ABOLISH THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Dennis L. Cuddy, Ph.D.
April 18, 2011
[Note: There has been a great deal on talk radio recently about how to reduce the federal budget. One suggestion that repeatedly has been mentioned is that we could eliminate the U.S. Department of Education. Below is an article I wrote on that subject in 1999. It went over the Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service wires and is still relevant today.]
Congress has been debating “Ed Flex” legislation regarding how much federal direction should be given funds for education being sent back to the states. A member of a large city-county school system’s board of education has said “we need all the federal dollars we can get.”
But it’s not the federal government’s money—it’s ours. And if you really want more money for education across the nation, then we shouldn’t be sending these tax dollars to the feds in the first place.
During the hearings on Ed Flex, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., noted that it takes six times the number of people to administer federal dollars. And Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark., said that half the paper work at the state level is to comply with federal requirements. He also referred to Arizona State Superintendent Lisa Keegan’s point that half of her employees are overseeing federal dollars.
On March 7, 1979, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., entered into the Congressional Record recent editorials by leading American newspapers (e.g., The Washington Post on February 11, The New York Times on March 4, etc.) saying we do not need a U.S. Department of Education. Besides, the 10th Amendment makes it clear that education is not a federal responsibility. However, there are about 5,000 federal employees in the U.S. Department of Education, and it’s obvious we’re not going to meet their “national education goals” for the year 2000 set forth in 1989.
In the hearings on Ed Flex, one senator asked U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley exactly what it is they do at DOE. After pondering this question a moment, Secretary Riley replied that, for one thing, they try to determine and disseminate best educational practices.
But we already know “What Works,” because that’s the title of an 86-page document produced by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in which I worked in Washington in the 1980s. It includes research findings, descriptions of what works in education, and scholarly references on about 60 subjects.
The feds today will tell you they are still necessary and give needed direction regarding how federal dollars should be used by the states. But teachers and legislators will assure you that they themselves are not idiots, and actually know best how our tax dollars should be spent on education.
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Just abolish the U.S. Department of Education, and if you do the math, you’ll see that if we don’t have federal bureaucrats and their requirements siphoning off a huge chunk of our taxes, we’ll have MORE to spend on education in each state. This should make our teachers, state legislators, parents and all taxpayers happy.
© 2011 Dennis Cuddy - All Rights Reserved