Education: The Agency That Won't Go Away

Less federal role in schools is more, under Secretary Bell

In 1976 Candidate Jimmy Carter vowed to consolidate federal educational bureaucracies into one Cabinet-level Department of Education. Three years later, with Congress's help, he did. In 1980 Candidate Reagan promised to abolish Carter's creation. But nearly two years later, stymied by congressional opposition, he hasn't. In fact, the Department of Education (ED), with a $14 billion annual budget, 5,000 employees and an articulate Cabinet Secretary, Terrel Bell, is as controversial and potent a force in American education as it has ever been, operating...

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