Ron Paul recently announced a budget reduction plan (Restore America Now) that would include the elimination of the Department of Education, saving taxpayers an estimated $77.8 billion in Federal spending. The idea of eliminating the Department of Education sounds a little radical, but when I did some research online, I found some pretty convincing arguments in favor of it's demise.
1. Failure to meet it's mission - Simply put, the Department of Education has failed it's mission. It was put in place to improve education, but there isn't any evidence that shows any improvement. In fact it's quite the opposite. I don't think many people would argue with this fact, but if you wish find me a study that proves otherwise.
2. Spending on the DofE has increased about 500%. When the Federal Government formed the department, supporters promised that the budget would be small and stay small. That certainly didn't happen. When the agency was formed in 1979, the annual budget was $14.5 billion. It is now $77.8 billion. Do the math. Since the department was formed per pupil spending has increased from about $3,000 to almost $5,600 (adjusted for inflation).
3. Unconstitutional - The 10th amendment of the Constitution says, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The Department of Education has put numerous rules and regulations in place regarding education, instead of leaving it up to the states 10th amendment dictates.
4. Probability of failure - If all 50 states had competing programs of education, the possibility of some, or most of the programs being successful would go up substantially. Sure, some states probably wouldn't be as successful as others, but it would be better than having one nationwide plan that doesn't work. Logically, how can a bunch of bureaucrats create a educational program that meets the unique needs of millions of children in 50 unique states?
5. Cookie-cutter approach - An improvement in education needs to start at the micro-level before any improvement can be seen on the macro-level. The most successful education happens when children learn to love learning. Very few children will love learning if they are pushed through a cookie-cutter curriculum that stifles creativity and imagination. In a society with problems of ever increasing magnitude, what we need are people with imaginations - people who think different. It may just be me, but using a standard curriculum for all students doesn't seem to be the answer.