Op-Ed: The New Congress Must Totally Defund the US Department of Education


Considering the offensive policies issuing from the U.S. Department of Education, the department should be totally defunded.

For instance, earlier this year the Biden administration bullied local school districts into either supporting an immoral agenda or losing federal dollars for school lunches. In 2016, President Barack Obama wrote every local school district, overriding local and parental authority, telling them to “let transgender students use bathrooms matching their gender identity” or else risk lawsuits or federal funding.

Americans have had enough of these federal control freaks.

DOE exists so federal elites have the muscle to control children. DOE mandates Common Core, Marxist critical theories, the sexualization of children, and anti-American propaganda and threatens to withhold federal funding for noncompliance.

National test scores scream at us that children desperately need reading, writing and math, not more federally mandated critical race theory and overt sexualization.

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The time is right to defund DOE. Former President Donald Trump has called for its shuttering, as has former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Once Congress commits to defunding the federal Department of Education, there are five easy steps to take:

1. Send all program management and funding to the states.
State officials report that their current infrastructure oversees and manages similar state and federal programs. For example, states have their own preschool programs where they can incorporate funding for Head Start programs; free and reduced lunch funding can be incorporated into state-led food programs, and data collection, managed by states, can better guard student data privacy.

2. Repeal all laws permitting federal intervention in K-12 education, starting with ESSA.
As programs are moved to the states, Congress should repeal the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2016. Some claim ESSA was written to decrease the prescriptive federal control asserted under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, but it still authorizes the secretary of education to accept or reject state education plans.

The federal government is obligated to prevent states from discrimination in education under the 14th Amendment. This obligation can be administered by the Department of Justice through the courts, where cases can be handled individually and ruled upon with the power of law. Bureaucratic administration of justice is inappropriate and ineffective.

Should the Department of Education be eliminated?

The federal government should protect the privacy of its citizens. To this end, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act needs major revisions to protect student data privacy. Its oversight can also be transferred to the Department of Justice.

Other programs that can be moved to other federal departments include Postsecondary Education Scholarships for Veterans, which can go to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, which can move to the department that handles all D.C. policy programs.

3. Privatize college loan programs through savings and loan institutions.
Students can be approved for specified funding based on the strength of their loan application, including future employment prospects, which makes loans relative to future earning power. Privatization will help students be more savvy consumers, and the private lending model will make colleges more responsible.

4. Eliminate all offices and divisions of DOE and related spending.
The cost of overhead and bureaucracy to administer programs that have clearly not benefitted children is truly a waste. In some regards, it is an employment program providing jobs for thousands of bureaucrats, but this money can be put to much better use.

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The department can be closed in one fiscal year with the elimination of DOE discretionary appropriations. The year this occurs, the federal government should send every American federal taxpayer a rebate or refund — after all, this was their money in the first place.

Some might suggest this should be the first step. However, the previous recommendations should be enacted first so that existing education programs cannot be rolled into other departments and buried within budgets, making tracking and transparency more difficult.

It is reasonable and possible to integrate the programs in steps. For example, one program can be selected to move to the states first, followed by the elimination of legal statutes surrounding the program, and finally, the DOE offices can be eliminated.

5. Reduce federal tax collection, shifting education revenue collection entirely back to the states.
Since the federal portion of state K-12 education spending is about 15 percent in each state, restructuring tax collection to recover or streamline the funds needed is feasible. It is also necessary to finalize the extraction of the federal government from intrusion in K-12 education policy and regulation.

The reality is that Americans have had enough. Parents and taxpayers are fed up with federal control of education, which has led to indoctrinating instead of educating children.

It is time to end the unconstitutional federal control of education and restore parental and local control.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Sheri Few is the founder and president of United States Parents Involved in Education, whose mission is to end the U.S. Department of Education and all federal education mandates. USPIE has established 20 state chapters and is growing rapidly amid the national outcry from parents who want to regain control of their children’s education. Few has spent much of the last year exposing critical race theory and serving as executive producer of the new documentary film “Truth & Lies in American Education.”