Here is a very interesting article on the genesis of the U.S. Department of Education, begun by President Carter. Why did President Carter feel obliged to do this?
Here is an excerpt from Reason Magazine’s Anthony L. Fisher:
“Creating the DoED was Carter’s fulfillment of a 1976 presidential campaign promise, when he earned the endorsement of the largest labor union in the United States—the National Education Association (NEA). As the Washington Postreported in 1980:
The NEA gave its first presidential endorsement ever in 1976, when Walter Mondale promised them, at an NEA annual meeting, that the Carter administration would form an education department. At the 1976 Democratic National Convention, more delegates — 180 — belonged to the NEA than any other group of any kind. They’ve endorsed Carter for 1980, and were a major force in getting delegates to the Iowa caucuses…
Is the department, then, a creature of the NEA?
“That’s true,” says NEA executive director Terry Herndon. “There’d be no department without the NEA.””