Republican Proposes Eliminating Department of Education. Here Are 7 Reasons That's A Great Idea.

February 9, 2017

A House Republican has proposed abolishing the Department of Education.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) put forth a bill that simply states that the department will cease to exist at the end of 2018. It has the support of at least seven other House Republicans, including Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Raul Labrador (R-ID).

Here are seven reasons why eliminating the Department of Education would be a great idea.

1. Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education as a form of political payback to the teachers unions. According to Reason, Carter had decided to establish the department to thank the National Education Association (NEA) for their support in 1976 and, given his low approval ratings at the time, he hoped that forming the Department of Education would ensure the NEA's support for the 1980 election.

A House Democrat even admitted at the time, "The idea of an Education Department is really a bad one. But it's NEA's top priority. There are school teachers in every congressional district and most of us simply don't need the aggravation of taking them on.''

The NEA's executive director in 1980 declared, "There'd be no department without the NEA."

What better way to help break the teachers unions' iron grip on education than abolishing the Department of Education?

2. The department is unconstitutionalThe Constitution makes no mention of education; it is not an enumerated power given to the federal government. Therefore, under the Tenth Amendment, education should be left to the states and the federal government should be kept out of it.

3. The results under the Department of Education have been abysmal. In January 2016, the Daily Wire highlighted the following statistics from Mark Levin's Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future:

  • U.S. fifteen-year-olds scored below average in math, science and reading among OECD nations, according to the Program for International Student Assessment. This is despite the fact that Luxembourg and Norway are the only two OECD nations that spent more per student on education than the U.S.
  • Only 43 percent of students who took the SAT in 2013 were deemed as "college-ready."
  • 2013 was the fifth straight year where less than half of those taking the SAT scored above 1550, which is "the threshold for demonstrating the capability to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of B-minus or better in a four-year degree college or university."
  • Only 26 percent of U.S. 12th graders are skilled in math and only 38 percent are skilled in reading, according to the 2013 NAEP report.
  • 66 percent of all applicants to the Armed Services Vocational Battery "fail to meet the minimal educational standards on the tests."

Levin also cites a study by Andrew Coulson, director of Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom, which determined that SAT scores over the past 40 years have declined by an average of 3 percent, similar to trends observed by the NAEP.

"Consistent with those patterns, there has been essentially no correlation between what states have spent on education and their measured academic outcomes," Coulson writes.

The Department of Education has been an abject failure; it only makes sense to get rid of it.

4. Eliminating the Department of Education would end Common Core. The Daily Wire has previously highlighted the following about Common Core:

As Michelle Malkin has explained, Common Core has further federalized education and co-opted schools into dumbed-down standards, revisionist left-wing history and ridiculous math problems that are more complicated than they need to be while setting back children's progress in this crucial subject compared to other countries. It is also a massive data mining scheme that collects "information on every student’s personality, attitudes, values, beliefs, and disposition, a psychological profile called Interpersonal Skills Standards and anchors" that the federal government uses as part of a "decision making model," according to Fox News.

In other words, Common Core has further federalized education and decreased the quality of education by doing so. While newly confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is strong on school choice, her previous support for Common Core does raise questions as to whether she will actually scale back the program. The best way to ensure the demise of Common Core is to end the Department of Education altogether.

5. Abolishing the department would be a major victory for school choice. Even if DeVos were to successfully implement school choice reforms in her position as Education Secretary, what would stop a future Democrat Education Secretary from undoing her reforms? The federal government's involvement is a liability more often than not, so the best way to advance school choice is to eliminate the department. This way, states and localities would solely be in control of education, governments that are closer to the people and more willing to listen to parents' input about how their children can best obtain a quality education.

6. Ending the department would also allow states to experiment with various education models and standards. One of the key aspects of a free society is federalism; the concept of having authority divided between the federal government and the states. This concept promotes freedom by allowing people to move from one state to another if they are unhappy with the policies of a state. States can also conduct their own policy experiments that other states can learn from.

The same concept applies to education. States and localities can try a range of education models and standards; parents and children are free to choose from a wider variety of schools and education standards and decide which ones are the best fit for them instead of being forced into a centralized government scheme.

7. The Department of Education spends around $70 billion annually. If that can't be eliminated when the country faces nearly $20 trillion in fiscal operating debt, then there isn't much hope in solving the country's pending debt crisis.

Follow Aaron Bandler on Twitter @bandlersbanter.

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