Bachmann: Why do we need a Department of Education, anyway?

posted at 8:30 pm on September 5, 2011 by Tina Korbe

CNN’s Political Ticker isolates this element of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s reliably conservative responses at Sen. Jim DeMint’s political forum in South Carolina today, making it both a headline and lead paragraph:

Painting herself as a “constitutional conservative” Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann told Sen. Jim DeMint’s forum Monday that if elected president she would look to get rid of the Department of Education, among other things.

“Because the Constitution does not specifically enumerate nor does it give to the federal government the role and duty to superintend over education that historically has been held by the parents and by local communities and by state governments,” she said, responding to a question by DeMint, a popular figure among the tea party movement.

The not-so-subtle implication of PT’s prominent placement of this Bachmann statement is that it’s obviously extreme. You know those crazy “constitutional conservatives”! But is it? Abolishing the Department of Education might sound like an ultra-conservative pipe dream — and anything but advisable in the Information Age, when education is key to global competitiveness — but, perhaps, just perhaps, Bachmann has a point.

In the first place, she’s right about the Constitution. But, in the second, does the federal government actually do a better job of educating our children than would state or local governments? Naturally, questions of right and equity enter in. It is, after all, commonly accepted that children have the right to an equal education (although even that could be debated). But as regards efficacy, it’s pretty clear flexibility and freedom to address the needs of individual children enhances education.

Please don’t interpret this as an endorsement of Bachmann’s view; I’m still forming my opinions on education policy. It is, rather, a defense of the debate. The purpose and prowess of the Ed Department ought to be analyzed. And the agency, no less than any other budget-straining bit of the bureaucracy, ought to be held accountable.

This all brings me back to why I love Bachmann as a presidential candidate (if not necessarily as the GOP nominee or actual president): She says what needs to be said to move the public dialogue in a productive direction. Sometimes, she does that by simply speaking truth. Sometimes, as now, she does it by offering up views that can then be debated, discussed, shaped and molded into a more palatable — yet-ever-so-slightly-more-conservative — position in the immediate term — while leaving the possibility of her so-called “extreme” solutions open in the long term.

Update: Just wanted to clarify that Bachmann is “right about the Constitution” insofar as she says that the Constitution does not explicitly enumerate education as among the responsibilities of the federal government. I do not think the Ed Department is unconstitutional — but neither is it constitutionally mandated, leaving the people with the option of determining whether education is best directed at the federal or state level.


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Music to my ears.

fossten on September 5, 2011 at 8:33 PM

I totally agree with her.

Metro on September 5, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Total no-brainer.

Really Right on September 5, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Bachmann is right.

Kataklysmic on September 5, 2011 at 8:35 PM

The Dept. of Ed. was Jimmy Carter’s payoff to the NEA.

That’s about all the analysis and purpose needed.

INC on September 5, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Good Question…

Seven Percent Solution on September 5, 2011 at 8:36 PM

People forget, the Department of Education was not formed until the Carter administration. Were our children not educated before then? Are they better educated now?

JamesB on September 5, 2011 at 8:37 PM

I agree. What a total waste. Who wants a bureaucracy in a far away land from far, far away telling us how to educate children for our state or local school district? Where is the need for such a bureaucracy?

tom0508 on September 5, 2011 at 8:38 PM

I agree with her.

tinkerthinker on September 5, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Total no-brainer.

Really Right on September 5, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Such a no-brainer that we have a DOE that is stronger than ever.

CW on September 5, 2011 at 8:39 PM

I’m still forming my opinions on education policy.

I have to disagree Tina. There is NO constitutional authority given to the federal government. Ergo, it matters not what we feel about it. It must go. If we want it back, then we need to amend the constitution.

csdeven on September 5, 2011 at 8:39 PM

I find it humorous that the Tennessee Education Association has an ad on this blog post. These union thugs showed up at a tea party event in my town, trying to start a fight. Jimmy Hoffa would be proud.

simkeith on September 5, 2011 at 8:39 PM

President Jimmy Carter​ created the federal Education Department as a sop to the bosses at the National Education Association (NEA). Carter was being challenged in the Democratic primaries in 1980 by the liberal uber-spender Ted Kennedy.

Carter promised the union bosses a department in exchange for their support at the Democratic convention. They bought, and bragged that the NEA had sent more left-leaning delegates to the Democratic convention than the state of California.

INC on September 5, 2011 at 8:39 PM

People have been pointing this out for a long time.

Let’s Abolish the Department of Education

August 17, 1995 by Phyllis Schlafly

Abolishing the Department of Education was one of Ronald Reagan’s campaign promises when he ran for President in 1980. Fulfilling that promise is long overdue, and the time to do it is now.

Education is not a department that has always been with us like State, Treasury, and Justice. The Department of Education was created as a payoff to the National Education Association (NEA) for its early endorsement of Jimmy Carter’s presidential candidacy in 1976.

That NEA endorsement was a significant factor in giving Carter national visibility and momentum. At that time, the little-known one-term Governor of a southern state was considered a long shot by most observers.

INC on September 5, 2011 at 8:41 PM

The Department of Education is responsible for generating rules and regulations for which school districts are forced to hire more and more administrators to comply with the federal overseers. Of course the DoEducation should be abolished. If nothing else, it is the avenue through which the teachers unions can stymie creative reform. And considering how far our educational standards and accomplishments have fallen, it’s time to go back to local control.

NNtrancer on September 5, 2011 at 8:42 PM

How did America educate it’s kids before the DOE? How was that possible? In fact how did America function before the income tax? Indeed, how did American elders eat before the invention of social security? How did people who couldn’t find work, survive before the invention of welfare? Did they all starve?

Federal governments create a supply, and the supply creates the need. Not the other way around.

keep the change on September 5, 2011 at 8:42 PM

JamesB on September 5, 2011 at 8:37 PM

Right, and wrong, sorta. The government decided the BIA was the giver of knowledge long before Carter Gomered his way into the White House. And no, I don’t think Geronimo was Mrs Grant’s Che Gueverra.

Limerick on September 5, 2011 at 8:43 PM

For the majority of US history there was not Dept of Education. Is our childrens’ education better now?

georgealbert on September 5, 2011 at 8:43 PM

We absolutely, unequivocally do not need a Dept. Of Ed. Education decisions must be kept at the local level. Local school boards know local requirements; nameless/faceless pencil pushers in DC wouldn’t have a clue of the requirements of s small school 3000 miles away. Thank goodness for homeschooling.

herm2416 on September 5, 2011 at 8:44 PM

It’s a winner with me. Not a Bachmann fan, but it is extremely important to educate your children.
I’ve been in real estate over 40 years and it is my niche market.
Interestingly enough it is mainly people from Spanish speaking countries who want to get the best for those children. I am always so happy when this happens!

katy the mean old lady on September 5, 2011 at 8:45 PM

It’s too bad that this will play as some extreme dangerous talk. Most people think that abolishing the department of education = abolishing education – and who, pray tell, would be in favor of that but a radical tea party candidate? Seriously, abolishing education??!!

keep the change on September 5, 2011 at 8:46 PM

From the perspective of some who’s seen the teachers down at the local level:

Teachers have to spend hours filling out federal paperwork each week to get the federal money.

It seems to me that it would be far more effective to simply shut down the Dept. of Education, save all the money that was spent on salaries, and distribute in block grants to the states the money that used to be distributed by the Dept. of Education.

It’s a classic downsizing move. The distribution efforts of the Dept. of Education are duplicating the efforts at the state level. The state level is more effective. So cut the federal distribution and instead use the state distribution avenues to distribute federal money.

Sackett on September 5, 2011 at 8:47 PM

CATO Institute (11 pg PDF)

Emphasis added.

Why then was the Department of Education created? President Jimmy Carter, during whose watch the new department came into being, had promised the department to the National Education Association. Contemporary editorials in both the New York Times and the Washington Post acknowledged that the creation of the department was mainly in response to pressure from the NEA. According to Rep. Benjamin Rosenthal (D-N.Y.), Congress went along with the plan out of ‘‘not wanting to embarrass the president.’’ Also, many members of Congress had made promises to educators in their home districts to support the new department. The Wall Street Journal reported the admission of one House Democrat: ‘‘The idea of an Education Department is really a bad one. But it’s NEA’s top priority. There are school teachers in every congressional district and most of us simply don’t need the aggravation of taking them on.’’ Former house minority leader Bob Michel termed the Department of Education the ‘‘Special Interest Memorial Prize’’ of the year.

INC on September 5, 2011 at 8:47 PM

I’ve been in favor of abolishing it ever since it withheld information about the success of the DC voucher program in order to kill it. If it’s going to kill programs that work and save money, what the hell good is it? Education has not improved since their inception.

With a little luck, we may be able to make this a mainstream position, seeing how many leftists hate NCLB. I would hope they would be sympathetic to an argument of getting the federal government out of education.

NukeRidingCowboy on September 5, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Reagan wanted to get rid of it, too, but even though it was only four years old, even he couldn’t do it.

Wethal on September 5, 2011 at 8:49 PM

CW on September 5, 2011 at 8:39 PM

I assume we need 60 real Republicans in the Senate to get rid of this department. Might never happen.

Really Right on September 5, 2011 at 8:49 PM

How did America educate it’s kids before the DOE? How was that possible? In fact how did America function before the income tax? Indeed, how did American elders eat before the invention of social security? How did people who couldn’t find work, survive before the invention of welfare? Did they all starve?

keep the change on September 5, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Yup, puzzles me. Why in God’s name did we take care of the young and the old and infirm? They just get in the way of our trendy lifestyles.
///

katy the mean old lady on September 5, 2011 at 8:51 PM

The poor quality of education that children receive in public shools in America is not an accident. It is deliberate. If anyone would like to know more about it, I highly recommend this book that I read while researching charter schools to enroll my children in.

Kataklysmic on September 5, 2011 at 8:52 PM

The purpose and prowess of the Ed Department ought to be analyzed.

The purpose of the dept of ed is to employ thousands of democrat voters and charge them with funneling tax money to teachers unions and liberal college professors and to extend federal control.

The dept of labor’s purpose is to handcuff the free market and funnel money to unions and to extend federal control.

The department of energy’s job is to hamper the development of national energy resources and to funnel money to environmental groups and to extend federal control.

Every state has it’s own epa, department of education and labor department. Why does the federal government have these also unless it is a direct usurpation of the rights and power of the people?

peacenprosperity on September 5, 2011 at 8:53 PM

I assume we need 60 real Republicans in the Senate to get rid of this department. Might never happen.

Really Right on September 5, 2011 at 8:49 PM

It could without the negativity. Go and find the best you have and work your azz off for them.

katy the mean old lady on September 5, 2011 at 8:54 PM

But what about Mississippi? Isn’t that the reason liberals give for abolishing ANY federal agency?

Isn’t it the height of sensibility to cut so much of federal government? If the U.S. govt were a private company, it would have gone bankrupt several times over. And failed. And dismantled, and sold. But it didn’t happen. Because it’s the GOVERNMENT, and it never goes away. It just gets bigger.

That’s why Sarah’s idea of a 0% corporate tax (consider Hong Kong’s success, with “a flat corporate tax rate of 16.5% on assessable profits.”), is so good. Something simple that can be done immediately. You get rid of the Dept of Ed., it’s more complicated. But, the local school districts are continuously complaining about the strings the Dept of Ed. puts on their funds. It’s a drag on education.

Except for Mississippi. You know how backwards they are. That’s why we need the Dept of Ed.! Tina, you missed being backwards by one state line. How blessed you are.

Paul-Cincy on September 5, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Tina, read this:

The Underground History of American Education

Connie on September 5, 2011 at 8:55 PM

With a little luck, we may be able to make this a mainstream position, seeing how many leftists hate NCLB. I would hope they would be sympathetic to an argument of getting the federal government out of education.

NukeRidingCowboy on September 5, 2011 at 8:48 PM

That’s a good way to package it — even teachers hate the NCLB because it came down as requirements without funding stream. Kill the requirement, kill the whole department, and return the funding back to the states.

OnlyOrange on September 5, 2011 at 8:56 PM

if we cannot get rid of this rotting corpse of a beaurocracy after all these years, how the heck are we gonna get rid of Obamacare?

maineconservative on September 5, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Bachmann would give more weight to her argument if she gave a three sentence history of the Dept of Ed as a special interest payoff and added some positive statements similar to what Sackett said about keeping money home in the state and school districts.

There’s no need to try to puff up your Constitution credentials and talk about it re the Dept. of Ed. If you can build your argument on something smaller, then do so.

Save the Constitution as the silver bullet for things like Obamacare when you want and need maximum impact.

INC on September 5, 2011 at 8:56 PM

As I understand it, the Department of Education was created to address declining student performance–especially when that performance was compared to student achievement in other industrialized countries. This decline, if anything, has accelerated and the Department of Education is simply a means by which teacher’s unions exercise political clout. With teacher’s unions, it is never ‘for the children’. It’s always been for themselves. Meanwhile, the kids are being coached in feel-good self-esteem and indoctrinated with values at odds with everything necessary to create full citizens in a free republic.

I agree with Bachmann (again). Shut it down.

troyriser_gopftw on September 5, 2011 at 8:57 PM

children have the right to an equal education

Do they get an equal education under the Depart of Ed now..?

d1carter on September 5, 2011 at 8:59 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with her, and it’s why she’s still on my short list if Palin doesn’t get in. I would love to see the abolishment of the Dept. of Edu in a Bachmann administration.

At the risk of upsetting some folks, however, why is it that when Michelle Bachmann proposes something that Tina acknowledges is would be seen as extreme, no one in the comments here so far turns a hair or if they disagree, make snide statements, and yet when Palin proposes eliminating corporate taxes and corporate welfare, it’s commented that only her “deranged cultists” would support it, and simply because she proposed it? The disconnect is frustrating.

theotherone on September 5, 2011 at 9:00 PM

Reagan wanted to get rid of it, too, but even though it was only four years old, even he couldn’t do it.

Wethal on September 5, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Reagan had a list of priorities and it was not number one.

I think it is foolish of Bachmann to bring something like this up but I don’t think she’ll be the nominee. Palin lately has been very positive when talking about teachers and union members as individuals. It’s a much smarter message.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:00 PM

It’s a shame that Tina hasn’t an informed opinion on the joke that is the Department of Education. Hat tip to Inc. for this link at Human Events, wherein Tina might learn much that is useful.

As they note, the DEd is a Federal spending vehicle created by Our National Imbecile, Jimmy Carter, as a sop to the NEA, and eternal shame to Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and especially George W. Bush for allowing this perversion to remain, and in W’s case, to dramatically expand the farce.

This isn’t a shocking statement by Bachmann; it is a foregone conclusion among thinking conservatives. Close this wasteful joke of a Federal agency. More money does not make better schools.

Jaibones on September 5, 2011 at 9:01 PM

Far and away the best educated students in America today are home-schooled.

End of discussion.

Jaibones on September 5, 2011 at 9:02 PM

It’s amazing how many of these type of views are suddenly brilliant ideas.

Notorious GOP on September 5, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Abolishing the Department of Education might sound like an ultra-conservative pipe dream

I don’t consider myself an ultra, and I still think it should go. A consortium of state education chancellors could meet periodically at a convention and iron out advisable standards based upon data collected over the years.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 5, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Why do we need a Department of Education, anyway?

I’m stumped!

honsy on September 5, 2011 at 9:05 PM

hmmm Palin called for the defunding at the IA state fair on Hannity. I guess Bachmann’s pollsters saw the reaction of the crowd when Palin said it.

unseen on September 5, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 5, 2011 at 9:03 PM

This is still a totalitarian proposal. Let a thousand standards bloom and let the parents choose.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Far and away the best educated students in America today are home-schooled.

End of discussion.

Jaibones on September 5, 2011 at 9:02 PM

Yes, but…not all parents have the time or the skills to accomplish home schooling. Private parochial schools also offer better results than public schooling.

theotherone on September 5, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Far and away the best educated students in America today are home-schooled.

End of discussion.

Jaibones

THREAD WINNER ! ! !

Good night, all.

honsy on September 5, 2011 at 9:06 PM

It’s a shame that Tina hasn’t an informed opinion on the joke that is the Department of Education. Hat tip to Inc. for this link at Human Events, wherein Tina might learn much that is useful.

Jaibones on September 5, 2011 at 9:01 PM

Makes me wonder what else she hasn’t formed an opinion on.

fossten on September 5, 2011 at 9:08 PM

I LOVE MICHELLE BACHMANN!!!!!!!

She may never be POTUS, but……LOVE that lady!!

Talon on September 5, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Private parochial schools also offer better results than public schooling.

theotherone on September 5, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Which is also why I support school choice, and think that Teh Won’s actions in denying that to DC schoolchildren was more evidence that he is an unmitigated, disgusting jerk who cares more about his union buddies than his “brothers and sisters” of color.

theotherone on September 5, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Cue the Pink Floyd music.

vcferlita on September 5, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Yes, Reagan did actually run on getting rid of the Department of Education that the Carter administration helped to create. Unfortunately, he did not have the political clout to accomplish this in his two terms. You may want to read the free PDF of a book written by a woman appointed to the DOE by Reagan:

The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

Logic on September 5, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Ask the People of the States whether they’d prefer a proportional share of DOE’s funding, for their own school systems, to the benefits they get now from the Feds.

Anyone in doubt what the response would be?

JPlunket on September 5, 2011 at 9:11 PM

This isn’t a shocking statement by Bachmann; it is a foregone conclusion among thinking conservatives. Close this wasteful joke of a Federal agency. More money does not make better schools.

Jaibones on September 5, 2011 at 9:01 PM

Closing it is fine. Campaigning on the closure is not necessarily the best way to make it happen. There are many other government agencies which also should go. One way to do it is to restructure them as private corporations and introduce competition. The unnecessary ones will disappear.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:11 PM

The Dept. of Education is an expensive Frankenstein monster of the teacher’s unions that should be destroyed – and possibly by a mob carrying flaming torches!

Say, I’m starting to really like Rep. Michele Bachmann. And yes I think any president has the power to get rid of this creature if he or she really wants to.

Chessplayer on September 5, 2011 at 9:13 PM

either Laura Ingram or Ann Coulter worked at the Dept. of Education. see what they have to say about it.

Kaptain Amerika on September 5, 2011 at 9:13 PM

Get rid of the DOE(both of them) and ban the teacher’s unions. That would be a good start.

JimK on September 5, 2011 at 9:16 PM

Sounds good to me. The only thing the Education Dept does is spend money and indoctrinate young people in politically correct orthodoxy.

Nothing extreme about it. We had better schools before this monstrosity was born.

DaMav on September 5, 2011 at 9:19 PM

RACIST!

SouthernGent on September 5, 2011 at 9:20 PM

Sorry, I’m in the middle of a war here. If we can elect a President and Congress of conservative principles, let’s keep the damned Department of Education and turn it to our own uses. It’s about time the children of this country learn the real history and culture of this country. Yes, I abhor spending a dime on anything not authorized specifically in the Constitution but, again, this is war.

TXUS on September 5, 2011 at 9:23 PM

Good question. Glad to see a candidate other than Crazy Ron Paul ask this.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on September 5, 2011 at 9:29 PM

I feel the same about school superintendents and assistant supers which can be more than one. Their salaries are all six figures and my question is what do they do that warrants that much money? The schools here in NYS are basically the same. Ninth year history is the same in all schools. NYS schools are regents schools and the tests are the same in Rochester as they are in Albany.

mixplix on September 5, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Do we not all recall that Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell also believe(ed) in abolishing the DOE. Now why would they think that?

The Evil Doctor K on September 5, 2011 at 9:31 PM

Reagan wanted to get rid of it, too, but even though it was only four years old, even he couldn’t do it.

Wethal on September 5, 2011 at 8:49 PM

There is a larger point here. Conservatives should not aspire merely to prevent bad ideas from being implemented. Until we can overturn some of the previous “successes” of the Progressives, the real battle hasn’t even begun.

RedPepper on September 5, 2011 at 9:33 PM

let’s keep the damned Department of Education and turn it to our own uses
TXUS on September 5, 2011 at 9:23 PM

The bureaucracy will be there longer than the elected politicians and the democrats will get back in eventually. A fundamental fiscal restructuring of the whole mess is much more permanent and is necessary at this time anyway.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Yes, this dept needs to go. Just like the Dept of Energy.

Mirimichi on September 5, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Tina, the purpose and prowess of the DOE has been analyzed thoroughly. Refer to the work of Charlotte Iserbyt and John Stormer, for starters.

The Evil Doctor K on September 5, 2011 at 9:37 PM

the mission statement

Strengthen the Federal commitment to assuring access to equal educational opportunity for every individual;

Supplement and complement the efforts of states, the local school systems and other instrumentalities of the states, the private sector, public and private nonprofit educational research institutions, community-based organizations, parents, and students to improve the quality of education;

Encourage the increased involvement of the public, parents, and students in Federal education programs;

Promote improvements in the quality and usefulness of education through Federally supported research, evaluation, and sharing of information;

Improve the coordination of Federal education programs;

Improve the management of Federal education activities; and

Increase the accountability of Federal education programs to the President, the Congress, and the public.

seriously…

equanimous on September 5, 2011 at 9:42 PM

It would only be extreme if the Dep’t of Education actually, you know, educated anyone. Since it’s inception test scores have continued their meteoric dive downward.

Close up shop and turn any money sent from Education to the states into block grants.

darkpixel on September 5, 2011 at 9:42 PM

I have to disagree Tina. There is NO constitutional authority given to the federal government. Ergo, it matters not what we feel about it. It must go. If we want it back, then we need to amend the constitution.

csdeven on September 5, 2011 at 8:39 PM

Nice post, CS.

gryphon202 on September 5, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Close up shop and turn any money sent from Education to the states into block grants.

darkpixel on September 5, 2011 at 9:42 PM

Or better yet, abolish the income tax so the money doesn’t have to go to DC at all!

/Extreme/Radical/Unreasonable/Won’tHappen

gryphon202 on September 5, 2011 at 9:45 PM

No, its the Dept. of Education that’s extreme.

Centralized power is bad for everybody.

Speakup on September 5, 2011 at 9:45 PM

There is a larger point here. Conservatives should not aspire merely to prevent bad ideas from being implemented. Until we can overturn some of the previous “successes” of the Progressives, the real battle hasn’t even begun.

RedPepper on September 5, 2011 at 9:33 PM

+1 This.

gryphon202 on September 5, 2011 at 9:46 PM

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Good point, but I’m hoping we can keep the libs out of power for the rest of time, and we can if we treat this as a war and not just politics as usual. They treat it as war, every single day, and if we fail to understand that and don’t do so as well, the Republic is lost.

TXUS on September 5, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Until we can overturn some of the previous “successes” of the Progressives, the real battle hasn’t even begun.

RedPepper on September 5, 2011 at 9:33 PM

Right. And public education, “for the children”, is popular with many voters. For 30 years it has been the platform of the GOP to get rid of DofEd and it has not happened. Perhaps a new strategy is in order.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:47 PM

One way to do it is to restructure them as private corporations and introduce competition. The unnecessary ones will disappear.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:11 PM

You mean like the Post Office disappeared?/

gryphon202 on September 5, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Perhaps a new strategy is in order.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:47 PM

If you mean electoral strategy, you may be right. As far as slashing the bureacracy from top to bottom? The Department of Education is a decent start.

gryphon202 on September 5, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Good point, but I’m hoping we can keep the libs out of power for the rest of time …
TXUS on September 5, 2011 at 9:46 PM

The solution is to change the culture so there aren’t enough libs to matter. That’s a 30 year project.

Winning the white house and the senate is the first step. Obama has done immense damage with executive orders but those can be rescinded by the next president in short order. Any candidate who can’t figure this out is not worth voting for.

Then Obamacare must be stopped.

Then Ed, Energy, EPA must be brought under control by whatever means prevents them from doing more damage. Closure is not necessarily the only way to do it but it’s the bureaucracy where the danger lies.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Sorry, I’m in the middle of a war here. If we can elect a President and Congress of conservative principles, let’s keep the damned Department of Education and turn it to our own uses. It’s about time the children of this country learn the real history and culture of this country. Yes, I abhor spending a dime on anything not authorized specifically in the Constitution but, again, this is war.

TXUS on September 5, 2011 at 9:23 PM

The proper way to win that “war” is to eliminate federal control over education (and thus the ability of liberals to push their agenda through the public schools). Frankly, I find it reprehensible to say that we should use the federal government to push a conservative agenda in the schools. That kind of thinking (big government conservatism) is what got the GOP in the hole it was in back in 2006 – 2008. A massive expansion of power is always alluring when you’re the party in power, but you must remember that at some point the other party will control the power you create. Here’s an example for the current health care law: Democrats think its great because they control the White House and get to set all of the regulations. Woohoo, birth control for all! But guess what happens if the GOP wins the White House yet the law remains in effect? All of the sudden the Republican president controls whether abortions, birth control, stem cell treatments, ultrasounds, etc. are covered items. How much you want to bet that Democrats will be kicking themselves over creating such a stupid expansion of federal power in the executive branch once they aren’t in the White House? Does that mean that we should use the health care law to push our political agenda once we’re in power??? No, we should repeal the d*** thing– throw it into the fires of Mt. Doom, for its too much power for either party to be trusted with.

Education policy should be reserved to the states, period. If the federal government decides it wants to supplement the educational budgets of the states, okay, but that funding should not be contingent on the fulfillment of standardized test goals or adhering to federally-defined curricula. If you want to use the federal government to push your education agenda, I kindly suggest you register as a Democrat.

Lawdawg86 on September 5, 2011 at 9:53 PM

You mean like the Post Office disappeared?/

gryphon202 on September 5, 2011 at 9:47 PM

I didn’t think the US post office was private yet. In Canada it’s private and it’s still there but the postal strikes have stopped. The union is still there too. No-one cares as it’s no longer a tax burden (actually I’m not sure that it doesn’t get some subsidy still).

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:54 PM

I didn’t think the US post office was private yet. In Canada it’s private and it’s still there but the postal strikes have stopped. The union is still there too. No-one cares as it’s no longer a tax burden (actually I’m not sure that it doesn’t get some subsidy still).

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:54 PM

The USPS is considered a quasi-governmental agency. Before Nixon “privatized” it in response to outcry from the citizenry over his establishment of several new alphabet agencies, it was actually a cabinet-level department whose postmaster general had the authority of any other cabinet secretary. Now, in theory, the Post Office is supposed to be self-sustaining with the revenue it takes in from providing its services. That’s why they’re in such deep financial sh!t. The charter the post office has operated under since privitization means they can’t get infusions of taxpayer cash like Amtrak does.

gryphon202 on September 5, 2011 at 9:58 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 5, 2011 at 9:03 PM

This is still a totalitarian proposal. Let a thousand standards bloom and let the parents choose.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 9:05 PM

How are recommendations “totalitarian”? I’m looking at this from a national standpoint. Most of the engineering, science, mathematics and computer degrees awarded at American universities go to foreign nationals.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 5, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Anyone can throw out ideas, you can and I can. But if you notice she didn’t have a plan. Jim DeMint asked her today what plan she had on cutting government. She did not answer his question; instead restated the problems that we already know.

I hope at the next debate someone will ask her exactly how she plans to do this. You think getting rid of the NEA is as simple as saying Let’s get rid of the Education Department?

MB named herself Chair of the Tea Party Caucus and had trouble getting them in line to vote against the CCB as she did. Now, because a couple of the members of the Caucus didn’t vote as she wished, it is being discussed they be removed from membership.

These House Representatives, do they now answer to MB? So when I contact mine to express my preference for a vote upcoming, he/she must check with MB?

If you haven’t taken the time to review some of her background, it would be helpful.

MB will tell you what she thinks you want to hear. I’m trying to find out more about this SuperPac that was set up that she is going to have access to the funds of. To whom is she now beholding?
Who is funding it?

And no, I’m not in favor of the National Education Association. I just don’t plan on being hoodwinked. Don’t we have enough on our plate now?

bluefox on September 5, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Audit the government.

How some school, park, or road in nowhere state is controlled and paid for with everyones nation wides money with a stop in Washington is just not what the founder had in mind.

tjexcite on September 5, 2011 at 10:01 PM

How else could liberals totally control education, in every state, whether that state is run by Republicans or Democrats, than through the Federal Government?

Every time the Federal Government has the purse strings, they’re attached to conditions and the states, once they start sucking on the Federal Teat, have little to say except, “Yes Sir” when it comes to the money. If we could get the states to say no to the money, that would be a start, however, how many state governments have you ever seen turn down Federal Money? The only ones I’ve seen have been the ones who have turned down Obamacare money but they’re also suing the Federal Government so they might not want to jeopardize their case.

We can save money by shutting it down and the Department of Energy, then we’ll move on from there.

Vote Republican and only be called a racist one more time.

bflat879 on September 5, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 5, 2011 at 10:00 PM

I meant a nationwide standard.

Universal undergraduate education is a symptom of the problem with education. Much of the undergraduate curriculum should be moved down to high school but that can’t be done without improving the elementary schools. How this can be done has been known since the early 1900s. One of the ways is Montessori.

Bright students can do calculus much younger than the education establishment assumes but they need better teachers. A major impediment is a national curriculum.

I really can’t do justice to this in a blog comment.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 10:07 PM

We don’t need a federal Department of Education. Good on Bachmann for rejecting mindless piety on that head.

J.E. Dyer on September 5, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Why do we need a department of education?

An excellent question that to which I doubt an excellent answer can be given!

GFW on September 5, 2011 at 10:12 PM

If you want to use the federal government to push your education agenda, I kindly suggest you register as a Democrat.

Lawdawg86 on September 5, 2011 at 9:53 PM

No, I want the federal government as far away from us as possible. But, this is war, and I would use any and all weapons in the arsenal to defeat the enemy, which has been doing it to us for the last century. The purpose of war, which the libs understand and which one of their icons, Lenin, said many years ago, is not to defeat your enemy but to wipe them from the face of the earth. The ends, in other words, justify the means, and while I believe in the rule of law and not men, we may well have to resort to our opponent’s asymmetrical warfare for a while, or be doomed by theirs.

TXUS on September 5, 2011 at 10:14 PM

The US Department of Education is not a “weapon” in anyone’s arsenal. The Constitution gives the federal government NO AUTHORITY over education, and therefore the continuing existence of the Department of Education is unconstitutional. Constitutionalist principle demands no less than that we disassemble it as well as most other extant cabinet agencies.

gryphon202 on September 5, 2011 at 10:17 PM

Points for Bachmann: Shut it down. I had a student loan consolidated with the Direct Loan program. I’m pretty sure they were wasting tens of millions of dollars in useless paperwork every year. I never got so much mail in my life.

And if global competitiveness is a concern, let’s take a look at where American students were scoring in math and science in the early 70′s versus where they’re scoring now. Obviously the DOE isn’t improving anything, and it might be making it worse. Get rid of it, let states implement school choice, increase the number of charter schools, and watch the scores go up.

NoLeftTurn on September 5, 2011 at 10:23 PM

Now, in theory, the Post Office is supposed to be self-sustaining
gryphon202 on September 5, 2011 at 9:58 PM

This is exactly why a fundamental fiscal restructuring of government departments is in order. The simplest example is privatization. In this case, control passes to shareholders and the government’s hand is removed.

There are many other ways to do things. In Canada, we have “crown corporations”. A friend of mine thinks we should just convert the entire government to crown corporations and during the process restructure social programs in ways that change incentives. Part of the restructuring would allow single mothers to get social support but make fathers responsible for the costs of education. This would incentivize fathers not to abandon their children and also to make sure they are getting what they pay for. Since DNA tests can establish paternity, the fathers responsibility to contribute to education costs is based on conception, reducing incentives for abortion.

A fundamental problem is that the bureaucracy always votes left and they are a permanent fixture. You need to be thinking of ways to decouple the bureaucracy from the levers of power.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 5, 2011 at 10:00 PM

I meant a nationwide standard.

Universal undergraduate education is a symptom of the problem with education. Much of the undergraduate curriculum should be moved down to high school but that can’t be done without improving the elementary schools. How this can be done has been known since the early 1900s. One of the ways is Montessori.

Bright students can do calculus much younger than the education establishment assumes but they need better teachers. A major impediment is a national curriculum.

I really can’t do justice to this in a blog comment.

gh on September 5, 2011 at 10:07 PM

A nationwide set of guidelines rather than etched in stone standards is what I’m talking about. I’m thinking of the standards proposed along the lines of the National Science Teachers Association. The recommendations can be quite broad, but provide a focus.

The individual states, school boards and school departments themselves can fill in more detailed, and varied, standards across the spectrum. I am in no way for hardnosed national standards that force every district to teach the same thing the same way. Rather like some disciplines prefer that you get your Master’s degree at a different school than where you received your undergraduate degree-so you can gain a different perspective.

I agree about the calculus, etc. It wasn’t uncommon “back in the day” for young men to graduate from a college by the time they were 18 or so. There is no excuse to hold back those that can learn certain things at an earlier age with all of the technology available to teach topics. A kid may be ready for algebra and could be fast-tracked in that, but may be somewhat average in say, English so it would be in his best interest to stay in a grade-level English class.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 5, 2011 at 10:27 PM

The purpose of war, which the libs understand and which one of their icons, Lenin, said many years ago, is not to defeat your enemy but to wipe them from the face of the earth. The ends, in other words, justify the means, and while I believe in the rule of law and not men, we may well have to resort to our opponent’s asymmetrical warfare for a while, or be doomed by theirs.

TXUS on September 5, 2011 at 10:14 PM

The fallacy in your approach is that you think you can eliminate liberalism. Aside from the fact that your rhetoric is downright extreme, your goals are completely unrealistic. You cannot hope to get rid of liberalism, but you can realistically eliminate the burdensome institutions of the federal government that liberals use to forward their agenda. That should be the goal. That is the goal as far as the Tea Party is concerned. And what the Tea Party thinks is what goes in the GOP nowadays. Big government conservatives, with your exact train of thought, ruined the broader conservative movement under Bush. You had your shot and failed miserably, and we aren’t going to let you do it again.

Lawdawg86 on September 5, 2011 at 10:28 PM

It’s such a crazy thought, Reagan was running on it in 1980!

Good Lord.

Aquateen Hungerforce on September 5, 2011 at 10:30 PM

TXUS on September 5, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Big government conservatives, with your exact train of thought, ruined the broader conservative movement under Bush. You had your shot and failed miserably, and we aren’t going to let you do it again.

Lawdawg86 on September 5, 2011 at 10:28 PM

As much as it pains me to agree with Lawdawg, I really have to. Cause he’s right.

gryphon202 on September 5, 2011 at 10:30 PM

Finally. The DoEd should never have been fabricated.

Major kudos to Bachmann. Major.

AnonymousDrivel on September 5, 2011 at 10:30 PM

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