A Day That Shall Live In Infamy (For Those of Us Who Hate Fed Ed)

President Carter signed the Department of Education Organization Act on Oct. 17, 1979.

On this day 39 years ago, President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Education Organization Act creating the U.S. Department of Education.

Three years prior, American celebrated its bicentennial. We had existed as a nation without the U.S. Department of Education for over 200 years. Children received a quality education, we saw significant advancements in technology, and even sent men to the moon without the U.S. Department of Education.

Congress and President Carter in their *infinite wisdom* created a federal department that had no constitutional basis that no Congress or President since has reduced in any meaningful way. 

When the Department was created Congress declared its purposes, from the Department’s website:

  1. to strengthen the Federal commitment to ensuring access to equal educational opportunity for every individual;
  2. to supplement and complement the efforts of States, the local school systems and other instrumentalities of the States, the private sector, public and private educational institutions, public and private nonprofit educational research institutions, community-based organizations, parents, and students to improve the quality of education;
  3. to encourage the increased involvement of the public, parents, and students in Federal education programs;
  4. to promote improvements in the quality and usefulness of education through federally supported research, evaluation, and sharing of information;
  5. to improve the coordination of Federal education programs;
  6. to improve the management and efficiency of Federal education activities, especially with respect to the process, procedures, and administrative structures for the dispersal of Federal funds, as well as the reduction of unnecessary and duplicative burdens and constraints, including unnecessary paperwork, on the recipients of Federal funds; and
  7. to increase the accountability of Federal education programs to the President, the Congress and the public. (Section 102, Public Law 96-88)

The U.S. Department of Education notes that in the 1860s the federal government had a budget of $15,000 (roughly the equivalent of $456,000 in 2018) and four employees that handled “education fact-finding.” By 1965, when the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” the Office of Education (that was part of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare) had 2,100 employees and a budget of $1.5 billion. Now the Department has a workforce of 3,912 and their largest budget to date – $71.5 Billon.

And what results has it had to improve student achievement since its inception?

None, but yet we keep wasting money on this unconstitutional department.

HT: U.S. Parents Involved in Education

2 thoughts on “A Day That Shall Live In Infamy (For Those of Us Who Hate Fed Ed)

  1. I think Jimmy Carter was a very thoughtful and civil President. Times were different when he signed the Act in 1979. I don’t think anyone could have ever foreseen what this department would become. I think it was Bill Clinton and his administration that started this department on it’s current downhill trajectory which has done nothing to help children while raking in tons of tax payer dollars.

  2. Power creating a monopoly to control Billions annually. Remember it was the National Education Association NEA that lobbied President Carter to establish the Cabinet Level Department.

    “Walter Mondale, President Carter’s vice president, had obtained the backing of the National Education Association by promising them a cabinet-level Department of Education, which the NEA had been strongly advocating since its inception.

    There was no popular demand for a federal Education Department. Education was not even mentioned in the Constitution, and it had been the concern of the states since the beginning of the Republic. But the NEA, anxious to get its grubby hands on billions of federal dollars, had been agitating for the department for decades.

    Lyndon Johnson had given the NEA the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which opened the coffers of the U.S. Treasury for education. But that was just the beginning of the NEA’s thrust for power over the U.S. Congress.

    Why didn’t Reagan abolish?
    Conservatives had opposed the creation of the department and had persuaded candidate Reagan to abolish the department when elected. But Reagan’s agreement to accept George H.W. Bush as his vice president indicated that as president he would cooperate with the liberal-leaning Republican establishment.”
    -Michelle Moore (blogger)

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