Failure
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Failure
The Federal Misedukation of America's Children
Vicki E. Alger (Author)

Hardcover • 496 pages • 33 figures • 23 tables • 6 x 9 inches • Index

ISBN-13: 978-1-59813-212-0

Publication Date: July 1, 2016

Publisher: Independent Institute

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Overview

A comprehensive account and frank assessment of federal involvement in education is long overdue. Education policy expert Vicki E. Alger remedies this deficiency with her book, Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children (Independent Institute, 2016).

As its title indicates, Failure makes no effort to sugar coat its findings:

  • Created in 1979, after a lobbying campaign that spanned generations, the Department of Education has failed to live up to its promises.

  • Federal involvement—whether related to testing, funding, or academic curricula—has failed to abide by the Constitution’s implication that education must remain the domain only of state and local governments and private institutions.

  • Most of all, the central government’s pervasive meddling in education has failed America’s school children and their parents.

Education policy has long been mired in controversies, often with opposing sides missing the mark. Failure helps us step back from the skirmish du jour and redirects our focus to the big picture, showing us what’s gone wrong over the decades and the institutional causes of these failures. It also offers a bold blueprint for returning the federal government to its constitutional role and for cultivating an educational system that meets the needs of students and parents, rather than bureaucrats.

Concerned citizens of every stripe will benefit from Failure’s history of federal education policy, its brutally honest report card for the Department of Education, its look at education systems across the globe, and its ambitious policy recommendations.

Failure might even succeed in reframing the way the federal education establishment thinks about education policy.

Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
United States Department of Education Chronology
Introduction

Part I: The History of the U.S. Department of Education

1. When the Constitution Was Respected: Federal Hands Off Education
2. Early Steps Toward a Federal Role in Education
3. Twentieth-Century Proponents Make the Case for Federal Involvement in Education
4. With the New Department, a Larger and Larger Federal Role in Education
5. Federal Education Initiatives by Executive Order

Part II: Results to Date

6. Has the U.S. Department of Education Kept Its Promises?
7. American Students on the International Stage: A Mediocre Performance
8. How the Top Performers Do It: Alternative Models from Across the Globe

Part III: Returning the Federal Government to Its Constitutional Role in Education

9. Ending, Not Mending, Federal Involvement in Education
10. Dismantling the U.S. Department of Education, Brick by Brick
11. A Blueprint for the Next Thirty Years: Parental Choice
12. A Blueprint for the Next Thirty Years: Privatizing the Federal Role

Conclusion
Notes
References
Index
About the Author

Detailed Summary

Highlights

  • The US Department of Education has failed to reach nearly every meaningful goal its advocates had promised in 1979 when the agency was created. It has failed to improve academic performance. It has failed to provide better management of federal education programs. And it has failed to allow state and local governments to chart their own course. The department has, however, lived up to one promise: it has secured education’s status as a “national activity.” Consequently, education policy has become more contentious and politicized.
  • Despite huge increases in federal involvement in education, student performance in the United States has remained stuck at average levels since the late 1960s and early 1970s. Results from the long-term National Assessment of Educational Progress—a.k.a., the Nation’s Report Card—show no meaningful improvements since before the federal Department of Education was created. A 2013 study of federal No Child Left Behind mandates found that just one-third of all students were proficient or better in math (35%), while around one in five low-income and minority students scored proficient or above (21%). States tried to meet the federal mandates by lowering their proficiency standards and passing scores—just as they had done in the late 1980s in response to mandates for obtaining federal funding.
  • Bitter disputes between the federal government and the states are unavoidable so long as the feds are involved in education. Those who opposed the creation of a federal Department of Education turned out to be prophetic. No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core demonstrate that even when the agency gives the states “flexibility” to implement federal programs, compete for federal dollars, or meet national standards, the cost for them to pursue independent educational objectives can be prohibitive.
  • A key remedy for improving school performance is one that many in the educational establishment staunchly oppose: school competition and parental choice. International comparisons reveal that schools that compete for students outperform schools that do not. Close to three-fourths (72%) of the nations that performed as well or better than the United States on international assessments have higher proportions of schools competing for students. Parents in nine-tenths of those countries have more freedom to choose their children’s schools—both public and private—than American parents.
  • The US government has no constitutional authority to involve itself in education—a view shared even by early advocates of federal involvement. Even the most ardent early supporters of isolated federal involvement in education, including Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, insisted that absent a constitutional amendment, neither they nor Congress had any authority over education whatsoever. Proponents of federal involvement won the battle only after their stance changed from “It would be constitutional” to “It would be expedient.”

Synopsis

For nearly 100 years the federal government left education almost entirely in the hands of state and local governments. Gradually, however, federal restraint gave way, culminating in 1979 with the creation of the US Department of Education—a sprawling bureaucracy with more than 4,000 employees, over 100 programs, and an annual budget of approximately $70 billion. What caused this dramatic transformation? Has it improved student performance? And how can we best ensure that America’s schoolchildren will get the education they need for thriving in an increasingly technological, competitive global economy?

Education reform expert Vicki E. Alger takes up these questions in Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children, an in-depth look at federal education policy that will both enlighten and enrage.

Federal involvement in education, Alger shows, has been an epic failure—a failure of myriad ineffective educational programs, a failure of massive wasteful spending, and a failure of the Department of Education to be a partner with state and local governments, rather than a boss. Fortunately, her rigorous assessment enables Alger to identify and articulate the best strategy for success—namely, decentralizing education policy by ending federal involvement, returning power to state and local governments, and implementing parental choice.

History

We can fully understand the federal government’s involvement in education only by tracing its history. In Part I, Alger chronicles that development, from the nation’s founding to the creation of the Department of Education, placing special emphasis on changes in attitudes about the federal role.

Prior to the mid-1800s federal involvement in education was marked by restraint. Although Congress and presidents tried repeatedly to change the government’s role, all agreed this would require amending the Constitution. But two profound shifts would help untie the federal government from its constitutional moorings.

One shift occurred at the national level, as proponents of a larger federal role began to emphasize its expediency, regardless of its constitutionality; here the Morrill Land Grant Act, signed into law by President Lincoln in 1862, set a precedent. Another shift took place at the state level, as advocates for disadvantaged children began to campaign for compulsory schooling for all; public education activist Horace Mann was pivotal.

In 1867 a new stage began with the creation of the US Education Department. Although it was soon defunded and its rank in the federal pecking order would change over the decades, the agency slowly grew. Momentum increased during the Progressive Era, as John Dewey and other intellectuals called for educational reform to promote their vision of social progress.

From 1908 to 1975, Congress considered more than 130 bills proposing the creation of a new department of education. By the end of the 1970s, a sprawling collection of more than 300 separate federal programs in more than 40 federal agencies, at a cost of $25 billion, prompted calls for consolidation and coordination under one bureaucratic roof. President Carter made this wish come true by establishing the US Department of Education as the thirteenth Cabinet agency in the federal government.

The federal role in American education was at last made secure—a status confirmed by President Reagan’s failure to eliminate the department during his tenure. Reagan’s task force urged only that the agency be downgraded—a recommendation that failed to win the necessary support in Congress.

Subsequent administrations talked about education reform, but none ever considered scaling back the Department of Education. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush convened the nation’s governors for a national education summit, from which came six goals that would be enshrined in his America 2000 legislation in 1992. Congress defeated the bill, however, with Republicans opposing its national standards and Democrats objecting to vouchers. Despite the legislative impasse, federal education funding grew significantly under Bush.

In spite of the longstanding prohibition against federal control of schools' or states' educational curricula and assessments, President Clinton revived and renamed America 2000 as Goals 2000. Coupled with massive funding, Goals 2000 was an offer the states couldn’t refuse. Republicans and Democrats in Congress now vied with one another over who supported the most generous increases in federal education spending.

President George W. Bush’s biggest contribution to education policy, No Child Left Behind, further strengthened the federal hand vis-à-vis the states. Despite its demanding testing, reporting, and choice requirements, studies found that it had not appreciably improved reading or math performance. The federal grip on education has further tightened during the Obama presidency, through the administration’s promotion of Race to the Top and Common Core standards, and insistence on waiver authority.

Results to Date

In Part II, Alger offers a report card of the Department of Education, comparing its performance with its original goals. The results are sobering. On nearly every count the department has fallen short: Wasteful spending is rampant. Strings attached to federal funding have caused a political tug-of-war with the states. And American students have made little or no progress in reading, math, and science; compared to their peers in other countries, their academic performance is still average.

How do the world’s top performing school systems operate? Alger looks at schooling in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Macao, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Singapore, focusing on institutional structure, national curriculum, national assessments, school autonomy, and parental choice. Two traits they share are a high degree of decentralization and a high level of competition among schools for students.

“At a time when American political leaders insist we must prepare students for an increasingly competitive global economy, it makes little sense to preserve a status quo that shields schools from competition—and success,” Alger writes.

Returning the Federal Government to Its Constitutional Role

In Part III, Alger spells out a plan for decentralizing education, refunding tax revenue to the taxpayers, and returning the federal government to its constitutional role. She begins by articulating the core principle to guide such efforts: End, don’t mend, federal involvement in education.

Abolition is essential because, Alger explains, a dysfunctional relationship between the feds and the states is virtually guaranteed in a system that was never designed to accommodate federal involvement in education. The failure to grasp the federal government’s inherent limitations dooms even policies designed to give the states greater flexibility to meet federal goals, such as block grants, free rein for states to compete for federal dollars, financial incentives to achieve national standards, and national education tax credits or voucher programs crafted in Washington, DC.

How should abolition proceed? Alger would start with the immediate elimination of 19 non-program offices and divisions within the US Department of Education. This would generate savings of about $14 billion, which would be returned to individual taxpayers as a federal income tax reduction. Also, taxpayers would determine which, if any, programs would be preserved at the state level, resulting in a more constructive approach to education policy.

“Once control over education programs and funding is returned to the states,” Alger writes, “lawmakers, taxpayers, and educators can work more closely together at the local level to better ensure clear education policy priorities customized to meeting the specific need of students in communities across the states—without all the chaos, cost, and upheaval of the previous decades of federal leadership in education.”

Alger then shows how we might dismantle the Department of Education brick by brick, offering specific recommendations for each of the 125 educational programs administered by the US Department of Education’s Office of the Secretary, Office of the Deputy Secretary, and Office of the Under Secretary.

As noted, parental choice has played a significant role in the success of top-performing students on international tests. Alger reviews parental school choice programs in the United States, from California’s Alum Rock program in the 1970s to the federally funded DC Opportunity Scholarship program, as well as state tuition tax credits, privately operated public charter schools, and educational savings accounts (which decouple government financing and school management).

Alger concludes by looking at the role of privatization in education, especially for the financing of higher education. “Putting student loans in the hands of private lending institutions,” she writes, “would do more than help students to achieve the education that matches their career goals. It would also tighten the reins on wasteful spending by postsecondary institutions and thus move to reduce the cost of higher education.”

Praise

“Vicki Alger’s Failure is a timely and well-researched tour de force that should be read by anyone interested in promoting genuine educational reform in America. After delineating the long history of educational policy in America, Alger focuses on the ineluctable growth of federal intervention in education policy since the Civil War. This intervention has fallen far short of attaining pedagogical improvement. And the regulatory creep it has wrought has included political entanglements and policy mischief wrought by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), established in 1979—serving as yet another example of the classic regulatory triangle of politicians, bureaucracy, and interest groups (e.g., NEA and teachers’ unions) that too often serves the self-interest of stakeholders rather than the public interest in educational attainment. Calling for the ‘strategic dismantling’ of ED, Alger provides constructive examples of decentralization in other developed countries and in U.S. history.”
Donald A. Downs, Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin; author, Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus

“The strongest pro-choice arguments for school reform—more power to parents and students—can be found in the pages of Failure. There is indeed risk in Vicki Alger’s prescriptions but no doubt about the deadly cost of inaction.”
Juan Williams, Political Analyst, Fox News Channel; former Senior Correspondent, National Public Radio; author, Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954–1965 and Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary

“American schools are among the most costly in the world. Yet U.S. students are among the mediocre achievers in math, science, and other subjects. In Failure, Vicki Alger explains why and how substantial improvements can be made.”
Herbert J. Walberg, University Scholar and Research Professor of Education and Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Failure offers a fresh, provocative perspective on how American policymakers abandoned the Constitution in pursuit of a misguided vision that the federal government could improve upon generations of local and state control of education. Full of revelations, Failure offers a comprehensive history of federal education policy together with a step-by-step blueprint to dismantle the Department of Education and move forward with school choice and competition—the two best indicators of success in Alger’s informative, cross-national analysis. Nations that favor parental choice and school competition, rather than compulsion and coercion, are leading the world in student test scores. And unlike other critics of federal education policy, Alger stresses the ongoing debate—from the Founders to the 1970s—over whether the federal government had any constitutional role to play in education. The answer, for the most part, is ‘NO!’ but political expediency has led both Democrats and Republicans alike down the road of increasing federal control of education. Now packed with eye-opening statistics and interesting anecdotes, Failurecouples a compelling narrative with dispiriting data on how poorly American students have performed despite increased spending. Money is not the answer, nor is central control. The real solution is choice and competition. After decades of failed ‘reforms,’ Alger will sway readers with her argument for abolishing the Department of Education and getting the federal government out of the education business.”
Jonathan J. Bean, Professor of History, Southern Illinois University

“The analysis in Failure is thorough and its conclusions are supported by its documented facts. The recommendations are grounded in the reality of now, not yesterday, and if ignored, America’s position as the world’s leader in educational preparedness of its citizenry will never be reclaimed. This book is a must-read for all who still believe that politicians know more about educating children than the parents to whom they belong.”
T. Willard Fair, President and Chief Executive Officer, Urban League of Greater Miami, Florida

“Back in the 1980s, Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan proposed rolling back federal control of education and sending control back to the states and the people. That effort was stillborn, but if the people who were serious about Reagan’s proposal then had Failure as a guide they would have gotten far further. This important book digs into the facts about low-school performance and counterproductive federal aid. Anyone who cares about America’s schoolchildren should read and consider Failure for its background information, critical analysis, and root-and-branch reforms.”
Williamson M. Evers, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development

“In Failure, Vicki Alger traces the history of the growth in the federal role in education in America, a role that can be seen today in the regulatory reach of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) into the entire K-12 school system and much of post-secondary education. The heart of her excellent book is a description of the major programs it currently manages, most of which she shows have been judged ineffective or duplicative of other programs or services, most of which could be eliminated, and most of whose functions she shows could probably be carried out more successfully by state or local governments. The point of Failure is the charge that ED has overstepped constitutional boundaries in its attempts to address the educational problems it has chosen or been given to solve, and that it has failed in its efforts. For example, despite 50 years of increased funding and layers of regulations in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), there has been little if any upward movement of the education needle for low-achieving, low-income students, to judge by their scores on the nation’s ‘report cards’ since the inception of the National Assessment of Progress tests in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Yet, Congress piled on more layers of regulation for ED to administer after passing a 1,000-page bill of unknown authorship in its 2015 re-authorization of ESEA without asking ED what policies in its previous ESEA programs may have contributed to the long plateau in the quality of the education these children have received. Nor has ED done a long overdue self-analysis. Alger makes a much-needed and well-reasoned case that returning the federal role in education to state and local governments and privatizing its role may bear more success in improving public education, especially the academic achievement of these children, than the 30-year history of an unaccountable but still growing federal bureaucracy has been able to show.”
Sandra L. Stotsky, Professor Emerita of Education Reform, University of Arkansas; former Senior Associate Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Education

“In Failure, Vicki Alger provides a provocative look at the current condition of the American education system and why dramatic changes are needed immediately.”
Diane M. Douglas, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Arizona Department of Education

“In Failure, Vicki Alger has penned a searing critique of federal efforts to improve American education. The troubling legacies of No Child Left Behind, the Race to the Top, and the Obama administration’s ‘waiver’ strategy create a timely backdrop for this hard-hitting assessment. Those skeptical of the federal role will find much to help make their case, while those more enamored of federal activity in schooling will find a useful reality check.”
Frederick M. Hess, Resident Scholar and Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

“Anyone interested in understanding the history of education in America and the federal government's expanding role in education should read Failure. The Common Core national education standards, pushed by Washington, are just the latest in a long line of federal intrusions into the nation's classrooms. As Failurepoints out, empowering parents, not empowering the federal government, is the real answer for our country’s education woes.”
Lance T. Izumi, former President, Board of Governors, California Community Colleges

“In Failure, Vicki Alger prosecutes a masterful case against federal education intervention, employing detailed historical, constitutional, and empirical evidence, and demonstrating a much better way to go. The opposite way: empowering parents—not bureaucrats—through school choice. This is just the book we need to make crystal clear what Washington should do in education: basically, nothing.”
Neal P. McCluskey, Director, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute

“I have learned a lot from the deeply researched book, Failure. School system reform efforts would be aided if more people knew how the political process has created unconstitutional Federal authority to influence schooling practices, and how that authority undermines efforts to escape our serious, ‘Nation at Risk’ circumstances.”
John D. Merrifield, Professor of Economics, University of Texas at San Antonio

“The United States spends more per capita on education than any nation on the globe with the possible exception of Switzerland. Yet remarkably Americans have little to show for it. It often seems that more spending only yields a more profound, dumbing-down effect, and Americans should know that the history of federal policy has contributed to this dismal result. In her remarkable book Failure, Vicki Alger explains in graphic detail how government schools have failed the nation. Billions of dollars are spent each year to promote schools that are not teaching the young anything of value. In fact, after more than thirty years of the U.S. Department of Education, it is clear that government bureaucracies do not improve with age. The education bureaucracy is ossified through mandates, regulations and union rules. Albert Shanker, former president of the United Federation of Teachers and American Federation of Teachers, stated his belief quite bluntly: ‘When students start paying union dues, I will be as concerned about them as union members.’ Government schooling emerged from the belief that immigrant parents could not be entrusted with the education of their children. As Dr. Alger notes, it is time for parents to consider the obverse of this claim and take charge of the education of their children. Educational choice is the alternative to government-dominated schools and precisely the antidote to marginal schooling. In so many respects, Dr. Alger is leading the way with a book that diagnoses the bureaucratic sclerosis in education and the prescription for the appropriate reforms for the future.”
Herbert I. London, President, London Center for Policy Research; former President, Hudson Institute

“Vicki Alger has produced an authoritative book on the federal government’s role in education. Failure includes a detailed history of that involvement, going back as far as the proposal for a national university during the early days of the Republic (it was turned down). She provides persuasive evidence that more than 100 programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education should be eliminated or made private. Her book will be a invaluable source for those who want to demonstrate that the federal government has been a drag on the nation’s efforts to teach children and young adults, not a boost to those efforts, as some still contend.”
Jane Shaw Stroup, Vice Chairman and former President, John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy; former Senior Fellow, Property and Environment Research Center

“In Failure, Vicki Alger calls the Department of Education (ED) to the front of the class—and grades it a big fat F. From the very day it started impoverishing the American student's mind on 4 May 1980 (when Ronald Reagan accurately christened it ‘President Carter’s new bureaucratic boondoggle’) people have been searching in vain to find the word ‘education’ in the Constitution. Three and a half decades later, Alger systematically marshals the evidence to make the irresistible case that it is time to correct this governmental overreach and abolish the ED. This landmark book should fundamentally change the landscape of education in America without ever being allowed near the curriculum.”
Benjamin Harnwell, Honorary Secretary, Working Group on Human Dignity, European Parliament; Founder and Director, Dignitatis Humanae Institute

“I have never read such a thorough history and analysis of the evolution of federal education policy, where it started, where it went wrong, and why we find ourselves compromised by the tension between federal, state and local these days—a tension that has created confusion in the political world and caused generations of educators to believe wrongly that only programs created and administered by the U.S. Department of Education have their best interest at heart. That our founders and intellectual ancestors, from Mill and Paine to Madison and Jefferson called for the provision of choice for parents long before there ever was a public education system is a little known but critical historical fact. Vicki Alger teaches us that a marketplace of schools dictated by parental choice and charitable support for those who had little was alive and well in our early days as a democratic republic. States varied greatly in their approaches, precisely as the Founders intended. The education system of the most recent centuries looks nothing like the original schools that were unique, rigorous and designed to succeed. After a colorful and well-documented tour of the most important discussions surrounding education from our inception until today, we learn that the same paternalistic arguments used today against parents as the best and first decision makers for their children today are also rooted in the past, among those responsible for the foundation of government schooling. The common, public-funded system of coerced education was based on the ‘learned’ assessment that parents were unfit to make decisions. Thus it will come as little surprise to the reader the NEA factors prominently in the evolution of the national, and later federal role that would be established, despite the Founders’ intentions otherwise and only tepid support from Congressional leaders in both parties as it first began to grow. Failure is the definitive guide to what came before, what evolved, and what exists today in federal education policy, and offers a compelling plan for corrective action fitting for any enterprise truly interested in great education for all.”
Jeanne R. Allen, Senior Fellow and President Emeritus, Center for Education Reform

“In Failure, Vicki Alger vividly shows and in careful detail how much damage has been done to American education—from grade school through college—by the U.S. Department of Education. Her superb work strengthens the case that this federal agency was a bad idea from the very beginning and ought to be abolished forthwith.”
George Leef, Columnist, Forbes; Director of Research, John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy; former Vice President, John Locke Foundation

Failure, Vicki Alger’s well-documented history of federal education policy, shows that this history goes back further and is more complex than even most education experts realize. Sadly, the bulk of this federal involvement has contributed to the sclerotic education system that we have in America today. Dr. Alger’s careful and painstaking chronicle shows how the road to perdition in our education system was surely paved with good intentions, but just because a policy sounds good does not mean it will be good. I hope the entire Congress, the next President, and all education policy experts read and take to heart Dr. Alger’s meticulous history of the failure of federal education policy. Failure is a great read and shows, among its many insights, how many original opponents of federal involvement in education were eerily prescient about the failures that were to come.”
Benjamin Scafidi, Director, Education Economics Center, Kennesaw State University

Failure is absolutely excellent! It successfully highlights the seminal problem we face as a free society—the education of youth. This fine book reviews historical failures of past efforts and prescribes appropriate 21st century solutions. Failure should be a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in education policy.”
Kent Grusendorf, Director, Center for Education Freedom, Texas Public Policy Foundation; former Chairman, Public Education Committee, Texas House of Representatives

“More than ever before, Americans are expressing a deep mistrust in the role of the federal government in education. If you want to understand why, then read Vicki Alger’s marvelous book, Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children. From the origins of the U.S. Department of Education through an examination of the effectiveness of federal programs, Failure provides a sobering, in-depth, wake-up call for those concerned about the ever-increasing federal intervention in schooling.”
Robert C. Enlow, President and Chief Executive Officer, Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

“Alger’s Failure is exceptional and provides a recipe for restoring success to American education at all levels by ending federal controls in all respects. Hurrah for this distinctive and eminently readable prescription of decentralization to states and localities and fostering academic competition among schools.”
John W. Sommer, Knight Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina, Charlotte; editor, The Academy in Crisis: The Political Economy of Higher Education

Failure takes an important look at the impact of decades of growing federal intervention in education. Alger provides one of the most in-depth assessments to date of what taxpayers and students have gotten for this outsized federal intervention in education and systematically details what we’ve all expected is the answer: not much. Failure is a thorough defense of why educational choice markets, not Washington, hold the most promise for improving American education.”
Lindsey Burke, Will Skillman Fellow in Education, Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity, Heritage Foundation

“Education policy expert Vicki E. Alger shows that federal involvement in education has been an epic failure—a failure of programs, a fiscal failure, and a failure with educators, parents, and students. Alger assesses, identifies, and articulates the best strategy for success—namely, decentralizing education policy by ending federal involvement, returning power to state and local governments, and implementing parental choice for the citizenry. No matter where you stand on issues such as Common Core, school vouchers, federal mandates, or state sovereignty, Failure will provide insight and inspiration needed for bold solutions to our educational challenges. Alger takes up all of these issues and questions in Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children, an in-depth look at federal education policy that will enlighten and inspire reform to truly meet student needs. . . .The systemic problems in America's educational system are undeniable. One may or may not agree with the solutions proposed in Failure, which focus upon ending or limiting the role of the federal government as much as possible in education, and returning power to state and local governments. Yet author Vicki Alger makes a persuasive, impassioned case for drastic change, supported by meticulous data and evidence. Failure is a ‘must-read’ for anyone concerned about the inadequate state of the American educational system today; even those who reject the recommendations in Failure would be well-served to better understand the very arguments they oppose.”
Midwest Book Review

“In the well-researched history of American education, Failure, author Vicki Alger traces the growth of the federal government’s role in education, which was never granted anywhere in our constitution, but has been a contentious issue since our nation’s founding. . . . Alger categorizes every program in the current Department of Education (established under President Carter) and their many failures, and offers a plan for positive change, beginning with eliminating the department (which President Reagan attempted but failed to do), returning everything to state control, and eliminating Common Core and the department’s thousands of employees and billions of wasted dollars. . . . When you read the budgets and structure of each of the separate offices within the Department of Education, you will marvel at how the American taxpayer has been bilked of its money, not for good, but in fact for dubious, duplicitous causes. In the final chapters of this outstanding book, Alger lays out a blueprint for the next 30 years to achieve the excellence in education we owe to generations to follow. This can be achieved if members of the nation’s next administration read this book.”
Heartland.org

News


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News Date
“Yes, Donald Trump Can Repeal Common Core. Here’s How” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children cited on TheFederalist.com Thu., Feb. 16, 2017
“Education Reform Expert Recommends Shutting Down Department of Education” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure cited on Heartland.org Mon., Feb. 13, 2017
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children speaks at The Heartland Institute Wed., Feb. 1, 2017
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the Sound off! with Jaime Umphenour radio show on KPRL Paso Robles, CA Tue., Jan. 17, 2017
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the Michael Howe radio show on KONP Port Angeles, WA Mon., Jan. 16, 2017
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the Mike Schikman radio show on WSVA Harrisonburg, VA Fri., Jan. 13, 2017
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the Rick Trader’s Conservative Commandos radio show on WNJC Philadelphia Fri., Jan. 13, 2017
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the Andy Caldwell radio show on KUHL Santa Barbara, CA Wed., Jan. 11, 2017
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the Mike Siegel radio show on KITZ Seattle Wed., Jan. 11, 2017
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the Larry Conners USA radio show on KTRS St. Louis Tue., Jan. 10, 2017
“Move Away from Bond Financing for Public School Construction” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children and Jacob Richards Op-Ed in The San Francisco Chronicle Tue., Dec. 20, 2016
“Vicki Alger on the US Department of Education” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure interviewed on Choice Media Mon., Oct. 10, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on Politics on the Edge with Melody Clarke on WESR radio (VA) Mon., Sep. 26, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on Rush to Reason on KLZ radio (CO) Mon., Sep. 26, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WTMA radio (SC) Fri., Sep. 23, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KONP radio (WA) Thu., Sep. 22, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on Issues Today with Bob Gourley Radio Show Thu., Sep. 22, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KSRO radio (CA) Mon., Sep. 19, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on The Ed Dean Radio Show (FL) Mon., Sep. 19, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KIDO radio (ID) Mon., Sep. 19, 2016
“Hardly: ‘Free’ Plan Comes with $350 Billion Price Tag” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure Op-Ed in The Sacramento Bee and other Tribune News Service syndicated newspapers Thu., Sep. 15, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WLW radio (OH) Wed., Sep. 14, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WACV, radio (AL) Tue., Sep. 13, 2016
Failure by Research Fellow Vicki Alger cited on Education Watch International blog Wed., Sep. 7, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WLCR radio (KY) Thu., Sep. 1, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children featured on National Review Podcast Bookmonger Wed., Aug. 31, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WTMJ radio (WI) Mon., Aug. 22, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WRKO radio (MA) Sun., Aug. 21, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WJJF radio (NY) Sun., Aug. 21, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KITZ radio (WA) Fri., Aug. 19, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KVOR radio (CO) Thu., Aug. 18, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KBAR radio (ID) Thu., Aug. 18, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KQAM radio (KS) Thu., Aug. 18, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KFMB radio’s Brett Winterble Show (CA) Wed., Aug. 17, 2016
“Don’t Blame ‘Underfunding’ for Soaring College Prices” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure Op-Ed in The Oklahoman Wed., Aug. 17, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KUHL radio (CA) Tue., Aug. 16, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WKRC Radio Wed., Aug. 10, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on BOND Radio’s Jesse Lee Peterson Show Tue., Aug. 9, 2016
“Book Discussion on Failure” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children on C-SPAN2 Book TV Sun., Aug. 7, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KSCJ Radio Fri., Aug. 5, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the KSCJ radio (IA) Fri., Aug. 5, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WHO Radio (IA) Thu., Aug. 4, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the WEZO radio Wed., Aug. 3, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on The Bruce & Blanquita Radio Show ON KCAF (TX) Tue., Aug. 2, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KPRL Radio Tue., Aug. 2, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the Tomi Lahren Show on The Blaze TV Network Mon., Aug. 1, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WAEB Radio (PA) Mon., Aug. 1, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KJYL Radio Mon., Aug. 1, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on The Rob Schilling Radio Show on WINA (VA) Mon., Aug. 1, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WNJC Radio Mon., Aug. 1, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KXEL Radio Mon., Aug. 1, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KKOB Radio Mon., Aug. 1, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WXLM Radio Mon., Aug. 1, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on The Dr. Drew Pinsky Radio Show on KABC Thu., Jul. 28, 2016
Failure by Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger is reviewed in Midwest Book Review Thu., Jul. 28, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on The Sam Sorbo Radio Show Tue., Jul. 26, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on The Tom Roten Radio Show on WVHU Tue., Jul. 26, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on The Steel on Steel Radio Show Tue., Jul. 26, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on The Dove Radio Network (OR) Fri., Jul. 22, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on The Mike Schikman Radio Show (VA) Fri., Jul. 22, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KFNN Radio Thu., Jul. 21, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WATR Radio’s Talk of the Town Thu., Jul. 21, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on WMUZRadio Thu., Jul. 21, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on KUIK Radio’s Jayne Carroll Show Thu., Jul. 21, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure appears on Pittsburgh Now on WPXI (PA) Fri., Jul. 15, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure appears on The Capital City Recap with Michael Cohen on WILS (MI) Fri., Jul. 15, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure appears on Trending Today USA with Rusty Humphries on USA Radio Fri., Jul. 15, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure appears on The Andy Caldwell Show on KUHL Fri., Jul. 15, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure appears on KBET radio (NV) Fri., Jul. 15, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure appears on The Bill Meyers Show on KMED (OR) Thu., Jul. 14, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure appears on The Bill Cunningham Show on WLW radio (OH) Thu., Jul. 14, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure appears on The Joyce Kaufman Show on WFTL radio (FL) Thu., Jul. 14, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure appears on The Joe Pags Show on WOAI (TX) Thu., Jul. 14, 2016
Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children by Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger is reviewed on Heartland.org Fri., Jul. 8, 2016
“To Help Children in Failing Schools, Try Copying the GI Bill” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure Op-Ed in the Washington Examiner Thu., Jun. 30, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure appears on the Bill Martinez Live radio show Thu., Jun. 23, 2016
“Are We Better Off After 30 Years with the Department of Education?” Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure on Independent Women’s Forum podcast Wed., Jun. 1, 2016
“Federal Authorities Flunk in Every Category but Promises” Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children Op-Ed in Tribune Syndicated Newspapers Thu., May. 19, 2016
“Teachers Unions, Allies Rally Against Charter School Expansion in Los Angeles” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure cited in Heartland.org Mon., May. 9, 2016
“California Education Scholars Call for End to Common Core”​ Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure, quoted on Heartland.org Fri., May. 6, 2016
“We Can’t Afford ‘Free’ College” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure Op-Ed in The Washington Examiner Mon., Feb. 8, 2016
“California Education Board Approves New Charter School” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure quoted in Heartland.org Tue., Feb. 2, 2016
“Oklahoma Legislature Fails to Pass ESA Program” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure Op-Ed in Heartland.org Fri., Nov. 13, 2015
“Make College Free-Market, Not ‘Free’” Research Fellow Vicki Alger Op-Ed in McClatchy Syndicated Newspapers Thu., Feb. 19, 2015

Events


Upcoming Events
Event Date
“The Future is Now: School Choice and Other Reforms” Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Independent Women’s Forum event in Washington, D.C. Thu., Apr. 13, 2017


Past Events
Event Date
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure to speak at The Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley in Mountain View, CA Tue., Mar. 14, 2017
Research Fellow Vicki E. Alger, author of Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children to speak at The Heartland Institute Wednesday, February 1 Wed., Feb. 1, 2017
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Independent Women’s Forum in Washington, DC on November 9, 2016 Wed., Nov. 9, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Arizona School Tuition Organization Association in Phoenix, AZ on October 21, 2016 Fri., Oct. 21, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, TX on October 19, 2016 Wed., Oct. 19, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Platte Institute Annual Legislative Summit in Omaha, NE on October 10, 2016 Mon., Oct. 10, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at State Policy Network in Nashville, TN on October 3, 2016 Mon., Oct. 3, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Kansas Policy Institute Freedom Gala in Wichita October 1, 2016 Sat., Oct. 1, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs in Oklahoma City, OK on September 14, 2016 Fri., Sep. 30, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Rossmoor Republican Event on September 20 Tue., Sep. 20, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Ahwatukee Tea Party, Phoenix, AZ on Thursday, September 15 Thu., Sep. 15, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Ahawtukee Tea Party in Phoeniz, AZ on September 14, 2016 Thu., Sep. 15, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Arrowhead Republican Women Event in Sun City West, AZ on Wednesday, September 14 Wed., Sep. 14, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Women of Courage in Education in Phoenix, AZ on August 6, 2016 Sat., Aug. 6, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Nevada Policy Research Institute in Las Vegas, NV on July 29, 2016 Fri., Jul. 29, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger, author of Failure speaks at Nevada Policy Research Institute in Reno, NV on July 28, 2016 Thu., Jul. 28, 2016
Research Fellow Vicki Alger speaks on her Independent Institute book Failure at the Heritage Foundation Wed., Jul. 20, 2016

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