Initially the stated purpose of the agency was to establish policy for the administration of government assistance and to enforce federal education laws. However, the department’s stated mission is to “promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.” To accomplish those tasks it was first given 4,000 employees and a little more than $14 billion as a budget. At the time the agency was formed,
ranked at the top of the world in educational quality. America
Now, just a little over three decades later we can boast that we still are among the world leaders in educational spending. Our lead ends with that assertion. Today countries such as
South Korea and lead in educational accomplishment. In ranking among the 35 most educated nations, the Japan can only boast #25 in math scores, #21 in science scores and #21 in percentage of graduates. United States
At the same time we can see the Department of Education has grown from the smallest of governmental agencies to one that has inserted its activities across at least 39 different federal agencies with more than 760 education related programs, costing the American taxpayers $120 billion a year. These are not even part of its annual budget of almost $71 billion.
For more than 200 years the
functioned very well without a Department of Education. For purely political reasons and to improve union strength the agency was formed. Now billions of dollars later, we are further behind the educational curve than ever. We have an agency that has proven it can do nothing to improve education for our children and one, which most members of Congress will admit, is involved in a multitude of activities that have nothing to do with advancing education. United States
If we had kept education at the local level state and local government would have been more involved in every aspect of our programs. Parents would have become more involved in reform efforts. Differences in the programs of other states and other communities would have been noted and good practices found in one locale would have been applied in another. As the system is today distant government bureaucrats make the decisions and parental control is only superficial. The ideas put in place by
grow with every passing year and most of them have done nothing to improve test scores or graduation rates. Washington D.C.
We really need no other authority to abolish the Department of Education. There is nothing constitutional about its existence. Though it offers up a mantra about creating uniformity among the states, it can also be argued that very idea is harmful to advancing improvement or seeking out greater knowledge.
From the political side of the coin it can also be argued that members of Congress do not have the ability to improve the level of education in the classroom, and they should instead be spending their time dealing with problems that are legitimately within their mandate.
We should strongly urge the elimination of the Department of Education now. If it keeps growing, as has been its trend for three decades, it will only consume more and more taxpayer dollars that produce little or no results. Most of us believe mom and dad can spend those education dollars in a much more productive way.
Thomas D. Segel