The Department of Education must be destroyed.
This holdover from the Carter administration costs us $80 billion per year, for which we have received in return a centralized educational bureaucracy beholden to wildly leftist teachers’ unions and the proliferation of ignorance. Cut this monstrous budget in half, and federal spending on education is still not worth the cost. Why? Because the problem with having a Department of Education transcends questions of how tax dollars ought to be spent.
Set aside the Current Occupant’s temptation to “incentivize” behavior by withholding federal funds for state budgets, unless Common Core or No Child Left Behind or the Paleoconservative Plan for America be implemented. Forget for a moment about the insidious ways Title IX has been used to punish states for acts of “discrimination” that amount to the upholding of natural law, as was the case in North Carolina and the so-called Bathroom Bill. The Emerald City should not have any say in the education of children, period.
Power corrupts, of course, which is why conservative criticisms of leftist power structures tend to fall by the wayside whenever conservatives gain power. We are tempted to “use the power for good” whenever we hold it. We tend to ignore the Jason Voorhees Principle.
Inevitably, near the end of any given Friday the 13th, some intrepid, nubile twentysomething will deal a felling blow to the miraculously unstoppable homicidal maniac. A whack to the head with a shovel, a push and fall out of the second floor of the hay barn, and whew! Our night of terror is over!
“Finish him off!” yells everyone in the theater, but no—our survivors inexplicably refuse to take decisive action. Instead, they breathe sighs of relief and stand around congratulating themselves on gaining the upper hand, until . . . where’s Jason? Looks like he’s gone back into the woods to regroup and prepare for the sequel. In just a few years, he will be killing again.
Many conservatives were pleased after a busy Week 1 of the Trump administration, in which the new President checked off a list of campaign promises. The shrieks of the media, leftists, abortionmongers, McCain & Graham, and class-ditching snowflakes were signs that things in Washington were moving in the right direction for a change.
Hearings over Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education were particularly appalling, with the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken berating her for daring to be wealthy, and for having never attended public schools. Of course, we might point out, George Soros is wealthy, and Barack Obama never attended public schools. And of course, facts do not matter to politicians, who wish only to advance their own agendas. I’d say that Mrs. DeVos is especially qualified for this Cabinet post precisely because of all of the criticisms leveled by her unscrupulously partisan opponents.
Still, the Jason Voorhees Principle applies to the threat of Washington as a whole, and not just to liberals or leftists. Thus, I will speak this heresy: Not only are vouchers not a panacea, they are in the long run a weapon to be used against us. Admittedly, providing tax breaks or other financial incentives to the parents of America seems like a good idea, and those struggling to put bread on the table in today’s economy, and who despite their financial difficulties are willing to sacrifice in order to provide a good education for their children, are often disposed toward any kind of relief. They might even be grateful that their federal government has tossed them a sop, recognizing in some small way that their duty as parents, together with the authority that duty by definition bestows, actually exists.
We must not be deluded or seduced by money. Money buys power—in this case, the power to regulate. Any voucher program will require some sort of standard by which governmental entities, state and federal, may recognize the schools to which vouchers may be applied. Tyrone’s School of Gangsta Thuggery and Muhammad’s Academy of Halal Meats and Jihad will not be recognized as legitimate alternatives to Leviathan Public High School. Neither will your Christian school, once Democrats regain control of the executive and legislative branches. That is, unless your Christian school adapts to follow the revised guidelines of inclusivity, tolerance, and ignorance written by Elizabeth Warren and Stuart Smalley. Many a formerly Christian university (or hospital or social-service organization) has flipped and flopped, thanks to this bait-and-switch.
Will Democrats ever regain the aforementioned branches of government? Trump-friendly conservatives may dream that such a reversion is impossible, considering the potential for good-paying jobs, a booming economy, revitalized manufacturing, protection from jihadists, a big, beautiful wall, and fewer if any foreign blood-spilling adventures that the next four or eight years may hold. But consider the following. First, the media is throwing every possible damn and hell at Trump that it can conjure. (Yesterday, it was “holocaust denial.”) Second, many people who voted for Trump voted also for Barack Obama. Third, Trump’s own party cannot decide whether it has the courage to ignore the constant media barrage of insults and guilt by association. And meanwhile? Meanwhile, the same left-wing anticonservative social-justice propagandists are teaching America’s children, from pre-K to college, five days per week, drilling into them the same ideologies that drove thousands of snowflakes to weep at Hillary Clinton’s tragic loss and to dress up like vaginas and protest the new Hitler, following Trump’s inauguration. In less than four years’ time, more of them will be voting, and if nature and history are any guide, fewer of the generation that grew up with at least some traditional moral norms in place will be around to counter them.
Dissolving and eliminating the Department of Education will not solve America’s education problem, just as overturning Roe v. Wade will not eliminate abortion. But returning due authority to the states to direct and fund the education of children would allow conservative-leaning governments—closer and more directly answerable to the people—to break free of the strictures of leftism, and liberate traditional communities and parents from the tyranny of Washington over their God-given rights and responsibilities.
While Jason is down for the count, we must decapitate him and burn his body.
If that is Trump’s ultimate plan for Mrs. DeVos, more power to them. Conservatives should settle for nothing less.
Aaron D. Wolf (1973-2019) was Chronicles' executive editor. His writings have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. He was a frequent guest on Issues, Etc. (Lutheran Public Radio) and The Paul Youngblood Show (nta.fm), and has appeared on several other radio programs, including The Tom Clark Show (Wisconsin Public Radio) and Extension 720 With Milt Rosenberg (WGN).