The only right answer is to end the Department of Education

Eliminate the Department of Education
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The only right answer is to end the Department of Education

Here’s a pop quiz for all you stu­dents at every level. It doesn’t mat­ter whether you’re in school today or if you’re sim­ply a stu­dent of life (as we all should be until we die). Since Jimmy Carter brought us the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, what has been the pos­i­tive impact it’s had on our stu­dents, teach­ers, par­ents, or communities?

It’s some­what of a trick ques­tion because no mat­ter what pos­i­tive impact you recall hear­ing about or see­ing on Wikipedia, there are more neg­a­tives that have come out of every action the depart­ment has taken and every decree they’ve made. I won’t bore you with sta­tis­tics or point to indi­vid­ual instances of com­plete fail­ure to improve the qual­ity or effi­ciency of edu­ca­tion in Amer­ica. Either you see the clear dys­func­tion in our schools today or you don’t. Noth­ing I say will change your mind.

If ever a depart­ment begged to be elim­i­nated for the sake of Fed­er­al­ism, this is it. Noth­ing screams local­iza­tion like edu­ca­tion. Noth­ing demands stan­dards be set by states, the com­mu­ni­ties within them, and par­ents them­selves as much as school­ing. To say the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is capa­ble of prop­erly over­see­ing edu­ca­tion is as asi­nine as think­ing they can prop­erly man­age health care.

They can’t. They’ve proven this very clearly, yet we’re still in the mid­dle of a 38-​year-​old failed experiment.

This isn’t just about elim­i­nat­ing Com­mon Core or push­ing for more char­ter schools. It’s not about decid­ing how to allo­cate bud­gets based upon which school dis­tricts can meet mean­ing­less stan­dards the best. We’re at a point that the only cor­rect answer to this very easy ques­tion is to begin the tran­si­tion to get DC out of schools altogether.

There is too much money in play to pull the rug out from under them which is why a tran­si­tion is nec­es­sary. It doesn’t have to be a long one. If they start now, they could have a plan in place before the next elec­tion fol­lowed by elim­i­na­tion of the depart­ment before the 2020 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. As hor­rid as it is to have to think about this in terms of elec­tion cycles, that’s the only way to get DC politi­cians to act.

Will edu­ca­tion be harmed for a time as a result? It’s hard to say. On one hand, there’s cer­tain to be obtuse state leg­is­la­tures and/​or gov­er­nors who fail to pre­pare for the bur­den that should have belonged to them all along. On the other hand, it’s hard to imag­ine that it could get much worse. Many if not most school dis­tricts and state depart­ments have become so focused on stay­ing within the bound­aries set by DC that they may strug­gle at first. This may seem unfair to the stu­dents directly affected, but just as the states and cities need to step up, so too do the dis­tricts and indi­vid­ual schools. Many won’t like it, but enough edu­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als will take respon­si­bil­ity and make it work. Those who do not don’t belong in such impor­tant roles in the first place.

Amer­ica has been shift­ing away from a mind­set of per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity since the 1960s. There was a brief inter­mis­sion when things were look­ing up in the 1980s, but that quickly faded after Ronald Rea­gan left the White House. This is why when look­ing at the big pic­ture, dis­solv­ing the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion is a micro­cosm of what must be done to much of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment as a whole. It’s the most obvi­ous exam­ple of over­reach, unnec­es­sary bureau­cracy, and wasted tax­payer dol­lars. As such, elim­i­nat­ing it would be an excel­lent guide for future acts of decon­struc­tion that are also needed in DC. If we don’t imme­di­ately begin chop­ping away at the bloat, the big-​government mon­stros­ity will con­tinue to grow.

Apply­ing Reagan’s con­cepts of Fed­er­al­ism to slice the fat in DC may seem rad­i­cal today just as it seemed rad­i­cal when Rea­gan was in office. He had few government-​limiting allies within the GOP which is why he couldn’t cut nearly as much as he would have liked. Today, it’s much worse as both major par­ties seem to be rac­ing to see who can grow DC power the fastest. It’s time to start dis­man­tling the admin­is­tra­tion state one agency, pro­gram, com­mit­tee, and depart­ment at a time. The Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion is a prime can­di­date to face the guil­lo­tine first.

Here’s a pop quiz for all you students at every level. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in school today or if you’re simply a student of life (as we all should be until we die). Since Jimmy Carter brought us the Department of Education, what has been the positive impact it’s had on our students, teachers, parents, or communities?

It’s somewhat of a trick question because no matter what positive impact you recall hearing about or seeing on Wikipedia, there are more negatives that have come out of every action the department has taken and every decree they’ve made. I won’t bore you with statistics or point to individual instances of complete failure to improve the quality or efficiency of education in America. Either you see the clear dysfunction in our schools today or you don’t. Nothing I say will change your mind.

If ever a department begged to be eliminated for the sake of Federalism, this is it. Nothing screams localization like education. Nothing demands standards be set by states, the communities within them, and parents themselves as much as schooling. To say the federal government is capable of properly overseeing education is as asinine as thinking they can properly manage health care.

They can’t. They’ve proven this very clearly, yet we’re still in the middle of a 38-year-old failed experiment.

This isn’t just about eliminating Common Core or pushing for more charter schools. It’s not about deciding how to allocate budgets based upon which school districts can meet meaningless standards the best. We’re at a point that the only correct answer to this very easy question is to begin the transition to get DC out of schools altogether.

There is too much money in play to pull the rug out from under them which is why a transition is necessary. It doesn’t have to be a long one. If they start now, they could have a plan in place before the next election followed by elimination of the department before the 2020 Presidential elections. As horrid as it is to have to think about this in terms of election cycles, that’s the only way to get DC politicians to act.

Will education be harmed for a time as a result? It’s hard to say. On one hand, there’s certain to be obtuse state legislatures and/or governors who fail to prepare for the burden that should have belonged to them all along. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine that it could get much worse. Many if not most school districts and state departments have become so focused on staying within the boundaries set by DC that they may struggle at first. This may seem unfair to the students directly affected, but just as the states and cities need to step up, so too do the districts and individual schools. Many won’t like it, but enough education professionals will take responsibility and make it work. Those who do not don’t belong in such important roles in the first place.

America has been shifting away from a mindset of personal responsibility since the 1960s. There was a brief intermission when things were looking up in the 1980s, but that quickly faded after Ronald Reagan left the White House. This is why when looking at the big picture, dissolving the Department of Education is a microcosm of what must be done to much of the federal government as a whole. It’s the most obvious example of overreach, unnecessary bureaucracy, and wasted taxpayer dollars. As such, eliminating it would be an excellent guide for future acts of deconstruction that are also needed in DC. If we don’t immediately begin chopping away at the bloat, the big-government monstrosity will continue to grow.

Applying Reagan’s concepts of Federalism to slice the fat in DC may seem radical today just as it seemed radical when Reagan was in office. He had few government-limiting allies within the GOP which is why he couldn’t cut nearly as much as he would have liked. Today, it’s much worse as both major parties seem to be racing to see who can grow DC power the fastest. It’s time to start dismantling the administration state one agency, program, committee, and department at a time. The Department of Education is a prime candidate to face the guillotine first.