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  • Writer's picturePeter Serefine

The Unconstitutional Impact of the US Department of Education: Detrimental Effects on Student Educat

Introduction:

The existence and operations of the United States Department of Education (DOEd) have been subject to scrutiny by those who believe in strict adherence to the Constitution. This article aims to present an argument, supported by quotations and citations, that the DOEd is unconstitutional and has negative impacts on the education of students across the nation.


Constitutional Concerns:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” - U.S. Constitution, Tenth Amendment

The Constitution does not grant the federal government explicit authority over education, indicating that this power should be left to the states or to the people themselves. As former Congressman Ron Paul asserted,

“The Constitution does not authorize the Department of Education” -Speech to Congress, 2001,

pointing to the absence of constitutional backing for federal control of education.


Inefficient Federal Bureaucracy:

The DOEd’s top-heavy bureaucracy has led to inefficiencies and a lack of flexibility in educational policy. According to the CATO Institute, since its establishment, the DOEd’s budget has steadily increased while educational outcomes have not shown significant improvement. This suggests that the department’s expansive reach has failed to yield commensurate benefits for students.


Negative Impact on Local Control:

The DOEd’s influence often undermines local control and innovation in education. As former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett stated,

“When you say you want local control, what you’re saying is you want parental control” - Interview with Reason, 2018

The centralization of power at the federal level diminishes the ability of parents, teachers, and local communities to tailor educational approaches to their specific needs and preferences.


Unnecessary Federal Overreach:

The DOEd’s encroachment on state and local authority has resulted in a one-size-fits-all approach to education, disregarding the diversity of needs and circumstances across the nation. This sentiment was expressed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who noted,

“The notion that a central bureaucracy can define and determine the learning needs of every student is at odds with individuality and self-governance” - Speech at Hillsdale College, 2017

Such a centralized approach hampers educational innovation and inhibits the ability to address unique challenges faced by different communities.


Declining Educational Outcomes:

Despite the DOEd’s extensive involvement in education, statistics show declining educational outcomes in various areas. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reveals stagnant or declining proficiency levels in reading and mathematics among American students. This raises questions about the effectiveness of federal intervention in improving educational outcomes.


Conclusion:

The US Department of Education’s existence and operations are not constitutional and have negative impacts on student education. By encroaching on local control, stifling innovation, and failing to produce desired educational outcomes, the DOEd undermines the principles of limited government and individual liberty. A reevaluation of the department’s role, with greater emphasis on state and local control, innovation, and parental involvement, can help restore educational decision-making to those closest to the students. It is time to reconsider the constitutional boundaries and ensure that education policy prioritizes the needs of students and empowers local communities to shape their own educational paths.


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