It is not uncommon to hear modern conservatives call for the elimination of the federal Department of Education. They view it as something between a waste of taxpayer money and in infringement upon states and/or local populations who they feel should have the sole powers to determine public education policy at the state and/or local levels. To be fair, there is a certain logic to this, but it is fatally flawed. Yes, in strict dollars and cents terms, it would be a relief on taxpayers to remove a layer of governance from public education in America. It would also theoretically give "power to the people" to decide at a more local level what elements of local or regional political and religious attitudes to incorporate into school curricula. This, of course, would result in a system in which children in one school district might have the scientific method drilled into their heads while other children with whom they will eventually compete for jobs might learn the names of the dinosaurs that Adam and Eve rode around the Garden of Eden; some would be prepared for the 21st Century, others would be ready for the 1st Century.
But whatever one's take on the necessity of a national department to oversee education in America, most people understand the basic fundamental need for public education. Naturally, some teabaggers seem to have a problem with this. Thus, I present David Harmer (yes, that's his last name), Teapublican candidate for California's 11th Congressional District seat. In keeping with teabaggers' desire to undo the 20th Century, Harmer would, given the opportunity, revert to, "the way things worked through the first century of American nationhood." He articulated his desire to eliminate public schools, which he views as an inherently socialist marriage of school and state, in an opinion piece that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2000 (SFGate Article Collection):
"To attain quantum leaps in educational quality and opportunity, however, we need to separate school and state entirely. Government should exit the business of running and funding schools. This is no utopian ideal; it's the way things worked through the first century of American nationhood, when literacy levels among all classes, at least outside the South, matched or exceeded those prevailing now, and when public discourse and even tabloid content was pitched at what today would be considered a college-level audience."
Oddly, Harmer provided no evidence to support his claim that literacy levels matched or exceeded modern ones. Perhaps he simply believes that to have been the case.
School for kids who were smart enough to pick parents who can afford it. Nothing for kids who apparently don't deserve education. But, hey, if the pro-wealthy Republicans take over Congress again maybe they can open the floodgates further and ship even more American jobs overseas. Then there will be no need to educate our children. Think of the savings to the taxpayers...
Hey, Harmer, leave those kids alone!