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  • Education and the Workforce Committee Moves to Streamline Department of Education

    Over the past few months, the House Education and the Workforce Committee has been conducting a series of hearings to examine the impact of the federal role in education on local schools. Presentations by school superintendents, education policy experts, and charter school operators painted a picture of the burden of federal involvement and regulation—resulting from approximately 150 programs operated by the Department of Education.

    Chairman John Kline (R–MN) noted recently that:

    Virtually every program has its own application process, separate or duplicative reporting requirements, and different eligibility criteria. It’s a complicated system levied on our schools, and dedicating the time and resources necessary to navigate this bureaucratic maze inevitably means time and resources spent outside the classroom.

    A recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that billions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted on redundant programs. In fact, the report found 82 redundant teacher quality programs.

    Schools must spend tremendous amounts of time and resources complying with the paperwork associated with these duplicative federal programs. According to Representative Duncan Hunter (R–CA), chairman of the Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee:

    Currently, the paperwork burden imposed by the Department of Education is larger than that of the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Justice. From 2002 to 2009, the Department of Education’s paperwork burden increased by an estimated 65 percent—an astounding number that continues to grow.

    Today, Hunter introduced a measure to curtail the proliferation of federal education programs and introduced what will be the first in a series of education reform bills being crafted by the House Education and the Workforce Committee. The committee stated that “Rep. Hunter’s legislation, the Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act (H.R. 1891), would begin the process of weeding out inefficient and unnecessary K–12 education programs.” Hunter stated:

    It’s time to trim the fat. Today I will introduce legislation that will eliminate—not consolidate, not defund, but eliminate43 wasteful K–12 education programs. At a time when approximately one-third of American fourth graders can’t read, we must concentrate on education initiatives that have a track record of putting the needs of students first.”

    Chairman Kline, a supporter of Hunter’s proposal, said today:

    Clearly, the problem isn’t how much money we spend on education, but how we’re spending it—and right now, far too many taxpayer dollars are dedicated to ineffective, redundant K–12 programs. Rep. Hunter’s legislation will reduce the federal role in education and help set the stage for increased flexibility on the state and local level.

    Representative Hunter, Chairman Kline, and conservatives in Congress are trying to reduce the federal footprint that has become far too heavy on local schools. There are more than 80 programs operated under No Child Left Behind—many duplicative, many ineffective. Hunter’s proposal would eliminate 43 wasteful programs and commence the process of streamlining the Department of Education.

    In all, there are more than 150 education programs operated by the Department of Education. To begin restoring fiscal sanity to the department, many programs should be eliminated, and others should be consolidated. This would better target resources to the schools and students who are most in need and would start devolving dollars and decision making to state and local leaders.

    The federal burden on school leaders as a result of the numerous programs has been a distraction for local school leaders, who must worry about compliance with regulations rather than educating children. The programs have also failed to improve educational outcomes for nearly a half-century. The Education and Workforce Committee is taking a long-overdue and important step toward ensuring that taxpayer dollars are wisely used and education is serving its most important constituencies—students, parents, and taxpayers—not bureaucrats.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Education and the Workforce Committee Moves to Streamline Department of Education

    1. Erin Shumaker, Lakew says:

      Redundant programs? Why doesn't that surprise me? But kudos to those who care enough to know about our children to actually do things for them that work!

    2. HawkWatcher says:

      Streamline the DOE?

      For the life of me, I cannot find the words in our Constitution that authorize any federal involvement in educating my children. I cannot find any evidence that the DOE has done one single thing that can't be done at local levels, for much less money, to help educate my kids. If anyone can show otherwise, let them present their facts, but I won't hold my breath waiting.

      Streamlining a proven failure is not the answer, eliminating the DOE completely is the solution. No student will be shown to suffer, and hundreds of billions of misdirected taxpayer dollars can instead go to paying down our crushing national debt. Will current Washingtonites ever recognize their own shortcomings, drop the streamlining meme, and dismantle a program or department?

      We cannot progress until we strip the feds of their many unlawful and expensive incursions into our lives. By electing more Americans who will actually do the required hacking, we can reclaim our lost liberty and move forward as States united instead of States dictated to.

    3. Charles, Benson, Ari says:

      Not a surprise — Big government has been destroying the country since Carter. The thing in the White House right now is the worst of them all.

    4. Patrick M, Ohio says:

      Streamline a department who's only reason for existence is to create burdens and regulation on what should be handled at the local, and at worst, state, level?

      This is one of the first departments that needs a wholesale dismantling, moving any financial supports under other departments until people and schools can be weaned off of them. At most, the remnants of this department should consist of maybe a couple dozen people with no power to do anything. Then we can actually try fixing education rather than propping up a "system" that serves no purpose except to homogenize and crank out drones (and fails in the attempt).

    5. Linda - Oregon says:

      Hawkwatcher – Excellent statements. Thank you.

      I do see the need as a united nation, however, to provide a foundation of standards for competency across the States. We must know and show our ranking and competitiveness among the nations, and as we currently fall so short, devise and implement higher standards. Leave the individual States to draw from this.

      As a nation, we need our unity to come from somewhere. The Federal government provides this. Decision can be made to provide this information through the private sector, eliminate Federal heavy handed regulations, and to empower States and local communities to excel as they desire. Thus, the People of the United States have a realistic view of their standing, the freedom to pursue higher standards, and the reduced cost associated with privatization. When the People are empowered to decide their own future, higher standards, and the old American Spirit thrives. That is what created our great Nation. We must have leadership for that individual passion to become the unifying strength of a powerful Nation.

    6. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Streamline for now – in preperation of elimination – OK – I'll buy that.

      Streamline so that under Obama II they can build up again – NO!

      Streamlining can cost taxpayer significantly as we now need committiees that will meet for years to discuss how to streamline. By then the budget increases and staff increases will eventually be decreased back to a net difference of zero!

      Just get rid of it!

    7. Ken LeBert, La Grang says:

      I don't know if you guys just don't see the problem, or just won't talk about it. Immigration, illegal AND legal, is destroying this country.

      It's affect on our education system, alone, is devastating. Here in Texas, a local teacher ( hundreds of miles from the border ) made the comment that it isn't unusual for her to have 4 or 5 " assistants" meandering around her classroom, translating her lesson plan into Spanish for the illegal aliens and anchor babies.

      ( Who comprise over half of her students.) This allows her to actually teach, about 10 minutes of every hour. On a good day. She can't discipline these children, isn't allowed to fail them, and has to be culturally sensitive to their needs.

      Then, she is scolded for her inability to show more progress. Most of them get free lunches, special classes, tutors, translators, etc., etc.. The few who don't drop out to join gangs, or, for the girls, to have babies at age 13 or 14, are given job preference over traditional American kids. Wow. Good plan.

      Some really, really short-sighted town in Nebraska recently BRAGGED that it's students spoke more than 50 languages other than English at home.

      And you guys can't get understand why we can't educate our kids ?? Let me S P E L L it out. We need to stop trying to educate the world's children, and pay

      attention to OUR kids.

      • Kristin Rede says:

        Yeah, Ken!
        As an educator, you've touched upon some of education's dirty little secrets. You also have no idea…unless maybe you've looked at this too, how special education laws have all but eliminated the possibility of classroom teachers actually teaching because of ridiculous accommodations that is a barrier to any student achievement. You would be appalled at the hoops I have to jump through to get a kid with accommodations to turn in an assignment. And the country then wonders why our kids aren't prepared for work….it's because our education system has castrated the idea of personal responsibility!

    8. Pingback: Morning Bell: Teaching Obama a Lesson on Education | The Foundry

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