Published Online: March 29, 2005
Published in Print: March 30, 2005, as View of U.S. Constitution Is ‘Uninformed at Best’


View of U.S. Constitution Is ‘Uninformed at Best’

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To the Editor:

William F. “Wally” Cox Jr. ("It’s Not Just a Bad Law, It’s Unconstitutional," Letters, March 16, 2005) would be wise to follow his own advice and educate himself about the constitutional issues surrounding the No Child Left Behind Act.

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to “make all laws” (Clause 18) to provide for the “general welfare of the United States” with federal tax revenues (Clause 1). This forms the basis for such programs as Social Security, Medicare, and the National Park Service, none of which is mentioned in the Constitution.

With respect to elementary and secondary education, an overwhelming majority of federal funding is targeted to special education students and students who live in poverty. The simple aim of the No Child Left Behind law is to ensure that this spending is accompanied by improved student outcomes, which certainly conforms to the “general welfare” stipulation.

In any case, Professor Cox’s attempt to hand-wave away this federal legislation because the word “education” does not appear in the Constitution is uninformed at best.

Mark Linnen
Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.

Vol. 24, Issue 29, Page 35

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