Today, by a historically narrow 51-50 margin (with Vice President Pence breaking the tie), the U.S. Senate confirmed knows-nothing-about-education billionaire Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education. And perhaps it won’t matter. Like Trump nominee Pruitt for U.S. EPA, Devos is the President’s pick, not because she can do anything positive for public education or the families it serves, but she will oversee the complete dismantling of the U.S. Department of Education.
And now this bit of news, which, with all the other news overwhelming the press and exhausting politicos, not to mention everyday consumers of news. A bill has just been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives that would abolish the Department of Education by December 31, 2018. Yes, you heard it right. On the very same day, Devos was confirmed, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) is the sponsor of a one page bill that says simply, “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”
Yes, Massie is a bit of a maverick (he was the lone Republican to vote against Paul Ryan for Speaker), but this bill has co-sponsors, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Andy Biggs (R-AZ.), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Jody Hice (R-GA), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Raúl Labrador (R-ID).
Will the bill go anywhere? Abolishing the Dept. of Education has been the wet dream of Republicans since Ronald Reagan first proposed it back in the ’80s. It’s gone nowhere, but with the combination of Donald Trump and a Congress that quakes in fear of being Tweeted into submission, I fear the time may have come.
Is the EPA next? Watch this space.
What do you think? Will the Trump/GOP abolish the Dept. of Education? Let us know in the comments below or by Tweeting me @B_Barnett
The Department of Education is akin to the Supreme Court for educators. The Department should continue as an entity which provides overall guidance to the schools on critical areas like language arts, mathematics and science.
NASA has some very good educational materials for educators too. If there is any bureaucratic downsizing of the Dept. of Education – the difference should be paid back to the States dollar for dollar and not to other programs like Pentagon spending! The States could use surplus monies for education like free college tuition, pre-K, reading programs, gymnastics in schools etc.
The debate on standardized testing continues unabated. The thing to do is to design short ELA tests of no more than 1 hour in length. Testing can provide an overall measurement as to how well students are doing across the nation.
The educational system has to get back to basics like enforced reading of books in the curriculum. Every child in primary school should read approximately 100 books before entering Middle School. Reading books is the only way to learn the language comprehensively. Pre-K should be a requirement too. The reason is that pre-K introduces students to the language, the dynamics of peer interaction, group dynamics, behavioral norms, arithmetic counting/compilation and many other vital areas.
Lastly, we must get back to having strong apprenticeship programs and free education in the trades like electrical, plumbing, welding, solar panel installation, auto repair/maintenance etc. A family shouldn’t have to spend $50,000 or more sending a young adult through trade school.