Oh, how I long for someone with the wisdom and clarity of Ronald Reagan. One of his campaign promises was to abolish the federal Department of Education. He failed, but not for lack of trying. The Department of Education survived only because Democrats had a lock on the House of Representatives.
Nevertheless, Reagan cut the budget significantly and scaled back its functions. On one trip to the DOEd during the Reagan years, I asked an employee about her job. She said, matter-of-factly, “I am going through every regulation issued by the Department and cutting out anything that is not ‘family friendly.’” Needless to say, it was a full-time endeavor.
If “The Gipper” were alive today one can only imagine the reaction he would have to the DOEd’s letter issued to schools last month telling them that federal law requires them to allow students to use restrooms and locker rooms “consistent with their gender identity.” The letter, issued in the form of a guideline, does not carry the force of law, but it carries this implied threat: Do this or risk losing federal funds.
Isn’t it past time we freed public schools and colleges from the tyranny of the federal government? Why send a dollar to Washington and have it funneled through several layers of this behemoth bureaucracy, only to get back a few cents, along with a boatload of regulations?
Our founding fathers wisely left the matter of education in the hands of the states, where it would be under the control of the people who live in those states. For much of our history, most of the real control of education was local, where it should be.
The federal Department of Education has only two functions: to advise (coerce) and to gobble tax dollars.
Most people are unaware that the DOEd has been with us a relatively short time. It was created by Reagan’s predecessor, Jimmy Carter, as a payoff to the teacher’s union, the Nation Education Association, in return for its support. Since that time the budget has grown from $14.2 billion to $68 billion. And what has been accomplished since the creation of the DOEd? Students test scores in math, science and reading have been flat or declined over the last four decades.
Abolishing the Department of Education was an official part of the Republican Party Platform in 1980. It was dropped in 1984. With the election of George H.W. Bush, Republicans got in lockstep with Democrats and adopted Goals 2000.
After the Newt Gingrich-led Republican revolution that gave the GOP complete control of Congress for the first time in 40 years, what did they do? They increased funding and extended control of the DOEd.
Only one brief period in 1996, did abolishing the DOEd return to the GOP platform. After Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole, it has grown unabated, most notably through the efforts of George W. Bush who made education a cornerstone of his administration. The problems created by No Child Left Behind are still with us and now we are dealing with Common Core.
We are at point in time that when you hear someone call for abolishing the Department of Education, it sounds almost radical. Most Americans can’t envision a time when the DOEd was not with us, nor do they understand that its creation was an unconstitutional power grab.
Now, the federal government is threatening to withhold federal funds for schools that do not get in line and allow students who feel they belong to a different gender, other than the one they were assigned at birth, to use that bathroom. Which begs the question: Is it enough to identify with the opposite gender for one day, one week or a year? Can I identify with the opposite gender long enough to simply get a peak in the opposite sex’s bathroom and then go back, or must I remain as the opposite gender for a period of time?
Presently, public schools have enough problems to deal with without forcing them to abide by this latest fad from Washington.
If this isn’t enough to get us back to where we were in 1980, when Ronald Reagan spoke out forcefully against this federal power grab, then we have lost all hope of reclaiming control of the education of our children.
Gary Johnson, the Liberterian candidate, has done this. Donald Trump has simply teased us. This week he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that it “can be largely eliminated,” but hedged, “Now, you maybe want to have a little bit of tentacles out there.”
That’s not good enough! The solution next week.