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Commentary & Opinion By Donna Westfall – May 30, 2024

Some time ago, I sent a letter to our Senator, Alex Padilla, requesting the Department of Education be abolished. This morning he sent an email response.

Dear Mrs. Westfall,

Thank you for writing to share your concerns regarding the Department of Education. I appreciate hearing from you. 

As you noted in your letter, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced S. 323, which would have terminated the Department of Education. I do not support this bill or any efforts to terminate the Department of Education. I believe that an investment in public education is an investment in the future of America. I will continue to support robust funding for the Department of Education to ensure our nation’s youth gain the educational tools to achieve their dreams as well as to ensure we have an educated workforce that keeps America competitive in the global economy. 

As someone whose life was transformed by education, I am strongly committed to ensuring that all students in California and the country receive a high-quality and equitable education. While we may disagree on this issue, I hope you will continue to contact me regarding issues of importance to you. 

Once again, thank you for writing. Should you have any other questions or comments, please call my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3553 or visit my website at


Alex Padilla
United States Senator

Why would I support abolishing the Dept of Ed? Simply, it’s not working. Not working well enough for me to be happy with the way my tax dollars are being spent on public education.

On February 12, 2021, Republican Senator Rand Paul (KY) introduced S 323. It died.

On April 30, 2021, Republican Senator Thom Tillis (NC) sent out a Press Release:

“…more than 30 members of the Senate Republican Conference sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona requesting the withdrawal of the Department’s “Proposed Priorities” on American history and civics education.

“This is a time to strengthen the teaching of civics and American history in our schools. Instead, your Proposed Priorities double down on divisive, radical, and historically-dubious buzzwords and propaganda,” wrote the Senators.

The Senators continued, “Families did not ask for this divisive nonsense. Voters did not vote for it. Americans never decided our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil. If your Administration had proposed actual legislation instead of trying to do this quietly through the Federal Register, that legislation would not pass Congress.”  

“Young Americans deserve a rigorous understanding of civics and American history. They need to understand both our successes and our failures. But acknowledging that America’s journey has been a work in progress throughout our history cannot mean ignoring the tremendous strides we have made together. Our nation’s youth do not need activist indoctrination that fixates solely on past flaws and splits our nation into divided camps. Taxpayer-supported programs should emphasize the shared civic virtues that bring us together, not push radical agendas that tear us apart.”

Fast forward to February 14, 2023. Republican Rep. Thomas Massie (KY) announces that he has reintroduced H.R. 899, a bill to abolish the federal Department of Education. The bill, which is one sentence long, states, “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2023.”

“Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development,” said Massie. “States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students. Schools should be accountable. Parents have the right to choose the most appropriate educational opportunity for their children, including home school, public school, or private school.”

The Department of Education began operating in 1980. On September 24, 1981, in his Address to the Nation on the Program for Economic Recovery, President Ronald Reagan said, “As a third step, we propose to dismantle two Cabinet Departments, Energy and Education. Both Secretaries are wholly in accord with this. Some of the activities in both of these departments will, of course, be continued either independently or in other areas of government. There’s only one way to shrink the size and cost of big government, and that is by eliminating agencies that are not needed and are getting in the way of a solution. Now, we don’t need an Energy Department to solve our basic energy problem. As long as we let the forces of the marketplace work without undue interference, the ingenuity of consumers, business, producers, and inventors will do that for us. Similarly, education is the principal responsibility of local school systems, teachers, parents, citizen boards, and State governments. By eliminating the Department of Education less than 2 years after it was created, we cannot only reduce the budget but ensure that local needs and preferences, rather than the wishes of Washington, determine the education of our children.”

I like that they are openly addressing shrinking big government. Those in our local City Council and Board of Supervisors could take a lesson from that as well as our Republican Central Committee.

The real issues are:

  • Access to quality education. Not enough quality teachers.
  • Indoctrination instead of education. Problems with the curriculum
  • Padilla’s continued robust financial support so kids get the education tools to achieve their dreams and that we have a workforce that keeps our nation competitive in a global market; I hardly think so. When our students can’t read and can’t write (I’m not just referring to cursive) I hardly think they can help our nation compete in a global work place.
  • Further Padilla’s commitment to ensuring that all students in California and the country receive a high-quality and equitable education is falling short of the goal.

As parents pull their students out of public education and either home school or send them to private or alternative schools, maybe someone in public education will pause long enough to ask, “Why”?

One thought on “Abolish the Department of Education?”
  1. Protective services can take your child away from you with out a warrant for Gender Transition, I also think the Teachers Union, teachers have to much power over parents, when will we all get along.

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