GOP Calls to Abolish the Department of Education, Explained

The Department of Education building in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 2022. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

In a campaign video released last week, former President Donald Trump said that if reelected he would close the Department of Education and “end education coming out of Washington, D.C.” He’s not the only one: Four other Republican presidential candidates promised the same during the first GOP debate last month, and Vivek Ramaswamy even proposed that he could do so unilaterally.

But what would that mean practically?

What does the department do?

The Department of Education has a few main functions, including: handle federal financial aid, conduct and disseminate research, and prevent discrimination. With 4,400 employees, it is the smallest Cabinet-level department.

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