The Locker Room

How to squander billions of dollars

Posted by John Hood at 11:20 AM

In my Daily Journal column today on the departure of several members of President Bush's Cabinet, I expressed the view that several of the jobs ought simply to be left vacant and that others, such as secretary of education, ought to be dramatically downsized and detached from a free-standing federal department.

Some might question whether the federal government should have any role at all in education. Iím not far from that position, at least in the long run, given the lack of constitutional mandate. In the short run, it might be valuable to retain certain research and accountability functions at the federal level to help drive market-based reforms and to administer programs authorized by Congress that will take a while to devolve or shut down.

Itís worth noting on this point that there is very little evidence to suggest that the federal governmentís involvement in K-12 education has had any substantial public benefits. A new Cato Institute study, reported on recently in the Heartland Instituteís School Reform News, offers a wealth of evidence for this view.

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