Monday, November 08, 2010

Time to get the Federal government out of Education?

The US Department of Education was founded in 1979. Four years later the Federal Government released a report on the state of Education in America. A Nation at Risk warned that education had deteriorated over the previous decades. It had this famous quote:

"If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves."

This is another powerful quote:

"Each generation of Americans has outstripped its parents in education, in literacy, and in economic attainment. For the first time in the history of our country, the educational skills of one generation will not surpass, will not equal, will not even approach, those of their parents."

Things have only gotten worse since 1983.

I acknowledge that correlation is not causation. But I do believe that overall the Department of Education has been bad for education in the United States. The central bureaucracy passes many rules with little accountability. By returning to local and state control education in American would improve.

In Keep Fed Ed? What, Do You Hate Kids? Neal McCluskey recognizes that politically it would be a huge challenge to dismantle the Department of Education, but encourages politicians to take up the good fight. His column starts with:

Yesterday, Tad DeHaven wrote about an interview with Rep. John Kline (R-MN), likely chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee should the GOP take the House majority. Tad lamented that Kline seemed to declare any potential effort to kill the U.S. Department of Education (ED) already dead in the water. Unfortunately, Kline is certainly right: Any effort to kill ED in the next couple of years would not only have to get through a (presumably) GOP-held House, but (also presumably) a Dem-controlled Senate and Obama-occupied White House. There just aint no way ED will be dismantled — and more importantly, it’s profligate programs eliminated — in that environment.

I agree that it will be very hard to get rid of the Department of Education. And I am so glad that homeschooling gives us an option to provide a quality education.

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