Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).
(CNSNews.com) -- On the day that Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the Secretary of Education, House Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced a short bill to abolish the Department of Education, which was established under the Carter administration in 1980.
Massie's legislation, HR 899, simply states, "The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018."
In a Feb. 7 statement, Massie said, “Neither Congress nor the President, through his appointees, has the constitutional authority to dictate how and what our children must 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," said the congressman, who holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT.
Betsy DeVos, a proponent of school choice, is the newly confirmed Secretary of Education. (AP)
One of the bill's co-sponsors, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), said, “For years, I have advocated returning education policy to where it belongs -- the state and local level. 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.”
Massie's statement further noted, "The Department of Education began operating in 1980. On September 24, 1981 in his Address to the Nation on the Program for Economic Recovery, President Ronald Reagan said, 'As a third step, we propose to dismantle two Cabinet Departments, Energy and Education. Both Secretaries are wholly in accord with this. Some of the activities in both of these departments will, of course, be continued either independently or in other areas of government. 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."
"Now, we don't need an Energy Department to solve our basic energy problem," said Reagan. "As long as we let the forces of the marketplace work without undue interference, the ingenuity of consumers, business, producers, and inventors will do that for us."
"Similarly, education is the principal responsibility of local school systems, teachers, parents, citizen boards, and State governments," said the former president. "By eliminating the Department of Education less than two years after it was created, we cannot only reduce the budget but ensure that local needs and preferences, rather than the wishes of Washington, determine the education of our children.”