The Department of Education Just Celebrated It’s 44th Birthday. It Doesn’t Need a 45th

department of education birthday
Maryland GovPics, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

This week, the Department of Education turned 44 years old and marked the occasion with a post on X, formerly Twitter. The post garnered snarky, negative comments pointing out the dismal track record of the Department over the last four decades.

Unlike a fine wine and my skincare routine, the Department of Education has not gotten better with age, and the proof is in the national report card. Only in America can an office fail on such an epic level at its core mission and still be allowed to operate with zero consequences. 

Not only is this Department allowed to continue failing repeatedly with impunity, but it is one of the loudest whispers in the president’s ear. A voice that never should’ve existed in the first place.

An Unhappy Birthday

The U.S. Department of Education celebrated its birthday this week on X with this statement:

“Happy 44th birthday ED! On October 17, 1979, President Carter signed the Department of Education Organization Act into law, officially creating the U.S. Department of Education. Today, we’re still working for our nation’s students, teachers, parents, & school communities.”

The Department of Education doesn’t and was never meant to work for students, parents, or school communities. When Congress created this Department, it levied seven purposes on the office – none aimed at the four groups listed in its birthday announcement.

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These purposes were written in the usual broad and vague manner as most bureaucratic failures, all with the intention of the Department to “improve,” “strengthen,” and “inform” the federal government on “opportunities,” “research,” and “programs.”

The closest the office comes to touching on any of the four groups directly is within #3, which states:

“to encourage the increased involvement of the public, parents, and students in Federal education programs.”

It doesn’t encourage in general public or parental involvement in the education system, just the Washington, D.C. programs they deem worthy.

And as for worthiness, the current secretary made clear this year that the Department doesn’t appreciate public debate on the efficacy of his Department.

A behavior problem?

Last month, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in an Associated Press interview that he misses the days when, as he put it:

“There was civility. We could disagree. We could have healthy conversations around what’s best for kids.”

Secretary Cardona followed up with this divisive comment that illustrates not just his hypocrisy, but that of his Department:

“I respect differences of opinion. I don’t have too much respect for people that are misbehaving in public and then acting like they know what’s right for kids.”

Without being specific, the secretary is touching on parents across the country who have spoken at school board meetings about concerns over pornographic and racist material being taught in their children’s schools. Parents who are concerned over the safety of their sons and daughters who are forced to share bathrooms and locker rooms with the opposite sex. 

Arguments that books containing sexually explicit material and lesson plans built to segregate students by race shouldn’t require much debate. Discussions over the real erasure of safe, private spaces for girls and boys aren’t examples of poor behavior. 

But let’s remove those obvious issues from this discussion. How well has the Department done executing its overall mandate?

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Failing grade

The mission of the Department of Education, according to its website, is to:

“…promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”

The Department has had over four decades to prove its ability to enhance student achievement, and they have yet to do so. This year’s national report card proves that whatever the Department is doing, it’s not working.

According to the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), a third of fourth and eighth-grade students can’t read at even the most basic level. Mathematics scores saw the most significant decline in both fourth and eighth-grade students since the assessment was executed, with a quarter of fourth-grade students failing to meet basic levels of compliance.

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Regarding history, 40% of students are below the basic level of achievement. That’s 4 out of 10 students who can’t say what the 18th Amendment was about, why sea expeditions in the 1600s were necessary, and how Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech reflects the ideas of the Constitution.

Civics scores also declined for the first time since the assessment has been used. The civics assessment tests student’s ability to understand the rule of law, the electoral college, common causes of war, and the purpose behind organizations like the United Nations. 

The Department hasn’t just failed young kids but young adults as well, with the average ACT scores now at a historic 30-year low. So much for global competitiveness and achievement.

Time to detox

The Department of Education doesn’t operate in the best interest of America’s children or their parents. They don’t even strive to better the country at large. 

This Department, which should never have been born, is meant to bolster the teachers unions’ political interests and help facilitate politicians’ success at the expense of our children’s futures. On the first day of the Biden administration, First Lady Jill Biden invited the American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and National Education Association President Becky Pringle to the White House.

According to a recent book on the Biden administration authored by The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer, Mrs. Biden said to the two titans of Big Education:

“I told you I was going to bring you with me to the White House. And on day one, you’re here.”

This year at the NEA Representative Assembly, Secretary Cardona declared:

“It’s time to detoxify those who seek to destroy public education, to detox them from ignorance, racism, and hate. It’s time to detox them from privatizing the great equalizer of public education.”

It’s true; the Department of Education and teachers unions have done a bang-up job using public education to equalize the nation – they’ve made the future generation of Americans all equally dumber. The state of our education system should be considered a national emergency equal to a national security threat.

And the first step towards mitigating this threat to the future of America: terminating the Department of Education. 

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson