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ERIC Number: ED518386
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Get the Federal Government out of Education? That Wasn't the Founding Fathers' Vision
Jennings, Jack
Center on Education Policy
During the 2010 election campaign, Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky demanded the dismantling of the U.S. Department of Education. "I am against any federal funding or control of education," he said. "Historically, education was funded and controlled locally" (Strauss, 2010). Another new Republican senator, Mike Lee from Utah, asserted that "Congress has no business regulating our nation's public education system, and has created problems whenever it has attempted to do so" (Lee, 2010). Blake Farenthold, a Texas Republican who in 2010 won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, also picked up on this refrain: "First, I believe the federal government needs to get out of the education business. It's not a power granted the government in the Constitution" (Brownsville Area Tea Party Association, 2010). With the triumph of Tea Party candidates and other conservatives in the November 2010 election, many in the new Congress are pressing to get the federal government out of education. This paper explains how eliminating or curtailing federal involvement in education would be a wrong-headed, simplistic move for several reasons: (1) It ignores the nation's history; (2) It would erode the state and local funding base for public schools; (3) It would make it harder for people to go college; (4) It would endanger the national commitment to equity; and (5) It would slow momentum for raising achievement to internationally competitive levels. The remainder of the paper explores these points in more detail. (Contains 4 footnotes.)
Center on Education Policy. 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 522, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-822-8065; Fax: 202-822-6008; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: George Gund Foundation; Phi Delta Kappa International
Authoring Institution: Center on Education Policy
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky; Texas; Utah