THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
In 1980, Ronald Reagan ran for president with the promise that if he were elected, he would abolish the Department of Education. His opponent, President Jimmy Carter promised to protect the department, which he had created several years earlier. The department still exists, but the Republicans are gearing up to fulfill Reagan's promise.
The platform reflects the views of Pat Buchanan's pro-life, anti-federal government constituents. Indeed, it was Pat Buchanan who told a New Hampshire audience, "We don't need some guy in sandals and beads at the Department of Education telling us how to educate our children."
Department of Education
The Republican Platform calls for the abolishment of the Department of Education.
Presidential candidate Bob Dole's stand on Education.
Presidential candidate Bob Dole has said the funding for his $2.5 billion voucher program would come from ending Goals 2000 and cutting deep into the Department of Education's bureaucracy. On September 9, 1996, while campaigning in Georgia, Dole said "We're going to cut out the Department of Education." And the GOP Presidential platform reads:
Our formula is as simple as it is sweeping: the federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the work place. That is why we will abolish the Department of Education, end federal meddling in our schools, and promote family choice at all levels of learning. We therefore call for prompt repeal of the Goals 2000 program and the School-To-Work Act of 1994, which put new federal controls, as well as unfunded mandates, on the States. We further urge that federal attempts to impose outcome- or performance-based education on local schools be ended.
The House Republicans, fresh from their 1994 victory, joined the fight on the legislative front. In April 1995, Budget Chair John Kasich (R-OH) introduced a bill that would have eliminated funding for the DOE. House concurrent Resolution 67 stated the Republican plan and outlined the Republican vision of education in the United States.
The freshman Members of the House majority will introduce legislation to abolish the Department of Education on May 24. The Budget Committee endorses their goal of returning education to the States and local level. This proposal would eliminate funding for approximately 150 programs in the Department of Education.
It is not clear what would happen if the Department of Education were abolished. The DOE handles many programs, from student loans and scholarships to closed-captioned programming for the hearing-impaired. The DOE oversees programs such as the President's pet Goals 2000 program, which was begun in the previous Republican administration and seeks to help states attain national standards and plan for the 21rst Century classroom. The Department delivers almost $13 billion to states and school districts for elementary and secondary education, primarily through formula-based grant programs. About 95 percent of the Department's funding to elementary and secondary education in the following programs: Goals 2000, Educate America Act, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional Development program, the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities program, Impact Aid, and part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
President Clinton has not only defended the Department of Education against the budget cutting ax, but has recently come out with several education reform proposals over the past few months: $5 billion to refurbish crumbling schools, school uniforms, Internet connections for every classroom, and mandatory exams for students to advance a grade.