GOP Considers Eliminating Education Department

( – Several GOP presidential candidates mentioned their desire to eliminate the Department of Education during the GOP primary debate. Vivek Ramaswamy suggested the DOE was the “head of the snake,” and offered to put its nearly $80 billion in funding back into the hands of parents and American taxpayers.

The DOE should be “shut down,” according to former VP Mike Pence, who was also on the debate stage. It’s been a conservative talking point for decades. It has approximately 4,400 employees and a budget in the billions. If the recent debate around wokeness in education is any indication, it hasn’t been helping to improve the lives of American students – quite the opposite.

Getting rid of it will take an act of Congress, so merely having a president want to eliminate it will not be enough. Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Jonathan Butcher believes that it would require the support of a presidential administration as the Department contributes a seat to the president’s cabinet.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) sponsored legislation to that effect in 2021 and reintroduced it in 2023. He believes that “unelected bureaucrats” from D.C. have little awareness of what’s best for kids in Kentucky or Texas. He wants to see more action from local communities and state leaders on what is appropriate educational content for their kids. He also is a big believer in parents being able to dictate how and what their children should be taught and that schools need to be “held accountable” for what they teach.

If the DOE was eliminated, its responsibilities would be absorbed by other agencies. DOE currently processes the federal student loan program, another target for elimination by conservatives who want to lower the cost of education.

Butcher explained that the loans are really a responsibility of the Treasury, while the Office of Civil Rights at the DOE seems redundant outside of the Department of Justice.

Pence suggested that he’d advocate for school choice as president.

The Heritage Foundation has previously suggested in 2020 that shutting down the DOE would save taxpayers billions of dollars per year.

Folks who want to keep the DOE have claimed it’d be too hard to shut it down and reassign its tasks. Some have even called the idea of shutting it down “racist.”

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