Education Policy And The Third Presidential Debate

I was going to write up something defending school choice from the attacks leveled against it by Barack Obama last night, but I see that Andrew Coulson and Neal McCluskey have dealt with school choice and education policy issues at length in posts today. So I am glad to refer you to them.

As both Coulson and McCluskey note, while school choice is excellent and laudable, vouchers from the federal government are not the best vehicle for school choice. Public education tax credits are a potential alternative vehicle. An even better one would be to get the federal government out of the education business altogether and return authority to state and local governments–many of which are dying to carry out school choice policies on their own and would love to have the power and money to do it. According to Wikipedia, the Department of Education only began to operate on May 4, 1980. This means that somehow, the United States was able to 203 years and 10 months since its founding without a federal Cabinet agency that dictated education policy from Washington.

In those 203 years and 10 months without an Education Department, the world did not come to an end. Surely, it would not come to an end if the Department went gently into that good night. Indeed, given the sorry state of public education in this country and the fact that we don’t get any bang for our buck despite the fact that “the U.S. spends more per capita than any other country on education,” one might be forgiven–and might be right!–for thinking that getting rid of the Department might be one of the best things to happen to American education.

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