Education Abolition

Another entry in the category of “You can’t make this stuff up”. Wake School Board member John Tedesco thinks that abolition of the US Department of Education “would be great”. That’s what he said on Facebook Friday in response to a proposal to “shut down & eliminate the Fed Dept of Educ”. The absurdity of this suggestion is evident in a report of Rand Paul’s articulation of the same proposal in Kentucky.

Rand Paul’s idea to kill education agency would affect poor most

Programs on the chopping block would include Title I, which distributes funds to schools and districts with high numbers of low-income students; Pell Grants for low-income college students; and Head Start, an early childhood education program for lower-income children.

Dismantling the Department of Education also would be a herculean and politically unpopular task, said Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank.

Since 1979 when Jimmy Carter signed the law creating the US Department of Education, conservatives, starting with Ronald Reagan, have been bent on abolishing the cabinet agency. For years abolition of the department was part of the Republican Party platform. President George H W Bush declined to implement this plank in his party’s platform. His son George W Bush, with the bipartisan collaboration of John Boehner and Ted Kennedy, actually expanded the role and size of the US Department of Education with the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Nationally candidates like Rand Paul and Sharron Angle took flak for calling for abolition of the US Department of Education yet NC Republicans Sue Myrick, Walter Jones, Howard Coble, and Richard Burr are known to support abolition of the Department. Among Republican candidates in NC in the 2010 election Ashley Woolard, Bill Randall, and BJ Lawson all supported abolition of the agency. Mike Beitler, Libertarian candidate for US Senate, also supported abolition of the agency. All this despite little public appetite for elimination of the Department of Education.

“It’s not realistic. If there is any official in Obama’s cabinet who has gotten more praise from The Wall Street Journal and conservative corners it is the secretary of education,” Hess said of Arne Duncan. “Republicans have spoken relatively kindly about what’s being done with education.”

The burdens of compliance with federal law would not evaporate with elimination of the US Department of Education. If anything the agency helps facilitates compliance with federal law and provides associated funds. Eschewing federal funding might release the yoke of compliance with some federal law. Much of that funding targets low achievement and low income students and is sorely needed. Yet, John Tedesco thinks that abolition of the US Department of Education “would be great”.

8 Comments

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  2. Rob Schofield

    November 15, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Thanks for calling people’s attention to this Greg. Watchdogs need to keep pointing out the extremism that underlies Tedesco’s policy proposals.

  3. William Murrat

    November 15, 2010 at 7:44 am

    If you stop and think about it, the Department of Education exemplifies the uncontrollable growth of federal spending in recent years. It’s primary purpose is to take money from the states, and then turn around and award this money back to individual school districts. The only problem is that it takes a huge bureaucracy to accomplish this task, and is often more political than logical. So, we take in a tax dollar for education, spend 50 cents to administer the programs, and then return 50 cents to the states.As we fall further behind the rest of the world in education, this department continues to get larger each year, and spend more money that never reaches the classroom.This same thing is done in many other departments, and is no longer sustainable.

  4. polifrog

    November 15, 2010 at 8:30 am

    From above:

    “Programs on the chopping block would include Title I, which distributes funds to schools and districts with high numbers of low-income students; Pell Grants for low-income college students; and Head Start, an early childhood education program for lower-income children.

    Dismantling the Department of Education also would be a herculean and politically unpopular task, said Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank.”

    Summary – The grants that flow from the the Dept. of Education would end rather than flow out of another agency, or better yet simply remain in the states where the dollars originated from in the first place.

    Oh, and also .. It’s too hard.

    polifrog

  5. James

    November 15, 2010 at 8:47 am

    I’m in favor of eliminating the Department of Education. Its demise would hasten armed insurrection by the poorest Americans, who until now have been willing to settle for whatever crumbs the corporatists allow them.

    We should be cheerleading the corporate takeover, encouraging them to overreach. Nothing short of a full-frontal view of their extraordinary greed will create the backlash necessary to reset our democracy.

  6. gregflynn

    November 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    The Federal Education Budget Project
    http://febp.newamerica.net/
    has solid information about Federal spending and the impacts of policy and funding changes on education.

  7. Joe Ciulla

    November 15, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    James, you live in a scary world. I’m sure this is all part of Art Pope’s plot to take over the world.

  8. Kim Hamlin

    November 21, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    The Department of Education is a documented failure. It was a mistake and an overreach of the federal government from the beginning. The federal government should focus time, money and attention on their purpose, i.e. protection of our borders! Illegal Mexicans are not the only individuals that are coming across the border. Arizona is practically at war and this administration is worried more about spending our money as fast as they can on maintaining unnecessary and wasteful agencies and bribes(earmarks) so they can get their socialist agenda passed than they are in protecting their citizens.