This West Is OUR West

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Shut U.S. Department of Education


Written by Alex Newman | Thursday, 31 January 2019  

A coalition of leading conservative, constitutionalist, and liberty-minded lawmakers re-introduced a bill in the new Congress that would shut down the unconstitutional U.S. Department of Education for good. The idea, which has been advanced by GOP leaders ranging from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump, remains extraordinarily popular among grassroots conservatives. However, among Democrats and establishment Republicans, the massive bureaucracy is seen as crucial to maintaining federal control over the indoctrination of children. Supporters of the bill in Congress, though, argued that parents and local communities — not unelected federal bureaucrats — ought to be in charge of public schools. And with Trump in the White House, the time has never been better to make liberals recognize the dangers of centralized control over education.     

The one-sentence bill, dubbed “To terminate the Department of Education” (H.R. 899), would simply and effectively shut down the U.S. Education Department. It reads: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2020.” If approved, the measure would quash a wide range of federal programs on education, which, as sponsors of the bill pointed out, is not a power delegated to the federal government under the U.S. Constitution. Among the most controversial federal education schemes to be ended would be the Every Student Succeeds Act, which includes new unconstitutional authorities granted to the department over state standards by Barack Obama and establishment Republicans that in practice cemented the politically toxic Common Core in place.   

In an announcement posted on social media, Representative Thomas Massie (shown, R-Ky.), the liberty-minded leader behind the bill, noted that neither Congress nor the president, through his appointees, have any constitutional authority to dictate how or what American children should learn. “Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development,” he said. “States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students. Schools should be accountable. Parents have the right to choose the most appropriate educational opportunity for their children, including home school, public school, or private school.”

When asked why he supported abolishing the Education Department in an interview with The New American, Massie laughed, asking, “how much time do you have?” Noting that it was established by unpopular President Jimmy Carter as a “re-election tactic, as a ploy,” the Kentucky congressman said that eliminating it was part of Reagan's platform and the GOP platform. “But I saw an opportunity to re-introduce this notion as a bill when everybody got upset about [Trump Education Secretary] Betsy DeVos' confirmation. That was the last controversial confirmation.”  

But this is a strategic issue for advocates of Big Government, too. “The left understands that this is where you win or lose — in the schools and in the teaching of the children,” Massie told this writer in Appleton, Wisconsin, last October. “So I got a lot of phone calls from constituents and frankly, liberals all over the country, who wanted me to vote against Betsy DeVos. Well there is only one problem with that: I am in the House, not in the Senate, and the Senate has the power of advice and consent under the Constitution. So my staff would tell the callers — and there were lots of callers — he does not get to vote on that.”

Those outraged callers to his office would insist that Massie was “passing the buck,” that there was something he could do, and that he must do something. “So I wrote a one-page bill that says the Department of Education shall terminate on December 31,” he said, adding that he introduced the measure on the day of DeVos' Senate confirmation. “That was my effort that they asked of me. And so then, when the callers asked what I was doing to stop Betsy DeVos, we would say, now, well, we are trying to eliminate the department, and thus, eliminate her job — she would no longer be employed by the Department of Education; it would not exist.”    

Some of the callers were upset at that notion, Massie continued. “And then I ask the liberals who want the federal government involved, I say: Do you really want President Trump deciding what or how your children should learn?” the congressman said. “And so now you have got a situation where the left has to advocate for President Trump controlling the education of their children if they want to keep the Department of Education.”

In his announcement of the new bill, Representative Massie also cited President Reagan, who ran on a platform of shutting down the then-newly established bureaucracy. “There's only one way to shrink the size and cost of big government, and that is by eliminating agencies that are not needed and are getting in the way of a solution,” Reagan explained. “By eliminating the Department of Education ... we can not only reduce the budget but ensure that local needs and preferences, rather than the wishes of Washington, determine the education of our children.”

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump echoed those themes. “A lot of people believe the Department of Education should just be eliminated — get rid of it,” Trump said in one of many similar statements about education as he was running for office. “If we don't eliminate it completely, we certainly need to cut its power and reach.” The solution, he suggested, would be to go back to what the Constitution explicitly requires — absolutely no federal role in education. “Education has to be run locally.”

Trump also slammed a dizzying array of federal programs run and pushed by the unconstitutional education bureaucracy. “Common Core, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top are all programs that take decisions away from parents and local school boards,” noted the then-candidate, drawing enthusiastic support from Americans nationwide. “These programs allow the progressives in the Department of Education to indoctrinate, not educate, our kids. What they are doing does not fit the American model of governance. I am totally against these programs and the Department of Education. It’s a disaster. We cannot continue to fail our children — the very future of this nation.”

Other co-sponsors of the bill have also lashed out at the federal boot-print on education. Representative Walter Jones (R-N.C.), for instance, said that the feds have no business meddling in education. “For years, I have advocated returning education policy to where it belongs — the state and local level,” explained the liberty-minded lawmaker who is currently suffering from health issues. “D.C. bureaucrats cannot begin to understand the needs of schools and its students on an individual basis. It is time that we get the feds out of the classroom, and terminate the Department of Education.”

Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) highlighted the disastrous effects of the federalized “education” system. “Education of our students should lie primarily with parents, teachers, and state and local officials who know how to meet their individual needs best,” he explained in a statement. “Since its inception, the Department of Education has grown into an unrecognizable federal beast, and its policies have helped foster Common Core across the country. It is time the one-size-fits-all approach by the federal government is ended and authority is returned to the local level.”

Other original co-sponsors of H.R. 899, which is the same bill number it had in the last Congress, include Representatives Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), and Randy Weber (R-Texas). Despite their opposition to all things Trump, no Democrats have yet joined the bandwagon to shut down the administration’s conduit into government schools across America. That may be because U.S. Education Secretary DeVos has not done much to actually uproot the dumbed-down progressive indoctrination model slammed by Trump.

The grassroots are gearing up to keep pushing to get the feds out of the classroom, though. The national organization known as United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE), which exists primarily to get D.C. out of education, has been an ardent supporter of shutting down the department. “We are very pleased to learn of Rep. Massie’s bill and we are grateful to bill sponsors for taking the lead on this important issue,” USPIE President Sheri Few explained in a statement sent to The New American, calling for Congress to shut down all federal education programs. The group's chapters across America are rallying to get it done. (This writer serves on the group’s advisory board).    

The New American is just about to release a Special Report exposing the federalized and even globalized government education system and the disaster it has unleashed on America. The report, “Rescuing Our Children,” exposes the sexualization of children, the dumbing down of America's youth, the illiteracy crisis, the globalist and anti-Christian indoctrination, and the history of how the U.S. education system was transformed into the present monstrosity. It also concludes with key recommendations — especially getting children out of the system in massive numbers, as quickly as possible, into the safe sanctuary of homeschools, Christian schools, and private schools.

As of now, prospects for H.R. 899 are uncertain. And even if it were to pass, it would not solve all of the mega-problems afflicting America’s educational system. But if Democrats in Congress truly wish to show their constituents they are serious about resisting Trump, getting behind this bill would be an excellent way to back up their hatred with constructive and bi-partisan action. Passing H.R. 899 would ensure that Trump and all future presidents — including some the Left will likely despise even more than Trump — would be unable to influence the education of American children. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.