On Government Harassment and Waste, not necessarily in that order

Did you know that there was such a thing as the National Center for Education Statistics? They are a part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Just having 3 layers of bureaucracy like this should be enough to clue you in that money is being wasted – but just wait until you find out how.

Some of you may have been lucky enough to have received a letter toward the end of last year from the aforementioned bureaucrats advising that they have a program entitled the National Household Education Surveys Program (another big name that just has to cost money) that needs your help. Households are being contacted all around the country “to learn about educational experiences of both adults and children.”

As a token of their appreciation, a $2 bill was enclosed.

At one such household that I know of, the $2 was pocketed and the letter tossed with the rest of the junk mail. Then, Westat, a private “social research firm,” started calling. And calling. They were more persistent than yellowjackets. Westat was told to go away, but they wouldn’t. Persistence turned into harassment, as the phone calls came 2 or 3 times a day. “All we need is 20-30 minutes of your time,” they’d say. “What time would be better?” they’d ask. Then, it turned into, “Just let me ask 5 minutes of pre-questions; you may be disqualified after that.” However, the “pre-questions” wanted names, birthdates, and other personal information. Westat was told to go away for good.

Another letter came from the aforementioned government bureaucrats encouraging the family’s participation. Then more calls came. Westat was told in no uncertain terms to back off.

Then, came the clincher: another letter came, this time by FedEx. (You’d think they’d use the U.S. Postal Service at least…) Inside the large cardboard envelope was another letter – and another $2 bill.

As far as I know, the calls have finally stopped – for now. But at what cost? Is this a free country? Does freedom of speech include the freedom to not speak to phone solicitors? What does our government actually think they are buying with their $2? Does that obligate the recipient to anything?

Again, at what cost? $4 in paper money (I’m sure it costs the government less…), and FedEx postage. How many other people out there have been harassed to the same extent? How many $2 bills have been FedExed? And, how much is Westat getting paid for every successful phone call?

If it happened to me, I would be pretty upset at the waste. I’m upset enough the way it is.

All this begs the question: why do we have a Federal Dept. of Education Nosiness in the first place? Hillary wants our children raised by a village (in her case, a village that is a front for some socialist regime – my interpretation); GW wants no child left behind (which means essentially that kids are being shuffled through the system instead of being told they failed). It’s not working. Let the local village – including parents who wish to homeschool – take care of education. Anytime big government gets involved – and in many places that includes State government – it just gets screwed up, and money is wasted.

Dump the bureaucrats, end the surveys, everybody send their $2 bills back, and hire teachers with the money. And stop harassing people to justify your own existence.

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