President Trump Issues Order to Rein in Department of Education

April 27, 2017

by Emmett McGroarty


This piece was co-authored by Jane Robbins, an attorney and senior fellow at the American Principles Project.

On Wednesday President Trump issued an executive order directing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to determine which regulations and guidance documents issued by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) have unlawfully overreached on education policy to the detriment of state and local control. According to a senior USED official, Rob Goad, the order “puts an end to this overreach, ensuring that states and localities are free to make educational decisions as required by” three federal statutes that prohibit federal “direction, supervision, or control” over various aspects of education policy. In compliance with the order, a task force led by USED senior adviser Robert Eitel will “manage this process . . . and work with the public to help determine which regulations are inconsistent with federal law.”

This is a good first step. In fact, if read in the light most favorable to the administration, this executive order is a positive development. It shows that President Trump is serious about his campaign promises to restore local control in education and eliminate the federal pressures to keep the Common Core national standards in place. It is also a sign that he is fundamentally different from past politicians who somehow rationalized breaking their promises. And it is a sign that he understands the people want great things from him.

But questions arise on a close reading of the order. Its stated purposes are “to restore the proper division of power under the Constitution between the Federal Government and the States” and “to further the goals of, and to ensure strict compliance with, statutes that prohibit Federal interference with State and local control over education.” Once the review has been completed, will the timid, establishment forces in the administration and in Congress claim, “Mission Accomplished”?

Will they argue that President Lyndon Johnson’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as reauthorized by President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, as reauthorized by President Obama’s Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, establishes the proper division of power between the federal government and the states?

Will they argue, as President Obama did, that true state and local control of education is already a reality in America?

Will they argue that no more legislation is needed?

Will they argue that the federal role defined by the Johnson-Bush-Obama legislation does not inflict severe damage on the constitutional structure and on parents and their children?

Presidents with great visions invariably have some senior staffers who are timid. That’s to be expected. Likewise, it is to be expected that they will join forces with the timid members of Congress to tell the President that he won’t be able to get great bills passed. Bless them. They can’t help themselves. But they must not be allowed to turn this into the GOP version of the Carter presidency.

In this regard, it must be mentioned that DeVos herself was a fan of Common Core until she wasn’t, and that she has populated USED with like-minded bureaucrats who have backgrounds with the Jeb Bush wing of education philosophy — pro-Common Core, pro-education-as-workforce-development, and pro-intrusive data-collection. Trump cannot let these underlings hijack his agenda.

As we told Breitbart, “Great presidents have a great vision and are able to bring it into reality. That invariably means overcoming the timid in their own administration and in Congress. That’s the hurdle President Trump faces.”

Stay strong, Mr. President.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore


Emmett McGroarty is the director of APP Education.

Archive: Emmett McGroarty

7 comments on “President Trump Issues Order to Rein in Department of Education”

  • Hon. Kerry Bentivolio says:

    True local control of education. Freedom of choice in where and how our children are taught. NO government monopoly on education!

  • Suzanne Hudgens says:

    When will we wake up!! Yes, Common Core is terrible…yes, the history and math our children are learning are terrible and untrue. But when are we going to realize that since 1963 when our Supreme Court voted to remove God and Christian values from our schools, our nation changed from a God-fearing nation to one I can’t recognize today. Until we restore God and Christian values back to our schools we can expect no better for them or our nation. We will continue to fall just as Rome fell. And, oh yes, we were founded on Christian principles as taught in the Bible!!! So forget that saying that we were not founded as a Christian nation. That’s why we received God’s great blessings for 200 years. Now we are receiving His wrath. So sad….
    Suzanne Hudgens

  • Lori Hines says:

    We are doomed. I just had to FIGHT to get classical literature added to a summer reading list. Go read “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by B. Saenza. After you take the fork out of your eye, because that is less painful than reading this so called piece of literature, that was put on the summer preAP reading list, you will see that what education is up against is so vast and horrible that we are DOOOOOOOMED. This book is not anyway associated with THE Aristotle or THE Dante.

  • Karen Bracken says:

    Sorry Emmitt but If the President were serious or if he even had a clue about what is taking place in eduction he first an foremost would never have nominated Betsy DeVos to the position of Secretary of Education. Secondly, he would have given DeVos 300 days to develop a plan to phase out the US Dept. of Education (not study its overreach) and return ALL education policies to the states. That includes student loans. That includes ending data sharing beyond the school district/state level. That includes removing all education policy from all federal agencies outside the dept. of Ed. IE HHS, Dept. of Labor, Dept. of Defense and any other that touches education. Then we repeal ESSA. As long as ESSA is law all this exercise will be is a deceptive smoke and mirror lie. It is organizations like APP that need to stand up and tell it like it is. We are going to waste ANOTHER year playing games?? I could tell President Trump in 300 minutes about the overreach of federal government. As a matter of fact I could tell him in 300 seconds and I know you could too. It would not take 300 days to show him how ESSA and the federal government today have no business in education at all. NADDA. I am tired of beating around the bush and playing political nice nice. Our kids do not have any more time. They do not have 10 more years. They have literally months at this point. DeVos is a clone to Jeb Bush. DeVos and Trump love national standards and they love ESSA. 300 days??? Really??? This is NOT a good first step!! DeVos has already said that states have gotten rid of Common Core and the public sits there like a bump on a log. Of course the states got rid of Common Core. Common Core is a name. All the states did was get rid of the name but the national standards remained. But not one challenge to her statement. We need to stop talking about Common Core because they are using deceptive semantics and most people cannot see through it. I am sick over this charade. Another insult to our intelligence. CHOICE is not the answer because most of these conservative groups supporting choice do not understand the choice they think they will get is not the choice they will end up getting. They will get choice of location but not choice in what their children are taught (trained). Vouchers/ESAs will take care of that yet we have conservatives at every level of government and organizations like Heritage and Heatland pushing it. We all know Heritage is driving the bus right now with Trump. I wonder if Trump knows the founder of Heritage drafted NAFTA. Sorry but I am tired of all the smoke and mirrors. We must lay our cards on the table in front of Trump and let him know the truth. I believe he is a good man. I believe he wants to do the right thing but I also believe he is being deceived by the very culprits that have worked for decades to destroy education. He needs to reach out to us not Bill Gates, Betsy DeVos, Ivanka or Jeb Bush for the truth.

  • Victoria M. Young says:

    “The federal role defined by the Johnson-Bush-Obama legislation” ? Whoa right there. You forgot a key player here — Bill Clinton.

    It was Clinton legislation that put federal funding towards the push for charter schools. Now we have federally funded charter start-ups at the discretion of the Secretary of Education without local decision-making. In other words, like it or not (need it or not) you local yokels the feds can sponsor schools in your district.

    The country needs to hear what the Trump administration has to say about that overreach.

    • Lauri giangrosso says:

      I’m against common curriculum it was the stupidest thing ever!!
      I’m so thankful to have an opportunity as American to fourth generation
      To have my right to say so!
      Please remove common core!
      To the ones who’s voice is heard.
      May our Education system be as it had been in days of our best!

      Freedom as American to choose n see students rise above their limitations!
      Thank you

      I have been a voter since of age and our household as well.
      Ty

    • Karen Bracken says:

      Common Core is not curriculum. It is a set of national standards. And YES. Daddy George Bush and Bill Clinton are the culprits along with Lamar Alexander and several others. Bill put the legislation in motion with the help of Marc Tucker (he wrote the legislation) but it was George Bush in 1989 at the National Governors Association meeting (just a coincidence I am sure but Bill Clinton was the NGA President when this meeting was conducted) in which Bush instructed the members to start doing away with local control and setting up national standards.

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