Yesterday, Fox News’ Glenn Beck seemingly stumbled upon a Center for American Progress report from April that recommends programs that can be cut or reformed within the Department of Education in order to save taxpayers money and ensure that tax dollars are used in a way that can benefit the most students in the most efficient way possible. Considering that Beck fancies himself a crusader against wasteful government spending, you’d think this is the kind of effort he’d endorse.
But no. Instead, Beck went on a tirade, ludicrously claiming that CAP is advocating we “just get rid of American history, the Constitution, and education on finance”:
This is great. George Soros, his think tank that runs the entire country now, the Center for American Progress. They have something called Education Transformation: Doing What Works in Education Reform. We have to watch what we’re spending, I think we all agree on that right? We all have to look at what we’re spending. Here’s what’s in the report. Programs recommended for elimination. Small, niche programs, low-impact programs such as The Academies for American History and Civics, which provide workshops on American history. That must go.
And We the People, this little niche program is an earmark grant to the Center for Civic Education to instruct students on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Why would we need that “niche program”? And Excellence in Economic Education, which teaches financial literacy. Wow. So if we can just get rid of American history, the Constitution, and education on finance we’d be fixed.
This is pretty rich coming from a guy who has advocated eliminating the entire Department of Education, including all of the programs he’s now saying are vital. “All right, today, we’ve decided we’re going to get rid of the Department of Education. I don’t know why this is such a ridiculous idea,” Beck said on April 14, the same month the CAP report came out. “It would save us $100 billion.”
Meanwhile, the recommendations for program elimination had nothing to do with the subject matter of the program, but with the fact that they’re small, not streamlined with the rest of the Education Department, and are not achieving their goals. For instance, the Academies for American History and Civics is a $1.8 million program (yes, $1.8 million in a $3.6 trillion federal budget) “with no supporting evaluation or performance reports. The teacher workshops are not coordinated with ESEA Title II professional development programs…or based on the needs of states and localities.”
Education spending makes up three percent of the federal budget and just nine percent of spending on education in the country, with the rest coming from the states. To think that cutting a single $1.8 million program that doesn’t work means we “get rid of American history” is simply absurd. Every student will still be going to history and civics class tomorrow if this program disappears today.
Furthermore, the Obama administration, in it’s 2010 education budget, has $40 million for programs on teaching American history, and another $119 million for programs on teaching economics. Did Beck deign to mention these? Of course not. But none of them would exist if his plan to abolish the entire Education Department were adopted.
The CAP report also recommended cutting the “Exchanges with Historic Whaling and Trading Partners” program. We’re looking forward to Beck’s staunch defense of that today.