U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan on Tuesday accused her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, of slashing funding for public education in North Carolina and argued that he’d hurt education further if he wins her Senate seat in Washington.
Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, said in a primary debate on April 22 that he’d consider eliminating the U.S. Department of Education. His first priority as a U.S. senator, he said then, would be “clawing back” regulations and deciding whether the department “needs to exist in its current form.”
The Hagan campaign called that idea part of Tillis’ “destructive education agenda.” The federal education agency is responsible for, among other programs and policies, Pell grants for low-income college students and federal aid for low-income schools and disabled students. The department is expected to send $910 million to North Carolina for elementary and secondary education in 2015, according to data the agency posted online in July.
“Eliminating the Department of Education is a fringe, out of the mainstream idea that runs against our common sense North Carolina values,” Hagan said in news release. “It would put thousands of our students and teachers at risk at a time when they’ve already been asked to shoulder the burden of Speaker Tillis’ irresponsible education budget. After doing so much damage in Raleigh, promising to eliminate the Department of Education as his first action is just one more reason Speaker Tillis has the wrong priorities.”[…]
Let’s see how “vital” the US Department of Education truly is. It was founded in October 1979. An awful lot of people obtained high school and college diplomas prior to October 1979. (That’s one year before Ronald Reagan was elected president.) Many of America’s greatest minds and success stories moved through public education prior to the founding of this federal department. Does it really make all that much difference in the success of America’s students?
People have been promising to eliminate or seriously roll back the US Department of Education ever since its founding. It’s still HERE — and its budget has been growing by leaps and bounds. Why is it so hard to kill it off? It’s simple. This federal agency has its talons sunk into public education at every level — from special education funding, to teacher assistant salaries, to student loans for community college and university students. (Very similar to the tactics employed by dope dealers and pimps in maintaining their respective captive audiences.) Try to scale any of that back and you get panic from a lot of registered voters and attacks from the drive-bys and leftist politicians about killing public education and hurting people trying to improve their lives through education.
Once the government starts handing out “free money,” it is nearly impossible to stop it or take it back. Think about this as you listen to Republican politicians wax eloquently about ”fixing” rather than abolishing the ObamaCare nightmare.
Tillis deserves kudos for at least talking about weeding out the mess that is the federal department of education. Our nation made it just fine without it for 203 years.
But to make a true difference, it will require the kind of courage that we have yet to see from the speaker during his time on Jones Street.