Representative Gale Schisler (D‐Ill.) is the most recent of many congressmen to offer a bill calling for establishment of an independent department of education. While total federal spending on education during the last fiscal year amounted to some $7 billion distributed by over 40 agencies and departments, only $1.5 billion was administered by the US Office of Education. Many in Congress agree with Sen. Abraham Ribicoff (another education department partisan) that the USOE “simply does not have the status, authority, or responsibility to deal with the multifacet, federal education program. And that program is multiplying every day.” But Health, Education and Welfare secretary John W. Gardner believes that the broad responsibilities of his department are inseparably related. Gardner has made it clear that he will not tolerate dismemberment of HEW. Washington observers suggest that a compromise between these two viewpoints may be in the offing, with HEW assuming a structure similar to the Defense Department (one top secretary and three subordinate secretaries).