On this day in 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Department of Education Organization Act.  This act of Congress established the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services as cabinet positions.

During his campaign for presidency in 1980, Ronald Reagan voiced his opposition to the Department of Education and promised to eliminate the department as a cabinet position.  He was unable to do so, however, after being elected with a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. 

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the abolition of the Department of Education remained part of the Republican Party platform until the George W. Bush administration chose not to adopt this idea.  Instead, the administration increased the department's span and budget by 69% between 2002 and 2004 with the "No Child Left Behind" law.

The federal government officially inserted itself into our nation's classrooms 30 years ago today.

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