Getting rid of the U.S. Department of Education is high on the wish list of Republican voters in Iowa, who next month will hold the first-in-the-nation caucus to select a GOP presidential nominee.
More than half of likely caucusgoers or 54 percent of those surveyed by The Des Moines Register, want to scrap the department. One voter interviewed by the Register said she thinks K-12 policy should be a state and local responsibility, a common belief among conservatives.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas have all called for getting rid of the department. Meanwhile, frontrunners former Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have said they want to scale back the federal role in education.
That’s a marked change from a decade ago, when then-candidate Texas Gov. George W. Bush emphasized his interest in education to establish his credentials as a “compassionate conservative.”
Still, shuttering 400 Maryland Ave. is not as easy it might sound. And the idea may not play well in the general election, since voters tend to interpret being against the Education Department as being against education, analysts say.