MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The White House is considering a massive reorganization of the federal authorities with a particular awareness of agencies that cope with food, social offerings, and training. The plan changed into introduced on Thursday. And one component that stood out to us was the notion to merge the Department of Education with the Labor Department to attention on staff readiness.
Now President Trump isn’t the primary Republican to hope to abolish the Department of Education, just the cutting-edge. We desired to recognize extra approximately the records, so we referred to as Alyson Klein of Education Week, and she commenced by way of pointing out that among the Education Department’s packages predate its introduction by means of President Carter in 1980.
ALYSON KLEIN: Many of them had been started in 1965 with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which changed into a part of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society application. And that really focused the federal role on the poorest youngsters, making sure negative children were given their honest percentage of sources. And then in the mid-’70s, Congress also surpassed rules to assist students in unique education. And they passed legislation for higher education, also before the department become created. So essentially, what President Carter did became simply increase these programs to the Cabinet stage and truly simply give them an same seat at the table with such things as country and protection.
MARTIN: So you recognize, as soon because the branch turned into created as a standalone, Ronald Reagan, who changed into walking for president, began to criticize it. What changed into his grievance?
KLEIN: Well, he saw it as basically a giveaway to the countrywide teachers’ unions. And he also noticed it just sort of as a large expansion of the federal role in training, which he felt like in reality ought to be at the kingdom level.
MARTIN: But he didn’t abolish it. Why now not?
KLEIN: Well, there simply wasn’t assist in Congress for disposing of the corporation. He was capable of reducing it down. He did cut its finances quite a piece. But then in 1983, the Reagan management released a file referred to as “A Nation At Risk,” which referred to as into question whether or not or not American faculties were making ready students for the workforce as well as our overseas competition, which continues to be a difficulty we pay attention approximately nowadays. So that got here out in 1983, and then that kind of quelled all of this communicate, for at the least a while, about eliminating the Department of Education.
MARTIN: A variety of Republicans have hostile the department over time. I suggest, people would possibly keep in mind that Rick Perry, who’s now the strength secretary, referred to as for casting off the branch when he became going for walks in the Republican presidential primaries. The Republican Party Platform, which no one reads, but although has known as for it to be abolished at various factors through the years. You understand, why is that?
KLEIN: I could say it’s a philosophical argument. It’s the concept – Republicans might say the idea of having this kind of federal paperwork concerned in something that they definitely sense like is a state-degree problem is just now not an excellent aspect. Newt Gingrich, while he changed into the speaker of the House, one among his proposals was removing the Department of Education. And he said that we did not – he didn’t think we wanted a federal department of homework checkers.
MARTIN: But all Republicans don’t feel that manner because human beings will keep in mind, of the path, that George W. Bush gave the department a massive role in his No Child Left Behind initiative, which becomes, like, a signature domestic coverage initiative of his. And what changed into the impact on the Department of No Child Left Behind?
KLEIN: Sure. So No Child Left Behind surely grew the federal role even greater than we had seen earlier than in K-12 education as it required, for the primary time, states to test college students in grades 3 thru 8 and once in a high faculty. And that they had to break out the consequences of those checks to show how English language freshmen and students in special training and students of color and terrible children had been doing relative to their peers. So it turned into seen as kind of a civil rights law. And that hasn’t gone away. Even under President Trump, the one’s assessments are nevertheless in location.
MARTIN: So what can you tell us approximately the reaction up to now to this concept of merging the Education Department with the Labor Department and focusing it on the type of the staff and workforce readiness?
KLEIN: So in Congress, it is breaking down on partisan lines. Virginia Foxx, who is the chairwoman of the House Education Committee, put out a supportive declaration. So we’re going to see if she moves forward in this. But Democrats have been certainly short to condemn this inspiration, and lots of educators trust them, and they are very worried that having the department just focus on workforce readiness would dismiss a number of the opposite matters that the Education Department does, like looking out for college students’.
MARTIN: That is reporter Alyson Klein. She is an assistant editor at Education Week, and she or he turned into here with us in our studios in Washington, D.C.
Thank you a lot.