Figure 1 depicts the billions of dollars in outlays (money spent) by the Department of Education from 1980 to 2010.(1) These expenditures are not adjusted for inflation.(2)
Figure 1. Department of Education Spending 1980-2010 (billions of dollars)
Source: Ronald Reagan and Education Policy.
Many are under the impression that the Department of Education was first created in 1979. That is not true. The first Department of Education was established on March 2, 1867 (14 Stat. 434). However, it did not have a secretary at its helm like other departments (e.g., the Department of War.) Instead, it had a commissioner.