From CATO Institute:

Aside from a short‐​lived data collection entity, before 1980 there was no Department of Education. Why did it come into existence then? What were the public policy reasons? What were the political reasons? What were the primary drivers behind the department’s creation?

Christopher Cross, Chairman, FourPoint Education Partners, and author of Political Education: National Policy Comes of Age
Ron Kimberling, Research Fellow, Independent Institute, and Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education in the Reagan administration
Kevin Kosar, Vice President, Research Partnerships, R Street, and author of Failing Grades: The Federal Politics of Education Standards
Moderated by Neal McCluskey, Director, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute