It’s unlikely the bill will pass, which is unfortunate. There was no federal Department of Education until the Carter administration – and American education on every level has fared worse since that department’s creation. In the private sector, such an organization would have been killed by the marketplace already, but in the public sector it continues, wasting ever more money on failure and amassing ever more power in Washington because It’s Needed More Than Ever amid the crisis it itself caused.
Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) is joining seven other House members as a co-sponsor of a bill that would terminate the federal education department.
In a statement to Breitbart News, Abraham, a physician, explains the U.S. Education Department “has become more interested in protecting the interests of unions, not the students it is supposed to serve.”
“It’s time for that to change, and the best way to initiate that change is to return education policy decision making to where it belongs, at the state and local levels,” he adds.
Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie (R) introduced the bill, H.R. 899, in February. The measure consists of only one sentence: “The Department of Education Shall Terminate on December 31, 2018.”
It would be an excellent idea to pick a large federal agency or department which has abjectly failed in its mission and kill it. This was the thinking behind Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s promise to kill the departments of Education, Energy and Commerce back in 2012. Perry, of course, had a brain freeze during a GOP primary debate and couldn’t remember that the Department of Energy was one of the three; commentators on the Left got a kick out of the fact that’s the department Perry was appointed to head by President Trump.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has not made many public statements about killing the Education Department, which hasn’t stopped some of those same commentators from predicting that’s her billet. Although this isn’t their accusation; they allege that DeVos will “destroy education” in America, which is absurd.
There is little reason to believe the Department of Education, which has overseen the decline in math and reading performance of American children compared to other industrialized nations while contributing to an explosion in costs, and at the same time building a bubble in higher education upon a foundation of unsustainable student loans dooming a generation of Americans into what can best be described as indentured servitude, would begin to serve a positive role in its designated function. DeVos will seek to create a far greater role for school choice, which is laudable, but how executable those plans will be given the makeup of the department’s bureaucracy and the expectation she’ll be fought at every turn, is a question.
Massie envisions a different role for the Secretary in his bill.
“What I would propose is – over the course of the next two years – Betsy DeVos, the president, and Congress should work to either devolve those programs to the states, or transfer the authority for those programs to other departments,” he explained. “Ideally, all of these programs would be administered at the state level, including the authority for the tax collection. In fact, some of these programs could be done at the local school district level.”
“I like to point out that there are 4,500 bureaucrats in the Department of Education, and their average salary is $105,000 a year,” Massie said. “I’ve seen that irritate a lot of people back in Kentucky who have to have bake sales to buy copier paper for their classrooms.”
Regardless of what happens to all of the various programs, what my bill unambiguously does is to free up that money that would be going to all of those bureaucrats. And the money that’s wasted there is not the worst part of it. The worst part of it is they control 10 percent of education funding, but – through that 10 percent of education funding – they control the curriculum and what and how our teachers are teaching.
“So, my bill is not aimed at that 10 percent,” he said. “I don’t seek to reduce educational spending. I’d like to see the control of that 10 percent go back to the states so that these 4,500 bureaucrats aren’t controlling the entire curriculum back in our schools in Kentucky.”