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The President on Education

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In his recent televised speech on the fiscal 1982 budget, President Reagan proposed to dismantle the Cabinet-level Education Department, slash federal spending approximately 12 percent beyond the level enacted in the budget "reconciliation" bill, and reduce the number of federal employees. Following are excerpts from the sections of the address that concern federal education programs:

First, I'm asking Congress to reduce the 1982 appropriation for most government agencies and programs by 12 percent....

Second, to achieve further economies, we'll shrink the size of the non-defense payroll over the next three years by some six and a half percent, some 75,000 employees. Much of this will be attained by not replacing those who retire or leave. There will, however, be some reductions in force simply because we're reducing our administrative overhead....

As a third step, we propose to dismantle two Cabinet departments, Energy and Education. Both secretaries are wholly in accord with this. Some of the activities in both of these departments will, of course, be continued either independently or in other areas of government. There's only one way to shrink the size and cost of big government, and that is by eliminating agencies that are not needed and are getting in the way of a solution. Now, we don't need an Energy Department to solve our basic energy problem. As long as we let the forces of the marketplace work without undue interference, the ingenuity of consumers, business, producers and inventors will do that for us.

Similarly, education is the principal responsibility of local school systems, teachers, parents, citizen boards, and state governments. By eliminating the Department of Education less than two years after it was created, we can not only reduce the budget, but ensure that local needs and preferences rather than the wishes of Washington determine the education of our children. We also plan the elimination of a few smaller agencies and a number of boards and commissions, some of which have fallen into disuse or which are now being duplicated.

...I intend to forward to Congress this fall a new package of entitlement and welfare reform measures, outside Social Security, to save nearly $27 billion over the next three years....Many of these programs may have come from a good heart but not all have come from a clear head. And the costs have been staggering....Provision of school loans and meal subsidies to the affluent can no longer be afforded.

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