About Ernest L. Boyer
Ernest L. Boyer, Sr.
A Leader of Educators, An Educator of Leaders
1928 - 1995
To increase efficiency and service to students, Boyer, as commissioner, cut red tape in the colossal federal education agency and reduced the number of forms schools and colleges had to fill out to receive grants. He went after student loan defaulters so more money would be available to students in need. He also argued for a reduction in bureaucratic jargon, and he became known for turning bureaucratic doublespeak into clear prose. He convened forums to get divergent groups talking again about how to improve schools and enhance learning. He even offered a course, and then taught it once a week, on communication skills, and established an internal Horace Mann Center for the ongoing education of federal education bureaucrats.
"We sought to give all Americans the opportunity to achieve a good education," President Carter said recently about their time working together. "I am proud that we more than doubled federal support for schools, providing special funds to districts with large numbers of disadvantaged students, and making available grants and loans that made it possible for every qualified student to have an opportunity to attend college."
The former president noted that Commissioner Boyer "won the respect of people at every level of education, from preschool to graduate school. Teachers, students, administrators, and parents all learned that he understood and sympathized with their hopes and needs. He earned their trust, and believed that it was essential for the educational system as a whole to regain the trust of the American people."
Boyer was the last commissioner of education in the old U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare before the agency was divided and his post was elevated to presidential cabinet rank in 1979.
"Ernie Boyer was a wise man," declared President Carter. "I will always be grateful for his extraordinary contributions during my administration and for having his wise counsel. He has set an example of leadership that 1 trust will be emulated by future generations of educators."