12 Mar 1996 African-American Group Calls for Dismissing the Department of Education from the Public Payroll
The Department of Education is a massive runaway bureaucracy that should be abolished, says the African-American leadership group Project 21 following a thorough review of all federal education programs within the federal government.
“What the Committee has uncovered is a moral outrage and a national embarrassment. It will be impossible to defend the status quo of the current federal educational system. A major step in returning American education back to the people would be to abolish the Department of Education,” says Project 21 Chairman Edmund Peterson.
According to the House Economic and Educational Opportunities Committee, there are a total of 760, and maybe more, federal education programs in 39 separate agencies, departments, commissions and boards, with obligated funds totaling $120 billion. Only 6% of these programs’ primary function is to support teaching math, reading or science. Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Goodling (R-PA) has questioned how effective the Department of Education has been based on the following statistics:
- 66% of 17-year-olds cannot read at a proficient level, and reading scores have fallen since 1992.
- 17-year-olds scored 11 points worse on science tests in 1992 than in 1970.
- Total average SAT scores dropped from an average of 937 in 1972 to 902 in 1994.
“It is ridiculous that education in America has come to this,” says Project 21 member Deborah Wright, director of the school choice advocacy group Californians for Educational Freedom. “These findings are yet more evidence that flies in the face of those who say if we could just spend more money things would be better. If only these liberal advocates could see first hand how the money is wasted and how little it really makes a differences in the quality of education students are getting, I am sure they would start to see things differently. At a minimum, what we need to do is get our priorities straight and spend what we have more wisely.”
Project 21 member and social critic Dr. James Robinson adds, “The bottom line is that the education system has strayed from teaching the basics of reading, writing and math. What we practice today is student enrichment instead of education. Too often, our children are given activities to do which… have no educational value. Based on this, it is little wonder why American children are consistently beaten in tests by students from other countries, including some from the developing nations. I am afraid our international competitiveness is being eroded.”
Project 21 member Reverend Dwight Williams, Pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church in Stockton, California says, “These findings reinforce the necessity to eliminate the role of the federal government in education and experiment with local control — which is in touch with the real world, unlike the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Furthermore, we need to ask: who benefits from the current educational structure? As the committee review has unveiled, the biggest benefactors of the system are the bureaucrats.”
Project 21 is an African-American leadership group dedicated to espousing conservative viewpoints often rejected by the nation’s civil rights leadership. For an interview, contact Michael Session or Arturo Silva.