When Washington’s education bureaucracy comes under political attack, it’s common to pin responsibility for its existence on Jimmy Carter. He signed legislation to establish the Department of Education in 1979, and critics note that this imposed a new department on a country that had gotten along quite well without one for more than 200 years.
But that’s not quite true. It wasn’t Jimmy Carter who launched the first Department of Education: it was Andrew Johnson, and the year was 1867. The department was small, ambitious and astonishingly short-lived. Congress abolished it and demoted its reformist chief just a year later…. (Read more at Politico.com)