Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recommended Wednesday that the Department of Education (ED) be shut down after accepting the Bradley Prize, an award granted by the Bradley Foundation to those who advance American exceptionalism.
Drawing from her four years as Education Secretary, DeVos suggested during the Bradley Prizes that the ED be dismantled because it is a “political arm of the teachers unions.” The ED is pumping politics into the classroom as it controls every aspect of education throughout the country, from kindergarten to post-secondary education, DeVos said during a roundtable discussion.
“I’m suggesting shutting it down,” DeVos said. “There is no good reason for the U.S. Department of Education to exist, but when you consider the fact that it was not founded until 1979, as a pay-off to the teachers unions, and essentially functions as a political arm of the teachers unions and all of their allies today, it’s kind of like the bit in the horse’s mouth. It’s a small thing on the entire beast, but it totally controls the rest of education across the country.”
The Biden administration’s 2024 fiscal year budget, totaling $6.8 trillion, includes $100 million to the ED to help increase “racial and socioeconomic diversity” among the nation’s K-12 classrooms. In total, the budget requests $90 billion be allotted to the ED, some of which would be used to address “racial isolation and concentrated poverty” within K-12 schools.
In 2022, the ED gave $25 million in grants to universities to help them hire and train a “diverse educator workforce.” The universities that received the grants worked with Teacher Quality Partnership, an organization that trains higher education faculty, to “recruit highly qualified individuals, including individuals of color.”
“During the Obama administration, the tendency to try to dictate and control the entire educational spectrum from kindergarten through post-secondary education has really come out of an agency that is so agenda-driven and we’re seeing it manifest in most local school buildings,” DeVos said.
In June, the ED proposed revisions to Title IX, a landmark civil rights law intended to curb sex-based discrimination in federally funded education, expanding its reach to protect “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” The ED proposedadditional changes to Title IX on April 6 that would bar public K-12 schools and colleges from adopting a “one-size-fits-all-policy” that keeps students from joining sports teams on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex.
The ED oversees and investigates civil rights complaints that allege discrimination in the nation’s schools; in 2022, the ED saw a record number of complaints over race, sex and disabilities.
While Education Secretary, DeVos shrank the size of the ED and reduced the department’s federal spending, according to NPR. DeVos has been outspoken about her support for school choice initiatives, pushing Congress to give public schools more money to cover transportation and tutoring services.
DeVos was granted the Bradley Prize on Wednesday because she shares similar priorities, including parental rights, with the Bradley Foundation, Rick Graber, president of the Bradley Foundation, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“It’s a battle of ideas,” Graber told the DCNF. “Particularly on the education front, you can see progress right now. We have to continue that progress. Fight for the kids, fight for families. That’s what can make a difference.”
If shut down, there are other departments of government that could handle the laws, such as Title IX and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enforced through the ED, DeVos said.
“I think there are a lot of good ways we can wind it down and phase it out and continue to make sure that the two laws that are a part of the education department are continued to be followed,” DeVos said. “Through the Justice Department [to oversee] the civil rights laws, and HHS [United States Department of Health and Human Services], [would handle] the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”
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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation