Posts Tagged ‘P21’

 

Every year the United States spends over $100 billion dollars on education and yet, we rank 36th as a nation in the world for educational quality and academically superior students. So what does $100 billion get us and where is the money going? For over 200 years, education was a matter left solely to parents and the local community, but in 1979 the former office of Health, Education and Welfare was split into two agency by President Carter forming the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. Ranked among the smallest of the cabinet positions, the department still has 5000 employees. Its stated mission is to “establish policy for, administer and coordinate most federal assistance to education, collect data on US schools, and to enforce federal educational laws regarding privacy and civil rights.” This mission included the institution of Common Core and its re-teaching of our history to fit a Leftist agenda, and the department’s more insidious “P-20” plan that literally follows a student from cradle to grave, sharing information with other governmental agencies, violating, at the very least, a students’ rights to privacy. For $100 billion a year we get an academic version of the NSA, tracking, monitoring and recording all of our children’s movements within the educational framework, all inside an agency that has an insatiable desire to stick its nose into every facet of our childrens’ lives. Ten years ago there were 760 education-related programs spread across 39 agencies, costing taxpayers $120 billion a year. The situation has not improved much with educational spending at $107.6 billion in 2012. Every year the Department issues its Strategic Action Plan outlining its goals for the following school year and beyond. In comparing 2013 and 2014 two facts stand out. The first is that the goals for both years are entirely identical and, second, 2013 was an epic fail for turning around poor performing districts, at least in the DC district we previously investigated, that ranked lowest in the nation and spent the most per student at over $38000. Getting the picture?

Within the Department are a myriad of grant opportunities available for individuals, non-profit organizations, schools (surprise!) and “other” organizations and/or agencies. After reviewing the three hundred pages listing the grants, their descriptions and how much money is allocated to each one, it becomes apparent that anyone and his brother has an equal opportunity to apply for some type of funding. These grants run in the millions, can be used for virtually any purpose and aren’t necessarily educational in nature. For example, one grant allows equal opportunity for blind individuals to operate vending machine services in schools. Another allocated over $18 million in 2012 for the advocacy of disability rights. It also becomes obvious upon review that the number one use for allocation of these monies is to hire more teachers. Giving the teachers union more power and making sure there is an equal number of Coke machine contracts given to blind vendors is not going to raise our position as 36th on the world’s academic stage. The Department also operates with a variety of extraneous offices and subdivisions of its authority that appear to be completely unnecessary. For example, why does there have to be an Office of Risk Management? This office’s own mission statement is highly suspect: “As part of implementing Enterprise Risk Management throughout the Department, RMS is responsible for identifying risks and taking effective action to manage and mitigate risks that may adversely affect the advancement of the Department’s mission.” In other words, schools that refuse to implement a policy such as P-20 would be subject to action by the RMS. There is another office higher up the administrative food chain, the Office of Innovation and Improvement,that, among other things, handles better access to mental health treatment for veterans and their families, specifically mentioned in Obama’s executive order 13625, for suicide prevention and substance abuse. They, in turn, oversee another office that is instrumental in “innovation in television learning”. While this office is making sure Kermit remains relevant, it’s also staying on top of drug addicted veterans. Why is this a matter for the Department of Ed? With 5000 employees, you have to ask yourself if this department is even necessary.

Should we do away with the Department altogether as some conservatives have suggested? The

Department has been a total disaster and a thorn in the side of Republicans since its inception. Federal funding only accounts for about 10% of a state’s education budget, the remainder coming from state and local taxes. If this Department was eliminated, the supporting architecture of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that President Bush resigned would remain intact, including the ability to fund all the sacred cows of Title I spending (at $14 billion a year) and the language that guarantees equal educational opportunities and the monies saved in administrative costs and payroll could be rolled over into the states’ budgets. While the Department of Ed oversees Pell grants and the like, these monies could be returned to the states, who know better how to distribute funding ,as well. In all truthfulness, this department and the accompanying cabinet position has done nothing to justify its existence. The administrative affairs and political policies it implements does absolutely zero to add to the quality of a student’s educational success. Title I funding target underprivileged and under served districts, but this funding does more for the numbers of union voters than it actually does for the students.

Reagan tried to do away with the department, but learned that federal agencies don’t just die. There’s too much red tape, too much bureaucracy, too many lobbyists involved, tightly rolled up in neat little ball with Benjamin Franklin’s picture everywhere. There is no definitive solution. Should the department be left out in the cold to die? Probably. But, there exists every chance that even then it will be resurrected like Truman’s War Department, split again into two or more federal agencies and create just another black hole for taxpayer money to disappear in. The secret lies in returning the issue of education completely to parents and states with more educational options than our standard K through 12 fair. Doing this would not only assure more control of curriculum content and funding distribution, but perhaps starve the beast into extinction. However, until the decision is made to be fully responsible for our children’s education, when and what they are learning, the Frankenstein that is the Department of Ed will continue to grow.

 

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