Should the U.S. Department of Education be eliminated?

Posted: November 29th, 2013

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Should the U.S. Department of Education be eliminated?

Introduction

The U.S Department of Education was created in 1979 under the President Jimmy Carter to enhance “student achievement and prepare them for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and insuring equal access” (Ryan, “Eliminating the U.S Department of Education”). The sole purpose of this department is to ensure that quality education is accessible to all regardless of race, age and social status. The Department of Education has been fostering and implementing the ‘No Child Left Behind’ law since it was passed by congress under President Bush. The American population has entrusted the quality of their children’s education to the department of education.

Discussion

Those who advocate for the elimination of the Department of Education have various reasons supporting their arguments. It is said that this department receives the third largest amount of money in the country’s annual budgetary allocation. This is seen as unfair because the department has 15 agencies. In this period of debt and deficit, this spending is regarded unscrupulous and unnecessary. A department with such a small number of staff should not be allocated so much money.

The Department of Education controls local schools but with all the funding it receives, very little or none of it reaches the local schools. This means that these schools have to make due with the little resources and run-down facilities to provide education to children. The quality of this education is lowered because the schools do not receive adequate funding from the Department of Education. Some schools are forced to ask for financial assistance from the parents of the children and this weighs heavy on those parents who cannot afford to raise the required amounts.

The quality of education in America was gradually improving before the introduction of the Department of Education. There has been no evidence to the improvement in education and student performances under the guidance of the Department of Education. Given by the amount of money the Department receives, there should be notable changes in the quality of education in American schools. On the contrary, this is not the case as more schools disintegrate for lack of educational and administrative resources, which is the responsibility of the Department of Education.

Opponents of this idea argue that the Department of Education plays a notable role in the education sector in American schools. President Obama initiated the ‘Race to the Top’ in his bid to implement the ‘No Child Left Behind’ Act. This was done in order to improve the quality of teaching in schools, provide textbooks to students, encourage innovative teaching approaches and make general reforms in the education system. This initiative was enacted to ensure quality education to all American children regardless of physical abilities and social status. This also depicts the collaboration of the federal government and the local states in improving the quality of education in American schools and the importance of such collaborations.

The Department of Education is responsible for running college education funds of needy students. Without the involvement of the Department, college education loans would not be as efficient as it has been over the last years. These student loans ensure that students get the education they deserve in colleges of their choices hence help to shape their careers. Eliminating the Department of Education will shutter the dreams of such college students and reduce their chances at better education and futures.

The Department of Education has positive impacts on the American education system. Mitt Romney says, “Putting the interests of the kids and the parents and the teachers first, I see the Department of Education can actually make a difference” (qtd in Ferrier, “Should the Department of Education be Abolished?”). The Department looks into and addresses the needs of the teachers, children and the parents in ensuring that education is provided at the highest level in all schools. The teachers’ interests are addressed through the teachers’ union, which works closely with the Department of Education.

Eliminating the Department of Education would mean that the states would have to handle the Department’s programs. There is doubt as to whether the states would be able to administer these programs because financial wars will be witnessed among the involved states. Dividing and allocating the education funding would bring chaos amongst states, as each state would want to receive more money than the other did. This is because each state has varying education priorities and handling the allocated funding would differ in all the states. Consequently, the quality of education in American states would deteriorate because of lack of control and governing authority. The responsibility that the federal Department of Education holds in deciding about the appropriate allocation of education funds to all states will be undermined once it is abolished (“Rick Perry’s Education Plan: Inadequate, Unfeasible And Unfair, Some Experts Say”).

While delivering his “voucher” proposal speech, Mitt Romney says, “I will expand parental choice in an unprecedented way” (qtd in Gabriel, “Vouchers Unspoken, Romney Hails School Choice”). This proposal would only work for a short while because education prices would eventually go up. When the price for education goes up, only the rich will afford an education while the poor will be left behind therefore widening the gap that exists between the rich and poor.

If the Department of Education were eliminated, education rights of non-citizens in America would be violated. Thanks to the efforts of the Department of Education, it has been possible for many international students to gain entry to American schools and colleges and eliminating the Department would result in many of these students loosing their opportunity to further their education in America. This move would be unfair to such students and to the education system of the American people.
Conclusion

The Department of Education has had its fair share of problems since it was introduced. Complains have been lobbied against how it operates and especially mismanagement of education funds by some of the officials in the Department. Nevertheless, it cannot be ignored that the Department of Education ensures quality education to American and international students. It also addresses the issues facing teachers like their working conditions and salaries. The education in America needs the Department of Education to run it in ensuring equity in education provision and reception in schools and colleges. The Department of Education should therefore not be eliminated.

 

Work cited

“Rick Perry’s Education Plan: Inadequate, Unfeasible and Unfair, Some Experts Say”. Huffingtonpost.com. November 15, 2011. web. 11 July 2012.

Ferrier, Lindsay. “Should the Department of Education be Abolished?” cafemom.com. February 6, 2012. Web. 9 July 2012.

Gabriel, Trip. “Vouchers Unspoken, Romney Hails School Choice”. Nytimes.com. June 11, 2012. web. 11 July 2012.

Ryan, Frank. “Eliminating the U.S Department of Education”. Americanthinker.com. April 16, 2011. Web. 9 July 2012.

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