official counting.
Create Non-Racist Accrediting Agencies
Another important base of power rests with the groups that certify what schools are teaching. It is not only a problem in private schools. Allocate money to help create a group that does not enforce the Left’s preferred political bias as a necessary part of the curriculum in our schools. (The money saved by getting rid of diversity bean counters and enforcers might be allocated for this purpose).
Defund the Diversity Industry Scam
Another way to defund the Left would be to stop funding the host of consultants and other “professionals” who make a good living in the diversity industry. Many of them are very well paid. For starters, one might set a limit on speaking fees for consultants hired by governments or on state campuses, say, of $5,000. Why should a consultant get paid more for an hour than an adjunct gets for an entire semester? That might begin to make a dent in the business model of the race hucksters who make a good living by dividing us by race.
Mandate Transparent Reporting of Student Progress
Transparency is good, and our schools are not doing as good a job as they ought to be doing in being transparent. One way to make the quality (and, lamentably, frequent lack thereof) more transparent would be to have more honest reporting. Along with report cards at the end of the year, parents should be notified of how their children are doing compared with the official “grade-level” standards of the year they have just completed, in addition to noting how the entire class is doing relative to that standard.
All too many of our schools are failing to help students reach grade-level learning. More data sent to parents would help make the problem more manifest, and might spur more creative work to improve the situation. At the moment we are failing in this regard. As one report notes, “More than 60 percent of twelfth-grade students scored below the proficient level in reading achievement, and 27 percent scored below the basic level in reading.” That is simply unacceptable, and yet it continues, partly because parents don’t realize how bad things are. Democracy dies in darkness, as the Washington Post notes. Let the sun shine in!
Transform School Funding So Money Follows Students
The monopoly, or near monopoly, government-run schools have is probably part of the problem. In time, monopolistic power tends to be abused, and monopolists tend to get lazy. It is, therefore, wise to transform school funding. Pass a bill mandating that funding follows students, and that students are free to choose to use that money for charter or private schools. To work effectively, such a bill would also probably have to dig into school budgets, and find a way to manage the inevitable loss of jobs by many who currently work in government-run schools. Ending all diversity programs would be a start at that, of course. Including an account of what percent of students are attaining grade-level learning would help parents decide what school would be best for their child.
Enforce the Janus Decision With Informed Yearly Consent
Enforce the Janus decision. The Supreme Court has ruled that government employee unions must allow people to opt out of paying dues to their union. Not surprisingly, government employee unions have tried to minimize knowledge of this decision and they sometimes make it very difficult for an individual to stop paying dues. States can fix that with legislation. They can mandate that each employee must fill out a form every year explicitly affirming his or her desire to remain in the union.
To make it easier for individuals to make that choice, the state might find it helpful to make sure that there are no laws on the books making it difficult for a non-union government employee to purchase professional liability insurance on the private market. If national labor law allows it, states might also require recertification votes for all unions in the states on a regular basis. Perpetual unions are more like medieval guilds, from the feudal world. If a union, once created, has the presumptive right to be the representative of a given set of workers it creates an unchecked, and largely uncheckable, right. Requiring the workers in the union to reassert their right to choose what union represents them, or even if a union represents, would be a good way to recalibrate the balance of power.
Encourage Fracking on State Land
When it comes to the environment and questions concerning climate change, the United States has done much better than Europe in reducing carbon emissions. Why? One word: fracking. Fracking has made natural gas much less expensive and much more available than it previously had been. And natural gas burns much cleaner than coal, which it often replaces. It’s also cleaner than oil. In the medium term it’s probably the best way to reduce greenhouse emissions. For that reason, state governments, where fracking is viable, should work to ensure that state lands are available for fracking under the “Cleaner, Greener, Energy Initiative.”
Encourage Gun Safety and Shooting Courses
Gun culture is part of American culture, particularly in red states. As such, learning about guns and encouraging familiarity with gun safety is an important part of educating citizens. For that reason, it would be good to ensure that all high schools have a (mandatory?) class in gun education. The class would have both a classroom aspect to instruct students on gun safety and purposes, and a practical side of shooting guns at ranges. All students who complete the class successfully will be pre-cleared for purchasing guns with no further background check. The certification can be taken away for good cause (felony convictions or other like reasons).
These ten ideas are just a starting place for states to begin making advances in defeating “blue” programs and interest groups. What is the point of having political power if we don’t use it to advance policies that are both right and popular? In the case of the states, red should mean “Go!”