The Question is Not “Should Kevin Jennings Be Appointed?”

I guess I’ve been under a rock this week. Here it is Thursday and I’m just now finding out a fight has been going on all week over the appointment of Kevin Jennings to the US Department of Education. I didn’t know the Department of Education even had a Safe and Drug Free Office to which he has been appointed Assistant Deputy Secretary.

People are upset because Mr. Jennings is a homosexual and not only that but he founded the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, so he’s an activist. And 21 years ago when he was a high school teacher he gave some very bad counsel to a 15-year-old student who told him about a homosexual encounter he’d had. OK, so he’s all that and he said that to the student. I don’t think these things look great on a resume but arguing about who should fill his post is not what we ought to be discussing.

The real problem is that we have the US Department of Education in the first place. Jimmy Carter set it up in 1979 when he signed a bill that separated it from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. (Health and Human Services became the other new department.) Reagan tried to shut down the Dept. of Education in 1982 but the Democrats wouldn’t go for it.

The Republicans were right in 1996 when they stated in their party platform that “the Federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the market place” and called for the abolishment of the whole department. However, as it is with many things, the Republican history of dealing with this department is not consistent. After Reagan tried to shut it down, H. W. Bush wouldn’t touch it, and then along comes ol’ G. W. Bush and he expanded it, rather than close it like he said he would.  And in fact, we have George Bush to thank for the existence of this Office. It was part of the No Child Left Behind Act.

So what we have is an unconstitutional department that sucks up $62.6 billion in regular discretionary appropriations (FY 2009), and if that’s not enough they also got  another $96.8 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  And what do they do with all this money? OUR money? Well, Kevin Jennings is #31 on a list of 94 political appointees to senior staff positions. There are also 12 appointees who have to be confirmed by the Senate. I don’t know if this is the entire list of posts or not; these are the ones who have been appointed since January 2009. I wondered how many people work at this place and what do they do? Turns out there are about 5,000 employees and according to the U. S. Department of Education website, they operate “programs that touch on every area and level of education.”

My question is not about Kevin Jennings at all. It’s about how we can get rid of the whole Department of Education. We obviously can’t count on the Democrats OR the Republicans to do this. We need a president, along with senators and representatives, with libertarian ideals to run this country and get us back to following our Constitution.