Skip to comments.Why We No Longer Need The Department of Education
Posted on 01/28/2012 6:08:27 PM PST by Starman417
Excellent article adapted from a speech given by Charles Murray regarding the need for the Department of Education:
THE CASE FOR the Department of Education could rest on one or more of three legs: its constitutional appropriateness, the existence of serious problems in education that could be solved only at the federal level, and/or its track record since it came into being. Let us consider these in order.
(1) Is the Department of Education constitutional?
At the time the Constitution was written, education was not even considered a function of local government, let alone the federal government. But the shakiness of the Department of Educations constitutionality goes beyond that. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the things over which Congress has the power to legislate. Not only does the list not include education, there is no plausible rationale for squeezing education in under the commerce clause. Im sure the Supreme Court found a rationale, but it cannot have been plausible.
On a more philosophical level, the framers of Americas limited government had a broad allegiance to what Catholics call the principle of subsidiarity. In the secular world, the principle of subsidiarity means that local government should do only those things that individuals cannot do for themselves, state government should do only those things that local governments cannot do, and the federal government should do only those things that the individual states cannot do. Education is something that individuals acting alone and cooperatively can do, let alone something local or state governments can do.
I should be explicit about my own animus in this regard. I dont think the Department of Education is constitutionally legitimate, let alone appropriate. I would favor abolishing it even if, on a pragmatic level, it had improved American education. But I am in a small minority on that point, so lets move on to the pragmatic questions.
(2) Are there serious problems in education that can be solved only at the federal level?
The first major federal spending on education was triggered by the launch of the first space satellite, Sputnik, in the fall of 1957, which created a perception that the United States had fallen behind the Soviet Union in science and technology. The legislation was specifically designed to encourage more students to go into math and science, and its motivation is indicated by its title: The National Defense Education Act of 1958. But what really ensnared the federal government in education in the 1960s had its origins elsewherein civil rights. The Supreme Court declared segregation of the schools unconstitutional in 1954, butnotwithstanding a few highly publicized episodes such as the integration of Central High School in Little Rock and James Merediths admission to the University of Mississippithe pace of change in the next decade was glacial.
Was it necessary for the federal government to act? There is a strong argument for yes, especially in the case of K-12 education. Southern resistance to desegregation proved to be both stubborn and effective in the years following Brown v. Board of Education. Segregation of the schools had been declared unconstitutional, and constitutional rights were being violated on a massive scale. But the question at hand is whether we need a Department of Education now, and we have seen a typical evolution of policy. What could have been justified as a one-time, forceful effort to end violations of constitutional rights, lasting until the constitutional wrongs had been righted, was transmuted into a permanent government establishment. Subsequently, this establishment became more and more deeply involved in American education for purposes that have nothing to do with constitutional rights, but instead with a broader goal of improving education.
The reason this came about is also intimately related to the civil rights movement. Over the same years that school segregation became a national issue, the disparities between black and white educational attainment and test scores came to public attention. When the push for President Johnsons Great Society programs began in the mid-1960s, it was inevitable that the federal government would attempt to reduce black-white disparities, and it did so in 1965 with the passage of two landmark billsthe Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act. The Department of Education didnt come into being until 1980, but large-scale involvement of the federal government in education dates from 1965.
There is absolutely no need for the federal government to be involved in education anymore. This should be left up to the states. But ever since the unions became heavily involved in teaching we have seen ever increasing educational disasters. How could it not be a disaster when the education system is separated between unions who are only interested in their own needs and students/parents who want a better education for children.
And now we have fallen behind most of the world in almost all areas of education. The only successes? Privately run schools. One example is Illinois. 9 of the 10 best schools for graduation rates in that state are charter schools.
(Excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...
Why we “no longer” need it? Did we *ever* need it? Were we ever even permitted to have it at all?
We certainly did without it for over 150 years didn’t we?
It should be left up to the parents. Single payer, whether federal, state, or local will not work. Single payer always provides a low quality product at a high cost.
There are two requirements to educational improvements.
a) Parents must pay for their children's education.
b) Fathers must raise their children.
Then again if you choose to send your children to public school at other people's expense, you must not be a conservative.
The Dept. of Education is blatantly unconstitutional. The real problem is that nobody cares.
We never did need it. All it does is siphons money from schools that succeed and gives it to schools that don’t while imposing curriculum that slowly but surely crushes America.
As a teacher who has taught for almost 10 years in the public school system, there is an easy way to fix education:
1. Kill the DoE.
2. Assign State DoEs the task of licensing and coordination, only.
3. And here is the important stuff - make education taxes a local tax with a name and a price. This way local communities can assign a direct budget that taxpayers will understand that they are responsible for. Education is not free and the current tax structure allows parents to think the education is “free”. It is not, and the parents need to keep the educators AND ADMINISTRATORS honest.
4. Education needs to be tiered. Urban and suburban areas need diverse (academic, vo-tech, and industrial schools) education opportunities. All kids will not attend college. In fact, far less kids should attend college. We need people who are welders, pipe fitters, and so on. Vo-tech schools would be immensely more effective than strictly academic schools.
5. DO NOT RATE SCHOOLS ON GRADUATION RATES. This keeps the bad kids IN SCHOOL.
I think there is some real promise in cyber schooling. There’s certainly a desire. In Michigan there is a cap of 2000 students enrolled in online classes and a waiting list of 5000.
Its not for absentee or lazy parents but my sister looked into it and found that the curriculum extensive in the areas of American History and the hard sciences.
>>I think there is some real promise in cyber schooling. Theres certainly a desire. In Michigan there is a cap of 2000 students enrolled in online classes and a waiting list of 5000.
There are two problems with cyber schooling:
1. No science labs, and no direct interaction with a teacher (I’m teaching “Scarlet Letter” to kids that don’t read books, and I have to constantly stop and summarize)
2. Almost all kids are social, and love school for what it is.
Other than that, cyber schooling is great and especially useful for kids who are expelled. What I would like to see is voucher based cyber schooling at tutoring centers with one on one interaction. Some kids really respond to tutoring center.
There are two requirements to educational improvements.
a) Parents must pay for their children’s education.
b) Fathers must raise their children.
Then again if you choose to send your children to public school at other people’s expense, you must not be a conservative.
I agree mainly because it defines us. We private schooled spending our own money and I, the dad, was around to raise the children. We qualified partially for some FAFsa money, but otherwise paid some for college with help from a fund the kids grandfather set up, plus money the kids earned on their own. Glad to know I am a bonafide CONSERVATIVE!!!!
As the son/nephew/grandson of teachers, I’d say you’ve got a very firm grasp of the situation. Especially point #3. Make people tie “their money” with local results. When people are forced to spend “their” money for issues locally, they get involved.
When the money just apparently comes out of thin air from DC... people take very little interest in who is getting taxed to provide this money.
I’d go so far as to say that school funds should come from two sources: a) local taxes and b) a fixed amount per child has to come from each parent, so the parents have a direct, non-negotiable cost of putting children into school. If parents were charged even a nominal fee (eg, $100/child/school year) more of them would sit up and pay attention to what is going on in the schools and how the schools are spending money.
Your point #4 is very, very true. I agree vehemently.
On point #5: I think that teachers should be able to kick more kids OUT of schools. Those that are threatening or disrupting the other students in the school should be given a choice: Shape up, or get out. If students could be kicked out, then fewer parents would treat schools as some sort of taxpayer-funded daycare service and they’d start to be on the same side of discipline issues with the teachers.
The Founding Fathers understood the importance of an educated electorate in self governance, and that education explicitly included moral instruction along the lines of the JudeoChristian tradition.
The Founders tossed around the idea of a National University, as well, but decided against it.
These historical notes notwithstanding, none of them would ever have countenanced an obscenity like the federal Department of Ed.
Lack of discipline was part of the beginning of the downfall of our schools, and that was due to liberal judges taking the right to discipline away from teachers and administrators. The other part was the take-over of the education departments in colleges by the socialist-communist educators.
>>On point #5: I think that teachers should be able to kick more kids OUT of schools. Those that are threatening or disrupting the other students in the school should be given a choice: Shape up, or get out. If students could be kicked out, then fewer parents would treat schools as some sort of taxpayer-funded daycare service and theyd start to be on the same side of discipline issues with the teachers.
I have had principals tell me to pass a kid because if I didn’t, he might feel bad and drop out, and that would look bad on the principal’s record. I told the principal to sit and spin. I passed a girl recently who had taken my class three times and failed the other two. She’s almost 20, and again, the principal kept her in school because that girl is 1% of her graduation rating. That principal was forced into teaching again, so maybe she’ll feel my pain.
What the saddest fact is the kids that attend school because they see their opportunity in SPORTS and not EDUCATION. Parents will attend their kid’s sports games, but never show up on parent teacher night even though their kid is failing. I actually would go to football games to talk to the parents.
If parents knew that they were PAYING for their kids education, they would EXPECT QUALITY. Most parents, however, think it’s all for free. That’s why public schooling gets a bad reputation, even though I think that the school that I teach at has a VERY GOOD program (lots of AP, ZERO bad teachers, and even the bad kids shut up and learn), and I teach in South Carolina.
I just wanted to say though, I had a kid who flunked my class with a 32% last year retake my class and completely tell me every aspect of “The Scarlet Letter” and the symbolic implications of certain things in the novel. Yeah, he is a “thug” and wears his pants low. But that ass of his will be carrying the meaning of “The Scarlet Letter” and several other novels around with him for the rest of his life. That is education.
6. Allow school principals to cane students as happened back in the day, for disrespect, misbehavior, and failure to do ones homework. Catholic school style.
The youts of today are out of control.
Education circa 1890
By 1890, schools nationwide saw 95 percent of children between the ages of five and thirteen enrolled for at least a few months out of the year, though less than 5 percent of adolescents went to high school, and even fewer entered college.
In addition, while there existed thousands of local schools, nearly one thousand colleges and universities (of varying quality), and scores of normal schools with trained teachers, education was largely locally managed, as the federal bureau of education, while collecting information about the condition of education, possessed no control over local schools. Education agencies on the state level were small, and its few employees had little or no power over local school districts. School systems in large cities could also function with little oversight, such as in Baltimore, where the public schools in 1890 employed only two superintendents for the entire district of 1,200 teachers.
Despite the lack of centralized administration, public schools across America were notably similar, with children learning both the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the basics of good behavior the latter being enforced when necessary by corporal punishment. Schools were important community institutions, and reflected the values of of parents and churches, such as honesty, industry, patriotism, responsibility, respect for adults, and courtesy. Memorization, recitation, chants and rhymes were often used in teaching subjects, while solving mathematical problems in one’s own head was promoted.
The inculcation of basic education and self-discipline was purposed to promote good moral citizenry, people who would be honestly employed, and make wise and informed choices, and overall progress in an individualistic, competitive and democratic society, and who would contribute to the vitality of their community and country.
Sounds like a crazy Ron Paul supporter spouting off his anti-Government agency propaganda again.
>>6. Allow school principals to cane students as happened back in the day, for disrespect, misbehavior, and failure to do ones homework. Catholic school style.
>>The youts of today are out of control.
My cute 1st daughter got a “yellow” from her music teacher in 1st grade, and she was spanked a few times by me as a result. She doesn’t bother her teachers anymore. Unfortunately, most parents don’t understand the idea that the first time is the last time and let their children meander into rebellion.
What kicks my ass as a teacher are the parents that tell me ! “I don’t know what to do with ______ anymore!”
WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!??!
“Parents will attend their kids sports games, but never show up on parent teacher night even though their kid is failing. I actually would go to football games to talk to the parents.”
I’m one of those parents. The misses would go, but I didn’t have the stomach to listen to someone that I had contempt for tell me about my kid. I knew all that I needed to know about my kids without their help. And I’m talking Christian schools. Had it been public schools, I would have been even worse.
Now, having said that, I’m certainly not pointing a finger at you...since you’re on this site, you obviously have a much better set of values than most teachers.
“At the time the Constitution was written, education was not even considered a function of local government, let alone the federal government.”
From the NC Constitution of 1776:
“41. That a school or schools shall be established by the legislature, for the convenient instruction of youth, with such salaries to the masters, paid by the public, as may enable them to instruct at low prices; and, all useful learning shall be duly encouraged and promoted in one or more universities.”
Murray is a bit inaccurate. But he’s right- the Federal government’s DOE should be done away with, and the Federal government’s involvement cut completely out.
“I have had principals tell me to pass a kid because if I didnt, he might feel bad and drop out, and that would look bad on the principals record.”
Social promotion in my opinion is one of the most pernicious and widespread evils in education today. When students fail, 9/10 of the time it is because they didn’t try to pass. And why should they, if someone is willing to send them on regardless? It makes holding students to any sort of standard, let alone a high one, difficult or impossible. And of course, it would be the teacher’s fault (SARC).
The University of North Carolina was established and chartered in 1789 at Chapel Hill under that Constitutional mandate, but practical reality apparently prevented any sort of broad establishment of public schools for elementary education until just prior to the Civil War.
The people of a given locality typically banded together, built a schoolhouse and hired a teacher or teachers themselves, just as they did in colonial times. The old, extended family schoolhouse from that era still stood in my childhood. Six fairly large family farms all in proximity, all with the typically large number of children. The school bore the family surname. It was used as a tobacco packhouse after public schools came in.
This was the norm in much if not all of rural NC, to my knowledge. Municipalities of any scale had their own schools. Historically church-run areas such as the Moravian settlements surrounding Salem and the Quaker settlements surrounding modern-day Greensboro had their church-run schools. There were institutes run by various groups as well, for instance the Masonic Institute, etcetera.
Hence the rise of the community college and their ‘developmental’ curriculum. A high school diploma is supposed to represent twelve-years of study. How can someone be granted a high school diploma without being able to read at a high-school level, write a paragraph, or do long division? I know why, but I don’t like to think about it. And remember, colleges are businesses too. Community colleges make money from these students and their families and their respective state governments. It doesn’t take too much tin foil to get me thinking there are other reasons for ‘social promotion’.
“This was the norm in much if not all of rural NC, to my knowledge.”
You are correct. The state did not truly establish a public school system as such until 1907, although local school boards retain considerable control, mostly in matters of buildings and physical plant, and personnel.
Tell her to be careful of AP Government and US History. They don’t teach about liberty, the Founding, or the impact the Bible had on American liberties. Other than that just be wary that it’s all taught with a solid Left-wing bias which I presume she already knows.
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