As debate continues to surround newly confirmed Department of Education secretary Betsy DeVos, at least one congressman is taking steps to do something far more controversial than installing the billionaire education reformer.
In fact, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) unveiled a bill on Tuesday that would actually do away with the Department of Education entirely. And rather than coming in the form of a long and arduous document, the proposed law is comprised of simply one sentence, which reads: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”
The bill — H.R. 899 — was unveiled on the day DeVos just barely squeaked by to become the nation’s next education secretary, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the final Senate vote that broke a 50-50 tie for her nomination.
Massie released a detailed statement explaining why he’d like to dismantle the Education Department.
I appreciate the Senate's diligence & am honored to serve as @usedgov Secretary. Let's improve options & outcomes for all US students.
— Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVos) February 7, 2017
”Neither Congress nor the President, through his appointees, has the constitutional authority to dictate how and what our children must learn,” the congressman said. “Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development. States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students.”
Massie went on to say that “schools should be accountable” and that parents should have the right to choose the proper education for their kids, whether that’s private, public or homeschooling options. At the core of his argument is bringing educational control back to the local and state levels — and seven co-sponsors, including Rep. Raul Labrador, agree.
“I’ve always been a proponent of empowering parents, teachers and local school boards who best know our children and their needs,” Labrador said in a statement. “Eliminating the U.S. Department of Education is the most important step we in Congress can take in returning decision making to the local level.”
This isn’t the first time politicians have called for the Department of Education to be axed, with former President Ronald Reagan pushing the issue back in 1981, just one year after the agency was formed.
Reagan initially called for the closure of both the Energy and Education Departments in order to “shrink the size and cost of big government,” but, according to WITI-TV, he later abandoned that plan due to fierce opposition in Congress.
The Department of Education currently has more than 4,000 employees, and multiple subagencies; dismantling the agency would not be an easy task.
Other Must-Read Stories: