Defund the Department of Education

Tait Trussell is a national award-winning writer, former vice-president of the American Enterprise Institute and former Washington correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.


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The U.S. Department of Education has swung so far off course every citizen should question why we are spending $70 billion to keep it running.

The Constitution provides no authority for the federal government to be involved in education. Most educational problems arise at the local level and can’t be solved by bureaucrats who now are running more than 200 programs in Washington. Questions about the need for a federal Department of Education have been raised for years.

Now, at a time when the government has outspent itself by more than $14 trillion, why on Earth should the department be expending money and the time of government officials to brainwash young children on global warming and even the misinterpretation of peace.

During a July event at the department, children from District of Columbia schools through the third grade, and kids from Washington day care centers were given free books (free, courtesy of the taxpayers). Included were books from “The Big Green Help” series. One of the books promotes the idea that global warming is totally man-made. A second book tells the children what they can do to save the Earth. This was reported Aug. 2 in a story by CNSnews.com.

The Education Department program even featured department officials, as well as President Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, reading “The Peace Book” by children’s author Todd Parr. “The book features platitudes about peace,” said the CNSnews.com story, such as “peace is giving shoes to someone who needs them.” “Peace is keeping the streets clean” and “Peace is everyone having a home.” Is this nonsense what any parents want their child to be taught?

As part of the series, the department invited members of the president’s cabinet and other government officials, who apparently have no duties more important than reading man-made global warming propaganda to children too young and gullible to question such fodder. The event was the third such propaganda program this summer.

The children are also told such invaluable information as this: “If you have water left in your drinking glass, you can use it to water your house plants.” “We can also turn off lights during the day.” Each book encourages the children to “take the lead in making the world a greener place.”

Over the past few years, numerous studies have debunked man-made climate change as junk science. The Climategate Scandal in November 2009 showed how far certain environmentally focused “progressives” are willing to go to get their way. Thousands of e-mails and documents were exposed showing how the scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) adjusted data to give the perception that man was the cause of global warming, mainly through the release of carbon dioxide (CO2). The e-mails documented attacks on global warming skeptics and blocked publication of scholarly papers written by skeptics while demonizing the skeptics as kooks.

Those who doubt the claimed dire effects of global warming are many and well qualified. Thousands of scientists with outstanding academic credentials have challenged he IPPC conclusions. They have concurred that the Earth has been in a warming trend since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850. The skeptics believe the warming — what little there has been — is natural and certainly not potentially catastrophic as the hysteria spouted by Al Gore and many leftists in Washington believe: that vast populations are threatened by rising water from melting glaciers.

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  • Ken

    How about we concentrate on the basics, like our children being able to read and write, do mathematics, and study the sciences with an open and objective mind. You know, use the scientific method. Global warming is such a fraud. It's only another progressive tool for wealth redistribution and more control over people's lives.

  • Alex Kovnat

    Bravo for your suggestion to defund the entire Department of Education. With the national debt as bad as it is, we have to ask ourselves: Are today's adolescents any better versed in geometry, trigonometry, the sciences, and history than adolescents were before said department was established? If not, why do we need it?

    • carpe diem

      we have to import engineers from india because our kids are not educated but indoctrinated in all kinds of stupid lefty ideas. no economy will succeed with so many incompetents coming into the work force. i would eliminate, in addition to the dept. of education the dept. of energy.

    • Jeff

      I agree with you. However, almost all the states took funding under No Child Left Behind, a law that extended the reach of the federal government into state policy. In addition, 40 states have now signed off on "core standards." These examples of "voluntary participation" by the states is supposed to "prove" that the federal government isn't really mandating uniformity, and therefore, supposedly, is not in violation of the tenth amendment. However, it is obvious to me and to you and to the author of this article that federal control is growing. Yet, the states with their hunger for federal funds are complicit. Thus, the states are helping the federal government do an end-run around the U.S. Constitution. I don't have the faintest idea about what we can do to stop this trend. Any thoughts?
      Jeff

  • voted against carter

    Shut down the Dept Education ASAP. Jimmy Carter created it in 1979. Close it.

    Global Warming IS a SCAM. PERIOD. Al Gore should be In JAIL for FRAUD.

    • Craig

      Actually, Congress created it when they passed legislation known as Department of Education Organization Act . Congress will have to write new legislation to shut it down.

  • jacob

    This is a matter to be taken up by the Republican-Conservative Congress, because
    to the DEMOCRAP Congress, all this is hunky-dory..

    But of course, Mr. BOEHMER is bussy catering to OBAMA's whims and that is why
    this issue will continue like this till hell freezes over or parents take upon themselves
    to make an 'AUTO DE FE" with all this printed garbage…

    And by the way, there is already to years from the Fort Hood massacre…
    And what's the story, Peter Lorre ?????

    Are the military judges waitig for OBAMA's nod agreeable to "political corrrectness" ??

    I wonder what the relatives of the dead think about…..

  • sedoanman

    I agree with what the author is saying, but he wandered off topic of "De-fund the Department of Education".

    • KiKi

      I agree. He wandered off topic. The Department of Education is doing more than promoting junk science. Our school district in Nebraska just spent $130,000 in federal stimulus money to establish a mandatory reading of the book "Journey to Cultural Proficiency" by all employees (not just educators). Staff are required to read two chapters a month and get together to discuss the book. The is supposed to close the achievement gap. It is racist beyond belief and part of the Obama administration's social justice poison–not to mention a huge waste of money. I agree that we need to de-fund the Department of Education. It has become nothing more than an indoctrination center.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    What a utopia the DOE would be if only Michael Chertoff, Avi Lipkin, Douglas Feith or Tim Geithner ran it! Then schools would stop teaching global warming and focus on eradicating Islam! Or maybe…. this article is crap similar to when the Christian Coalition was trying to take over the schools and eradicate evolution.

    • aspacia

      The teaching of evolution is mandatory, and these idiots made no headway. However, as a high school teacher I stand with the assertion that the DOE is a waste of money, and would add that every university school of education is also a waste of money.

      The dimwits in pedagogy tell teachers not to worry about spelling, grammar, not to teach novels because they take too long, not to teach basic rote learning because students become bored. Oh, but let them draw posters because they enjoy this! We must teach DOK 3 & 4 (Depth of Knowledge) when student do not understand what synthesis means.

      Try teaching a group of seniors who read anywhere from the 3rd grade level to the 9th grade level. Not one was at grade level because of the ivory tower idiotic theories.

      Flipside, you do not know the reality of the k-12 system.

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        My wife teaches high school, I have attended school, I have children in school. I am familiar with the K-12 system. It’s not kooky theories that produce illiteracy. Very few teachers, if any, would say “dimwits in pedagogy.” They would simply develop a favored pedagogical approach. Most teachers want to teach and find this negative and politicized attitude toward high school to be a slow poison.

        • aspacia

          No Flip, most of the teachers in the K-12 system are taught pedagogy, and few are expert in their disciplines. Most English teachers in our overpopulated campus of 3,7000 do not know basic grammar.

          Students drawing a poster regarding a text is not a valid assessment, but according to the ivory tower crowd in the various schools of education it is. Now this crowd is arguing that teachers should teach the various races differently. This is racism.

      • Atikva

        "Evolution" so far is just a theory and should not be taught as a scientific fact carved in stone. After the Cambric explosion was revealed as a fact , Darwin himself was perplexed about the Evolution theory he had developed.

        • aspacia

          Evolution is probably correct. If you are religious, there have been six epoch; according to the Genesis, it was 6 days of creation and God rested on the 7th.

          National Geographic did an interesting article regarding this theory. Do you realize that cell phones operate under the theory of Quantum Mechanics. Ditto for electricity.

          I am not a scientist, but generally tend to agree with Evolution, albeit have problems with science's inability to explain what trigger the Big Bang and probably got the whole process going.

        • aspacia
    • aharris

      How about they learn reading, writing, and arithmetic?

      But no, they need to learn how not to bully, how not to destroy the planet, multi-culturalism, and other similarly unnecessary topics that make them really good sheep but piss poor people.

  • http://jc.does-it.net Gene W.

    Defund them now … the sooner the better.
    Money would be saved and school would be better.
    Students may learn that Stalin, Hilter, Moa and other heros of the left were and are Evil people.

  • StephenD

    I just looked up the Mission Statement of the Department of Education.

    "The mission of the Department of Education is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation."

    Is there such a need for an entire department in this country of LAWS? Since we do have equality laws in place isn't this part of the mission redundant and unnecessary?

    Promote excellence?!? How about the States, who are actually responsible, ensure the excellence of their programs in education thereby "promoting" their own excellence and providing competition to other states which, cumulatively, competes with other nations.

    Simply stated, what real purpose does this department serve? I say none worth while! SHUT ‘EM DOWN!

  • catmann

    Education prior to the creation of HEW was strictly a state function. The feds contribution to education is PC and Multicultural curriculum that leaves children without any real skills required for life in the real world. It is a collosal waste of tax money and should be dismantled.

    • aspacia

      Very true catmann. Teachers are nailed by administrators when too many students earn 0's for not doing any work.

  • aharris

    Keep education local. Get the feds out of it. Individual populations know better than the feds what the realities of their kids' needs are and they have the best idea how to address those needs. Let parents get involved and responsible again rather than relegating them to the sidelines.

  • TexExpatriate

    The really sad thing about all this is this: No matter who Conservatives and Tea Partiers elect in 2012, that person will very like not close the Department of Education. Just as likely, there would not be enough votes in a Republican-controlled Congress to close it—or any other unconstitutional agency that has been created since (and before) FDR.

    • DrBukk

      The Left will show commercials where impudent tykes are thrown off the stage by Republicans when they sneak on to play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" during symphony piano concerts. Nobody has a strong enough stomach endure this kind of cruelty against children, so we will indeed keep the departments.

  • Magna Cartographer

    Yes, disband the DOA and save 70 billion wasted dollars. Then, go into the universities and cut the Faculties of Education by 80%. Basically, an army of eggheads is destroying the education of our children. To teach you need common sense and good knowledge, not "education theory," whatever that is. All teachers should have a bachelors in their area and a year of teacher training. An army of "education professors" theorizing over something so simple is just what we don't need. Teaching the theory of teach in… Holy smokes! How abstruse. No wonder it's all nonsense.

  • DePalm

    You should not need a Bachelor of Education to teach. That just keeps the education industry going. Cut out the B. Ed. Program.

  • Guest

    Bachelor of Education = Bachelor of Indoctrination

    The minimum qualification to teach should be subject matter expertise, i.e. a degree in the subject you are hired to teach.

    As a supplement to this/& for professional development of high school teachers, there are many career college courses that teach adult training theory – i.e. the learning curve, learning styles, and train trainers on how to prepare their courseware – which can be effectively applied to teaching teens.

    I am not so familiar with early childhood training theory, but I imaging that much of those programs are filled with nonsense based on half baked hypotheses.

    Both of my parents were teachers (my mom was a high school English teacher, my father a tenured ivy league university physics professor).

    I personally found primary school to be ineffective for learning knowledge and skills. It was many a place for socialization. I ended up learning to read at home and being taught by my mom. After she taught me to read, I became a voracious reader and read at a university level in public school, while my peers struggled with literacy and had little interest in recreational reading. Today, I hold a BSc in Physics and a MBA. Most of the new university graduates that I see entering the work place lack the basic skills needed to be of any use to us as an employer. I struggle to understand how they even graduated university.

  • jemc50

    The Department of Education is not a sacrosanct entity. It was established by President Carter in the 70's and has done nothing but suck up taxpayer dollars. Before it's establishment, the students of the 50's, 60's, and early 70's seem to have accomplished quite a bit in the world. Things like computers, space flight, and a multitude of other things that have made our lives better. However, since it's inception, student accomplishment in school has fallen. Now, for instance, a case in Georgia where teachers have cheated their students by changing answers on the student's tests from incorrect answers to correct answers.

    Time to eliminate the Department of Education and return responsibility to the states and local levels.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Global warming advocates mostly know it is a hoax and will certainly keep it in our
    face as scammers never give up, this hoax brings in great amounts of money,
    funds green energy programs that are unaffordable and unnecessary while they
    also raise costs past any thing average people can afford and it will create a
    greater divide between the rich and poor. Politicians are mostly crooked people
    and Al Gore is leading the way with contacts he has made globally, for him and
    other leftists like Obama, Clinton, Reid, Pelosi, Schumer etc., are part of the leftist
    attack on sanity itself to insure their future as masters of all they survey. We
    have to turn the tide of go under into a future where mankind is back to master and
    slave relationships……………………………………………………William

  • LarryShepherd

    As a former district school board member, I can fully agree with defunding the Department of Education and the cessation of revenue streams from the federal government for educational purposes. The federal government cannot force a state to take the money, since it lacks any constitutional authority for the educational funding of the states. Revenue used to come from Washington in the form of block grants, which left the states to utilize the educational funds in the manner that best suited the particular state. Now, however, the revenue is for very specific purposes as outlined in the various educational Titles.

    If the state accepts the funds, then the state is locked into any programming that Washington wishes to be taught in every school in the participating state. That is the trap through which Washington regulates the instructional methodology of every school in the nation. Outcome-based education is the result of this process. The federal government determines what is desired in every student and it is the local school district's job to match the student's outcome with the federal outcome guidelines. When Washington advises that all students shall exhibit a certain behavior pattern or value once they have graduated, the local school districts are instructed by the federal 'experts' in the proper teaching methods to arrive at the desired 'outcome' that the federal government has mandated.

    This method has been linked with nations across the globe in the effort to make all educational institutions the same. The method is based on the former Soviet Union style of Poly-tech education, were students are tracked into courses of study and experience in order to fulfill government and market objective outcomes. This has no relation to the classical education that most of the people that are reading this post received if you graduated from high school prior to the mid 1970's. The student in that system was exposed to all disciplines of study with varying degrees of intensity. The outcome based model in this country was introduced during the term of President George H.W. Bush.

    Sadly, local control of these federal funds is not allowed. In my state, we can only pass our district budget with the restricted funding allotted for the specific programs and cannot make any changes, deletions or adjustments. Most board members across this nation have no idea what this programming is all about and only care that the 'free' money keeps coming into their coffers. Any attempt to defund this insidious programming will result not only in hysterics coming from Washington, but also within every school district across this great country. It must begin, though!

  • Frank

    Defund DOE, bring back the Nuns/w the 12" rulers,