Thank you very much for the response. I see your assertion clearly.
However, as I see you are somewhat of a constitutionalist, I wonder what place the “necessary and proper clause”, which leaves the door open for a major expansion of Congress’ legislative power, and the “take care clause”, which allows the president to undertake whatever action national policy may require that are not expressly forbidden by the Constitution or public law, fit into your assertion. Based on these portions of the Constitution there is provision for both the Dept. of Education and the National Endowment of the Arts.
I will admit I am quite sympathetic to your concerns of money-sucking government bureaucracy, but I will argue very seriously that these organization’s abolishment is unwarranted. If you allow me to say so, I think streamlining and “cutting-the-fat” would be a proposal where we share more common ground.
I do not wish to appear as though I’m rebutting your entire assertion because we are both sympathetic to a few things here, like limited bureaucracy for instance, but although we may see the National Endowment of the Arts differently I believe it is an important perpetuator of America’s cultural development. I find this to be a hallmark of any civilized nation. As for the Department of Education, I think it is a crucial facilitator in America’s project to make sure all children are able to get the quality education that is their right.
Again, thank you for your generous response to my previous comment.
First – I would like to look at the clauses referenced:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Section. 3.He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
It appears to me that these articles of the Constitution are tightly reigned in and would prohibit the Federal Government from establishing authority over Education or the Arts. It should also be noted that there is nothing in the US Constitution to prohibit the States from doing these things. Take for example the Arts. Several years ago, the City of Raleigh commissioned the “Time and Light Tower“. The project was universally panned when it was finished. People thought it was an eyesore – an eyesore that reflected the sun into their eyes during the rush hour commute. The public outrage over spending $50,000.00 of taxpayer money on something that so few people saw any aesthetic benefit from caused the city government to more carefully plan any future art projects so that they would be more beneficial to the public at large. Because it was done at the city level, the people in charge of spending the public funds had to face the criticism from their constituents every day for a long long time – something that federal officials seldom have to do. Especially in conjunction with the arts. If the National Endowment for the Arts spends its money poorly, you have to have an act of congress to fix things, which is not necessarily easy to come by.
Likewise, the same is with the Department of Education. A federal department will never be responsive to the needs of children. It is merely a method by which conformity can be impressed upon the nation (or worse in the wrong hands – many totalitarian regimes are fine examples). Schools should be managed at the local level, parents should be involved in the education of their children, and most importantly, parents should be in control of what their children are learning. The more diversified the schools are, the more opportunity you have to try new ideas – and some will work, and some won’t, but the ones that do work will spread.
Also, keep in mind that a right to learn does not necessitate a Department of Education and federal funding for schools any more than a right to Free Speech obliges the Federal Government to buy you airtime on CBS. Having huge amounts of resources does not necessarily mean that you will have the best education – take for example Frederick Douglass who learned to read even though it was against the law for anybody to teach him.