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The primary political problem is that those whose livelihoods come from government-dominated education are most motivated and best organized to engage in education politics. The Department of Education exacerbates the problem, giving everyone from college lobbyists to teachers unions a Cabinet-level nerve center through which to command ever-more money and protection from accountability.

That said, the other political problem is that many Americans - who are generally too busy with other things to cogitate over why government fails - truly equate federal politicians interfering in education with improving education. But as decades of academic stagnation and belt-busting budgets have proven, that’s just not the case.

Federal education meddling, and the department through which most of it is done, must end. Our fiscal and educational futures depend on it.

Neal McCluskey is associate director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom and author of “Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples and Compromises American Education” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007).