Ever since President Jimmy Carter created the U.S. Department of Education in 1979, conservatives have been trying to abolish it. Rick Perry, the Texas governor who in a 2011 presidential debate couldn't remember all the U.S. agencies he wanted to shutter, had total recall over one -- the Education Department.
Will conservatives finally get the job done? Donald Trump, who also calls for the agency's demolition, will be in the White House, and Republicans have a majority in Congress. Betsy DeVos, an activist for school vouchers and critic of public education, has been nominated for education secretary.
Before answering that question, let's run down what the department does. Its discretionary budget is all of $68 billion. Of that, $22 billion is for Pell Grants, awarded in amounts up to $5,800 to 8 million financially needy college students. If the department disappears, some other body would still need to determine eligibility for the grants and ensure their proper distribution.