In a time when a typical bill can be as long and thick as an old school phone book – or so long that you “have to pass it to find out what is in it”, the brief, co-sponsored bill to end the Department of Education was refreshing in more ways than one. H.R. 899 is only a sentence long, and reads:
“The Department of Education Shall Terminate on December 31, 2018.”
This brief but important bill seeks to terminate the Department of Education, and was sponsored by Kentucky Republican Representative Thomas Massie. Last week, two additional representatives signed on to H.R. 899; Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Ralph Norman (R-SC).
According to a statement by Jessica Cahill, Ralph Normans communications director, “Congressman Norman believes that parents, teachers, and principals should dictate how students learn. Education policy should be handled at the state and local level, not by 4,000 un-elected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.”
In addition to supporting this bill, Todd Rokita is also the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Education, including early childhood, elementary and secondary education. He is also a contender for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Joe Donnelly.
More Representative Sign on to H.R. 899
The short and to the point bill to end the Department of Education was sponsored by Representative Thomas Massie in February. According to Massie:
“Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development,” he added. “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.”
Besides Rokita and Norma, current co-sponsors of the bill include Republican Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Jody Hice (Ga.), Walter Jones (N.C.) and Raúl R. Labrador (Idaho).
Returning Education to the States and the People
According to Breitbart, Rokita spoke about his commitment to stopping Common Core and allowing parents to make choices when it comes to their children’s education.
“In my role, I have focused on returning power to the states, stopping Common Core and promoting school choice to foster competition and ensure all students have access to quality education regardless of their parent’s income. When our bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed and signed into law, we started the greatest devolution of power to the states in decades. Ultimately, our goals should still be to limit the federal government to only those duties enumerated within the Constitution, so it is right to continue to take steps in that direction.”
The Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) was designed to eliminate Common Core, but is controversial in the state because it simply removed the Common Core requirements with equally restrictive requirements. For many state residents and groups, the ESSA simply did not go far enough or offer enough choice for parents.
By supporting an end to Federal involvement in education, Rokita and others hope to return more power to states and to parents. When parents have more choices when it comes to education, kids benefit in a variety of ways. For areas with failing schools, the ability to send a child to a school that has more opportunities and is safer to attend could improve those student’s overall chances of success and give them more opportunities in life.
H.R.899 is about more than just ending overreaching Federal involvement in classrooms. By allowing states to proscribe their own rules and set their own goals, decisions that are best for students and families can be implemented. In the current setup, the Federal government dictates One-Size-Fits-All solutions for a diverse group of settings and areas throughout the United States. Returning the management of education to the states ensures that schools can have access to the programs that are best for the people actually living in the district and area and that programs can be adapted to suit the unique needs to the people living in the state.
This bill is not the first time the Department of Education has come under fire; less than two years after it was founded, Ronald Reagan proposed closing the Department in favor of giving responsibility back to the local school systems and parents.
~ Conservative Zone