In 1979, during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, the Federal Department of Education was created as a Cabinet Level department. In the 38 years since then, we have spent $1.5 trillion on this department. It was created in response to a study of Education in America that famously said “If a foreign nation imposed this system of education on us, it would be considered an act of war.” It was supposed to “fix” the problem and dramatically improve education in America. [Ed: The source where I got that information was apparently chronologically challenged as that quote was from the 1983 “A Nation At Risk” study. It was instead created apparently to fulfill a promise Carter made to the National Education Association gaining their support during his campaign]
Can anyone honestly say that our schools are any better now than they were then?
As the above chart shows, spending has been growing by leaps and bounds but the performance of the schools, as measured by the reading, math, and science scores of the students has not measurably improved.
One would presume that the purpose of the Department of Education would be to improve the education of American students so they would graduate possessing greater knowledge of core subjects like reading, math, science, and history. One would presume.
Whatever the Department of Education is doing, it is not working. The improvement has simply not been happening.
They have had thirty-eight years and one and a half trillion dollars to improve things. They have had Democrat and Republican appointees both in charge. They have had more liberal and less liberal Congresses passing budgets (or at least continuing resolutions). They have had every possible chance to show that they can actually make our schools better.
They have failed. It’s time to shut down the failed experiment.
Of course, advocating that evokes the cries of those who declare that education will collapse and we’ll suddenly have a nation of functional illiterates. In many ways, we already have that. But consider what we accomplished with education system more beholden to the local than the Federal level, before there was a Department of Education, before there was even a Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. We educated a population that took us from horse and buggies to the sound barrier and beyond. We educated a population that won two world wars, both of which involved significant technological advances. We went from Congreve Rockets to Earth Orbiting Satellites, to Man in Space, to the Moon. We educated a population that gave us the first sort-of reuseable spaceship (Oh, don’t get me started… But the problems were not educational. The problems were political). We did all that without federal meddling with people’s schooling.
What has been done, can be done.
Who has more interest in the education of a community’s children, than the community itself. Will some fail in their charge? No doubt. But they will fail for themselves. When the Federal government fails, it fails for everybody.
So, time and past time to get the Federal Government out of what should be a State, or better yet local, issue. The money is wasted and accomplishes nothing good.
Empty promises and wishful thinking are not a substitute actual results.