How we should go about Fixing America Pt. 2
The Department of Education
In my last posting on this subject, I wrote about closing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Labor Department. I estimated the saving at over $120 billion dollars a year. Now I’m setting my sights on the Education department, another cabinet post that has no basis in the Constitution.
First, a little history.
The modern Education Department is a gift to the teachers unions. The Education department began life in 1867. From the History of the Department of Education:
“The original Department of Education was created in 1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems. While the agency’s name and location within the Executive Branch have changed over the past 130 years, this early emphasis on getting information on what works in education to teachers and education policymakers continues down to the present day.”
Hmm, so far not so bad. Back after the Civil War we had a large influx of immigrants who didn’t speak English and knew nothing of their new country. We also had a large population of people who were either totally illiterate or mostly illiterate. Sharing ideas and information isn’t a bad thing. However, the political class couldn’t leave well enough alone.
“The passage of the Second Morrill Act in 1890 gave the then-named Office of Education responsibility for administering support for the original system of land-grant colleges and universities. Vocational education became the next major area of Federal aid to schools, with the 1917 Smith-Hughes Act and the 1946 George-Barden Act focusing on agricultural, industrial, and home economics training for high school students.”
Uh huh. Shoveling money into schools. I wonder if political favors were expected. You know, Senator Blowhard’s idiot nephew gets a degree in cattle boinking or something. Anyway, it only gets worse.
“World War II led to a significant expansion of Federal support for education. The Lanham Act in 1941 and the Impact Aid laws of 1950 eased the burden on communities affected by the presence of military and other Federal installations by making payments to school districts. And in 1944, the “GI Bill” authorized post-secondary education assistance that would ultimately send nearly 8 million World War II veterans to college.”
Now I will say the GI bill was one of the few brilliant ideas to come out of Washington. We owed all those men who fought in WW2 a great deal and helping them get a good education was not only the right thing to do, it laid the foundations for our massive economic growth and new scientific advances. Thanks to the education the veterans received under the GI bill, their earning power went way up and they returned to the treasury far more then they were loaned.
After the GI bill, the Congress decided to use education to fight the Cold War.
“The Cold War stimulated the first example of comprehensive Federal education legislation, when in 1958 Congress passed the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) in response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik. To help ensure that highly trained individuals would be available to help America compete with the Soviet Union in scientific and technical fields, the NDEA included support for loans to college students, the improvement of science, mathematics, and foreign language instruction in elementary and secondary schools, graduate fellowships, foreign language and area studies, and vocational-technical training.”
Again, there is a need. In this case it could be said that this was to help defend the nation. Of course, the morons in Washington couldn’t stop when they were ahead.
“The anti-poverty and civil rights laws of the 1960s and 1970s brought about a dramatic emergence of the Department’s equal access mission. The passage of laws such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibited discrimination based on race, sex, and disability, respectively made civil rights enforcement a fundamental and long-lasting focus of the Department of Education. In 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act launched a comprehensive set of programs, including the Title I program of Federal aid to disadvantaged children to address the problems of poor urban and rural areas. And in that same year, the Higher Education Act authorized assistance for post-secondary education, including financial aid programs for needy college students.
In 1980, Congress established the Department of Education as a Cabinet level agency. Today, ED operates programs that touch on every area and level of education. The Department’s elementary and secondary programs annually serve nearly 14,000 school districts and some 56 million students attending roughly 99,000 public schools and 34,000 private schools. Department programs also provide grant, loan, and work-study assistance to more than 14 million post-secondary students.”
And so it begins.
What originally began as a small office to pass around information to help teachers better educate children has mutated into a massive bureaucracy that imposes, (and don’t think it doesn’t tell school districts what to do), rules, regulations and inefficiency on the public school system.
The real decline of the public school system started with the arrival of “Education Professionals” in the Education Department. The theory was that people who specialized in teaching would know what was needed to improve the education system. That didn’t turn out to be the case.
Since the 60’s when the teachers unions began their collective bargaining, educational standards have plummeted. One classroom experiment after the other was carried out. One of the first, and a major failure was the concept of “New Math.” 3 4
I was a victim of New Math and to this day have difficulty with basic mathematics. If it wasn’t for the invention of the calculator and later the computer, I would be in a really bad way.
Another disaster that occurred in the ’60’s and ’70’s was forced busing.5 Forced busing was a result of court decisions regarding the “Separate but equal” educational system, (which really wasn’t all that equal), and the court ordered desegregation of America’s school systems.6
While there were problems, and rather serious ones, the actions by the Judicial Branch in essentially seizing control of school districts did nothing but make a bad situation far far worse. While there are many cases, two of the worst were the court ordered forced busing by Judge Arthur Garrity7 of the Boston Massacgusetts School system and the fiasco of the Kansas City Desegregation Experiment8 by Federal Judge Russell Clark.
Judge Clark decided that not enough money was being spent on the schools and ordered taxes to be raised to pay for his dream. This unconstitutional power grab had never been attempted before and that it was allowed to happen showed the absolute cowardice of the elected government and the collusion of the Education lobby.
From The Heritage Foundation:9
The power to tax
In 1987, the federal courts assumed the right to tax the American people. District Judge Russell Clark ordered a tax increase to “remedy vestiges of segregation” in the Kansas City, Missouri, school system. The decree–and two billion tax dollars–turned the city’s school district into a gold-plated Taj Mahal, complete with editing and animation labs, vivariums and greenhouses, temperature-controlled art galleries, and a model United Nations wired for language translation.
While satiating the judge’s thirst for educational intermeddling, the reforms left student achievement unchanged. And so today, the planetariums, pools, and pay increases stand only as a testament to tyranny, an appalling judicial activism that is contrary to all that the Framers held dear. As Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas indignantly opined, “[Clark] has trampled upon the principle of federalism” and, in turn, the Constitution itself.
I’m not that familiar with the Kansas City mess, but I remember the disaster of the Boston busing fiasco. Judge Garrity was a classic case of an imperial judge. In the name of desegregation, he all but destroyed the Boston public school system.
From the Busing’s Boston Massacre10
Garrity ordered the implementation of the Massachusetts State Board of Education’s drastic “Master Plan” to achieve racial balance in the public schools. The Master Plan generally required students from designated white neighborhoods to be bused to schools in designated black neighborhoods and vice versa. But the plan’s ugliest element was the cross-town busing of children attending South Boston and Roxbury high schools, exchanging students from Boston’s most insular Irish Catholic neighborhood with students from the heart of the black ghetto.
The Master Plan, however, was only one of several options available to Garrity. For example, Boston school superintendent Frederick Gillis proposed an “open enrollment plan” that would have allowed families to send their children to any school in the city. This option would have been much more palatable to the public and far less costly than forced busing. But Garrity showed little interest. He gave the city only 11 weeks to prepare for the biggest social experiment in its history. Worse, six days after the court order, he unabashedly admitted he had not even read the Master Plan prior to ordering its implementation.
Of course there was resistance, and at times it came to violence. Garrity flat out didn’t give a damn.
According to Common Ground, by J. Anthony Lukas, when White was warned of impending violence at an anti-busing march, he telephoned Garrity at his home to see if he would ban the march. But Garrity refused to speak to the mayor because he considered a call to his personal residence “inappropriate.” “That arrogant ass!” White reportedly said. “He issues his damn order, then retires to his suburban estate and refuses to talk with the only guy who can make it work.” After the mayor called Garrity’s home a second time, the judge made White a co-defendant in the case.
An exhausted White later appeared in Garrity’s courtroom and implored him to deploy federal marshals to help safeguard public order. But Garrity dismissed the mayor’s plea and insisted that “integration in the schools can be achieved by community efforts.” The judge was apparently less confident in community efforts to safeguard his own home in Wellesley, however, as two deputy federal marshals stood guard there around the clock. Nor did Garrity’s faith in local government extend to South Boston High, where he micromanaged everything from student transfers to ordering the purchase of 12 MacGregor basketballs.
On September 3, 1985, Garrity finally turned authority over the Boston Public Schools to the Massachusetts Board of Education. He left behind a wrecked school system.
What does this have to do with the Department of Education? It’s simple really, Both Garrity and Clarke had the same mindset of centralized control of Education. Since these two totalitarian geniuses left the scene, the public schools have only gotten worse.
Today, it isn’t so much teach children how to read, American history, science and mathematics as it’s about making sure the little darlings feelings aren’t hurt. One of the changes is how grades are assigned. When I was in school, back in the dark days of whale oil lamps, I was assigned grades such as A, B, C, D or if I failed something, a big red F.
Today the grading system is, to put it mildly, a joke. I recall when my niece received her report card when she was in the 4th grade. I took one look at it and asked her father, (my brother), what the hell it meant.
It was full of “<Niece> plays well with others and is very helpful” No where did I find a single letter grade. My brother, who really worked with his children, was quite familiar with this disgrace and told me it was actually a good card, the equivalent of A’s and B’s.
Being a sarcastic SOB, I started translating the garbage in the card for my niece. Of course I’m not an idiot so what I said only showed my contempt while showing her my approval of her hard work. My niece is now in her second year of collage and is going to a small but very good university, not one of those overpriced PCU’s like Harvard or Yale.
Since I left school the centralization of education under the federal government has grown worse. The most recent is the outright nationalization of the student loan program11 by the Obama tyranny Administration and before this the No Child Left Behind program by the Idiot Bush administration.12
No where in the Constitution does it give the federal Government permission to interfere in education. What started over a century ago as a clearing house of ideas has mutated into an agency that has virtually destroyed public education in this country.
Consider that children who are home schooled or attend private schools generally score far higher then those in the public school system. Of course the Educrats will do everything they can to suppress information that puts them into a bad light. With the help and connivance of the Teachers unions, they have made it impossible to get rid of bad teachers.
It gets worse. To be a teacher these days, you have to go through training to become a “Professional Educator. There are degrees from universities in education. Actually knowing the subject you’re teaching? Well, that really isn’t important these days.
There are tens of thousands of professional people who would love to teach. They know their subject inside and out. They may require a little training to help them into teaching children, but they don’t need 4 years of manure generated by “Professional Educators.”
Did you know that large numbers of retirees would love to fill “Young skulls full of mush”13 but can’t because they don’t have the mandated teaching credentials? Businessmen, biologists, engineers, etc. will never be allowed into a classroom because they haven’t gotten the proper government mandated certifications to show they have the skills to teach children.
Of course, local school districts don’t have to follow the mandates of the Education Department. They also won’t see a dime of federal cash either, and will get slammed with every bureaucratic piece of crap they can come up with. Another problem is the teachers unions. They have so locked up the public school system that it’s impossible to get rid of a bad teacher.
In New York, there are 700 teachers who are paid to sit around and do nothing. These are teachers who should have been fired but thanks to the Unions and their butt buddies in the Education Department, can’t be dismissed.14
So, what can we do? It’s simple really. Defund and close the Education Department and end union representation for teachers. I’ll also add getting rid of tenure. Teachers should not have a lifetime sinecure. They should compete for jobs just like the rest of us in the Dreaded Private Sector.
Will this happen? At the rate the economy is imploding and the taxpayers are seeing just how corrupt the educational system has become, yes I think it will. States like New Jersey and Texas are starting to lead the way. Governor Christie recently told a teacher who was whining about her pay, that if she didn’t like her job, go find another one.15
In Texas, there was a major fight over text books. The Liberals, Progressives and Education Professionals, (But I repeat myself), wanted to eliminate things like Christmas, Independence Day and Gen. George Patton.((My Fox NY: Texas Textbook Battle Has National Impact)) Liberals, Progressives and Education Professionals, (There I go repeating myself again) were aghast that conservatives and strict constitutional constructionists dared to question the left wing orthodoxy that America was Evil and Americans who happened to be of European decent are racists.((New York Times: Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change)) The Conservative members won the votes and the new curriculum passed 10 to 5 along a party line vote.
It’s beginning then. The average people, the ones the Policymakers, Elites, Liberals, Progressives and other members of the Political Class, hold in utter and complete contempt, are fighting back. I think that if things continue, we will see the collapse of the Educational Elites and a return to local control.
It’s all up to you of course. You need to get out and vote for people who will kill the monster and shut down this and other unconstitutional agencies and departments.
Next I think I’ll pull the plug on the Energy Department.
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~The Angry Webmaster~
- The National Education Association [↩]
- American Federation of Teachers [↩]
- Wikipedia, New Math [↩]
- David Klein, A Brief History of American K-12 Mathematics Education in the 20th Century [↩]
- Wikipedia: Desegregation busing in the United States [↩]
- Wikipedia: Separate but equal [↩]
- Wikipedia: Desegregation busing in the United States [↩]
- The Cato Institute: Money And School Performance:Lessons from the Kansas City Desegregation Experiment [↩]
- The Heritage Foundation: Courting Disaster: Judicial Despotism in the Age of Russell Clark [↩]
- The Hoover Institute: Busing’s Boston Massacre [↩]
- Human Events: Obama’s Student-Loan Takeover [↩]
- Wikipedia: No Child Left Behind [↩]
- Rush Limbaugh [↩]
- Foxnews: 700 NYC Teachers Are Paid to Do Nothing [↩]
- Business Insider: NJ Governor Chris Christie Tells A School Teacher How It Is [↩]