Should the Department of Education be Abolished?

Department of EducationCreated by Jimmy Carter in 1980, the Department of Education is the smallest cabinet-level department in US government, with only about 5,000 employees.

And if some Republicans have their way, it will one day be abolished altogether.

Every GOP presidential candidate has advocated either getting rid of the department or giving it less power.

But is this the right decision for our children?

Education is important to American moms, and so this week, we're asking our CafeMom political bloggers this question:

What would abolishing the Department of Education mean for moms? Why is this a good or bad idea?

We'll hear from our bloggers on the topic all week long -- In the meantime, let us know what you think about the issue in the comments of this post!


Interestingly, the Department of Education has the third-largest budget of the 15 Cabinet-level departments. Much of that budget goes to the bipartisan No Child Left Behind plan (a plan enacted with George W. Bush's blessing in 2000), which many have criticized as being ineffective, burdensome and expensive.

Others say the department is a violation of the 10th amendment, which reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The Constitution does not contain any reference to regulation or funding of education.

Here's where the GOP candidates stand on the Department of Education:

A quote from Mitt Romney in 2007:

I've taken a position where, once upon a time, I said I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education. That was my position when I ran for Senate in 1994. That's very popular with the base. As I've been a governor and seen the impact that the federal government can have holding down the interest of the teachers' unions and instead putting the interests of the kids and the parents and the teachers first, I see that the Department of Education can actually make a difference.

Newt Gingrich:

"As President, Newt will dramatically shrink the Department of Education to a research and reporting overview agency, and restore decision-making powers to states and communities."

Ron Paul:

Ron Paul works towards the elimination of the inefficient Department of Education, leaving education decisions to be made at the state, local or personal level. Parents should have the right to spend their money on the school or method of schooling they deem appropriate for their children.

Rick Santorum:

The federal role in education is very limited.  Education is the responsibility of parents, local schools (public and private), and states in that order.  The President can and should inspire toward educational excellence and personalization of learning.  The federal government’s role is limited to areas such as supporting civil rights protections such as IDEA in a common sense fashion, enabling essential research, and promoting equality of opportunity where needed.

President Bush was on the mark about the soft bigotry of low expectations and the offensively low graduation rates in many of our cities.   Today, there are still many parents without good educational options for their children.  The problem is that the solution is not a federal one, it is a state and principally local one.  Parents and citizenry should hold schools accountable and have educational options for their children.  Baby steps were taken in this direction in No Child Left Behind, but it should have been initiated at the local level where the consumers, taxpayers, and children are.   States may choose to adopt common core standards, but they should not be forced on states, private schools, or home schools.

President Obama:

Obama wants to reform No Child Left Behind.

In his own words, "We're going to let states, schools and teachers come up with innovative ways to give our children the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the future. Because what works in Rhode Island may not be the same thing that works in Tennessee -- but every student should have the same opportunity to learn and grow, no matter what state they live in," Obama said.

That's where the candidates stand.

Here's what our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers have to say:

Abolishing the Department of Education Is the Best Thing for Our Kids

Department of Education Gives a Gift to Children

The Department of Education Is About Government Not Education

Haven't We Learned Something Good From the Department of Education?

State, Not Federal Government, Should Decide How to Educate Its Kids

Do you think we need a Department of Education?


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