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Abolishing the Department of Education is the Right Thing to Do

Eliminating the Department of Education used to be a standard Republican talking point. In 1980, Ronald Reagan ran on abolishing the federal department soon after Jimmy Carter created it. The 1996 GOP platform read, “the Federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the market place. This is why we will abolish the Department of Education, end federal meddling in our schools, and promote family choice at all levels of learning.”

The Republican Party has since lost its way. George W. Bush championed the No Child Left Behind law—also known as the No Federal Bureaucrat Left Behind law—which has massively expanded the federal government’s role in education. With a few notable exceptions such as Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, modern day Republicans have backed away from gutting the Department of Education. It has become more common for Republicans to promise that they will eliminate “waste, fraud and abuse” in government programs without giving any specifics.

Republicans need to return to their small government roots. We just can’t solve our budget problems and restore liberty by simply tinkering around the edges. Instead of pledging to “fix” unconstitutional government programs—we need more elected representatives willing to scrap entire departments. Today’s GOP should channel Mr. Conservative himself Barry Goldwater who declared that “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient…my aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them.”

The Department of Education deserves to be on the chopping block. Our children’s education is too important to be left up to a federal centralized bureaucracy. Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education as a political payoff to the teachers’ unions for their 1976 endorsement. We should judge all governmental agencies by their results rather than their intentions. Like virtually every federal department, the Department of Education has only made things worse. Student educational outcomes have worsened since the creation of the Department of Education.

The Department of Education is blatantly unconstitutional, like so much that the federal government does. The truth is that the federal government only has about thirty enumerated powers delegated to it in the Constitution. Education is not specifically listed in the document, which means that the authority over education should be left up to the states and the people. We cannot afford to waste anymore taxpayer dollars on failed national schemes.

Federal agencies always cost more than initially predicted. The Department of Education’s 2011 budget is nearly six times greater than its original budget. It has increased from $13.1 billion (in 2007 dollars) in 1980 to $77.8 billion in 2011. The federal government throwing more money at education has done virtually nothing to improve educational outcomes. Student test scores in math, reading and science have remained flat or declined over the past four decades. The chart below from the Cato Institute shows how increased federal spending has not had a positive effect on educational achievement:

The federal government meddling in education has been a failure to say the least. A group of federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. cannot possibly design a curriculum that meets the unique needs of millions of school children across the nation. We need to restore control over education to the local level where teachers and parents are put back in charge. Make no mistake; eliminating the Department of Education is a pro-education position.

More of today's Republicans need to grow spines and renew the call to abolish the Department of Education. It’s unconstitutional, a waste of taxpayer dollars and has been detrimental to the quality of education in America.


I was pleased with the cooperation.


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The Department of Education deserves to be on the chopping block. Our children’s education is too important to be left up to a federal centralized bureaucracy. Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education as a political payoff to the teachers’ unions for their 1976 endorsement.


The Department of Education is just another avenue for the federal government to strengthen their control of the population.

They establish policies that are no in sync with many Americans' family values, and then they proceed to shove them down our throats using our kids' education.

That is why it is so important to provide our youth with strong conservative values and beliefs, and tools for them to use to educate themselves about other points of view. A new magazine called The Conservative Teen is a great resource for parents, grandparents and guardians. They cover social, moral, fiscal and political issues with an eye toward educating our next generation. You can check it out online, too, at

christian kowalski

these costs are outrageous-with little or no effect.i absolutely agree that the republicans need to grow a strong far i just don't see i said before they're too soft on these exact issues.


But think of all the test scores that didn't go down because of all that spending! I'm kidding. I am riffing off the argument that the stimulus "saved" jobs.

Toddy Littman

Some support from President Thomas Jefferson's Second Inaugural Address after he is appealed to to spend the tax surplus on things outside Article I, Section 8:

". . . by a just repartition among the states, and a CORRESPONDING AMENDMENT of the constitution, be applied, in time of peace, to rivers, canals, roads, arts, manufactures, education, and other great objects within each state."

That President Jefferson repeats the necessity of a constitutional amendment in his sixth annual message to Congress in 1806:

". . . application to the great purposes of public education, roads, rivers, canals, and such other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper, to ADD TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL ENUMERATION OF FEDERAL POWERS . . . I supposed AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION, BY CONSENT OF THE STATES, NECESSARY, because the objects now recommended are NOT AMONG THOSE ENUMERATED IN THE CONSTITUTION, and to which it permits the public moneys to be applied."

And I must note, due to the Ron Paul, tag, I am not a Ron Paul supporter. I do support Michele Bachmann only because choosing her would decimate the Democratic Party. We would silence any and all opportunity to hear in 2016, "As the Party for Social Justice and Civil Rights since our inception, and the party that gave America the first African-American President, we now are going to give you the first woman President of the United States."

And that my friends would surely weaken the Democratic Party, and, put National Organization of Women on notice, that it is through the Tea Party that America achieves "change we can believe in," because it is entirely rooted in Individual Liberty and Our Written Constitution limiting government, if we remain vigilant and enforce it. It is the Conservative who stands for the minority, the smallest minority, the minority of 1, the Individual in Liberty.