A GOP lawmaker has reintroduced a one-phrase bill in Congress aimed at dismantling the Department of Education.
Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) argues that the federal government has no constitutional authority to "dictate how and what" America's children must learn.
"Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, DC, 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. 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."
That's what the Kentucky lawmaker said two years ago when he introduced H.R. 899. His argument was longer than the content of the bill itself, which consisted of one sentence: "The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018." Massie reintroduced the legislation at the end of January, revising only the year to "2020."
Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute tells OneNewsNow that Massie's bill is for real.
"But anyone who seriously contemplates the Constitution and contemplates what the federal government has been able to achieve in education would say 'Yes,' this is a serious proposal – because it is a serious problem," he offers.
McCluskey says many people are undecided or don't care about the constitutionality question but are still bothered by too much government intrusion in education.
"I think there are a lot of people who still think the federal government went too far because they were really micromanaging how basically every public school in America ran," he adds.
According to comments from Massie, the DOE employs 4,500 "bureaucrats" with an average annual salary of $105,000 – and that, he says, irritates people in his home state who have to sponsor bake sales just to purchase copier paper for their classrooms.
Because the House is now controlled by Democrats, McCluskey and other observers are doubtful Massie's bill will go anywhere. It currently rests with the House Committee on Education and Labor.
The Department of Education was established in 1979, during the last year of the Carter administration. During the 1980 presidential campaign, GOP candidate Ronald Reagan called for the elimination of the DOE; while unsuccessful in doing that, he significantly reduced the department's budget.