From a Hamilton Jordan memo to President Jimmie Carter on creating the Department of Education:
The following are the major political considerations that you should be aware of in making this decision:
- The teachers organizations—particularly the National Education Association—are the fastest growing, most active, and by many standards the most effective political organizations in this country. With a membership that exceeds two million, they comprise one of the most committed and articulate political constituencies in our country.
- These groups—particularly the NEA—have been our political friends in the Presidential campaign and our allies on many crucial legislative battles. For the first time in its 114 year history, the NEA endorsed a Presidential candidate in the 1976 general election. . . .
I would strongly recommend that you support the creation of a separate Department of Education for the following reasons:
*Your unequivocal promise in the campaign to do so
*The teachers of this country have been our political friends in the past and can be our valuable political allies in the future
*The arguments for the creation of a separate department are at least as convincing as the arguments are against it
If you make the decision not to create the separate department, I would strongly recommend that we not pursue some organizational middle ground that would allow us to claim that we have met our campaign promises to the teachers. We promised a separate department, and I think that it would be an insult to our teacher friends to argue that some internal reorganization is a satisfactory substitute for the separate department they were promised.
DoE was established in the fall of 1979. It was created for purely political reasons having nothing to do with educating our children. It’s been nothing but a political organ for teachers unions and the Politically Correct Class since.
Or, maybe more properly, a political cabinet. Idealistic, maybe, but that wasn’t the purpose of Executive Branch cabinets. Get rid of the Department of Education. And, as Hamilton Jordan correctly recommended, don’t do half measures. Don’t replace the Department with anything, and return the current employees—every single one of them—to the private sector, don’t reassign them within the Federal government.