For this post, we’re discussing the federal Department of Education, and my flat out answer is an emphatic NO. The federal Department of Education – and certainly to an extent state education bureaucracies – are great examples of government central planning that fails to improve anything, or more likely make it worse.
More than 1.9 million people subscribe to the free Hillsdale College monthly newsletter Imprimis and if you don’t subscribe you might as well click here to subscribe for free. Some of the authors may seem obscure to you, but it certainly does not mean the information is not valuable. Take for instance Charles Murray’s speech in Atlanta at an October 2011 conference on Markets, Government, and the Common Good.
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.
Read the entire speech as I think you’ll find it worth your time. In short, Murray agrees with me, and I would like to read your comments below.
If you’re one who thinks the federal Department of Education has value and is properly one of the roles of the federal government, let me know why. Just know that if you come up with the “kids are the future and if we don’t have a DOE, they will suffer” excuse, that’s a completely false argument since we have local and state funding, plus local school boards and state DOEs.
This redundancy is a killer when it comes to the economy and financial strength of the United States, and there is no value.
This time it is the Department of Education that would seem to be overstepping its bounds.
Thanks to their vigilence, we will today learn the identities of the most expensive colleges and universities in the United States, based upon data that the colleges and universities are required to file with the federal government. This information, although apparently “fairly complex”, is of assistance to students and their parents when making decisions as to where to go to school.
So far, so good. But, it is what else the Department of Education does with this information that is troublesome.
Under federal law, colleges with the fastest-rising published tuitions and net prices — about 530 — will now have to explain to Education Department officials why their costs went up and what steps they’ll take to reduce them. [emphasis supplied]
I am sorry, but, personally, I question by what right the federal government thinks it can demand that any college explain why their costs have risen, much less explain what they will do about rising costs. If students do not want to attend a particular school because they deem it too expensive, that is their right. If their are enough of those students, then the school either changes its pricing policies, or, risks losing income.
Doesn’t the federal government have better things to do with your money?
This “Race to the Top” thing is totally stupid. From what I remember, Connecticut failed to get an application in on time and lost out, now New Jersey inserts 2008 budget numbers into a binder – instead of the required 2010 numbers – and they miss out [oh well] on $400 million?
If you’re going to argue the reduction of public education funding or the reduction of the number of teachers/assistants/administrators will directly result in lower student performance, you need to show the increase in funding and positions within the system improved student performance in the first place.
Another Obama administration staffer, another scandal… Kevin Jennings is, allegedly, the director of the Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. As a young man, Jennings was a teacher in Concord, Massachusetts. Read more