Loudoun County School Board member Bill Fox (Leesburg) believes the U.S. Department of Education should be eliminated or phased out, and Fox is endorsing a like-minded candidate for Congress -- the conservative firebrand state Del. Bob Marshall.
Marshall, a leading voice for the far right in Virginia, is one of six Republicans vying for the GOP nomination in Virginia's 10th Congressional District. The seat will come open through this November's election with the retirement of veteran U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R).
In a letter announcing his support for Marshall's campaign, Fox said he agrees with the delegate's “recognition that the Federal Department of Education provides no value added to children and educators, and accordingly should be eliminated or phased out.”
“Although we may not agree on every point of policy, I feel that you are the only legitimate candidate in the race who takes seriously the conservative values of liberty and limited government,” Fox stated to Marshall. “Specifically, I strongly support your education platform regarding encouraging and fostering school choice ...”
Speaking to the Times-Mirror about his position, Fox said the Department of Education has “had precisely zero impact on educational outcomes.”
“Both reading and math scores have been essentially flat since its creation in 1979,” Fox said. “The value of the Department of Education, just like every department, should be assessed by its results, not its budget. Without demonstrable improvement in outcomes, it is a $70 billion waste of money.”
Fox said “every policy” the department enacts takes decision-making away from local and state control. The most glaring example, he said, is the No Child Left Behind Act, which was approved overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002. Fox called No Child Left Behind “a monstrosity intended to define for every school in the nation what accountability should look like.”
"Public education has always been considered to be under the purview of the state," he said. "Finding authority in the Constitution for the federal government to take over education strains credulity."
The elimination of the department “would be a win for both the cause of Liberty and common sense,” Fox added.
The U.S. Department of Education, which operates on a $67 billion budget, establishes educational policy and administers and coordinates most federal assistance to education. According to the department's website, its elementary and secondary programs serve nearly 16,900 school districts and approximately 50 million students attending more than 98,000 public schools and 28,000 private schools annually.
“Department programs also provide grant, loan, and work-study assistance to more than 13 million post-secondary students,” the department's website states. “That said, it is important to point out that education in America is primarily a state and local responsibility, and ED's budget is only a small part of both total national education spending and the overall Federal budget.”
The Leesburg School Board member considered a campaign for the 10th Congressional District seat himself before deciding against it, the conservative blog The Bull Elephant reported in February.