Article first appeared at The Washington Standard.
The united States Constitution grants absolutely zero authority in the matter of education to the central government. Article ten of the Bill of Rights states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” So, why are so many conservatives cheering the confirmation of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to the position of an unconstitutional department rather than being outraged that it continues almost 40 years after it was illegally created? Congressman Thomas Massie is taking it sitting down and has introduced legislation to abolish the unconstitutional department, and it only took one sentence to write it.
For starters, let’s listen to whom conservatives champion most, President Ronald Reagan. Just two years after the Department of Education was created, Reagan addressed the nation on September 24, 1981 and said the following.
“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. 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. By eliminating the Department of Education less than 2 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.”
It is my opinion that this is why we often lose. We compromise principles we should not. We justify doing what is illegal and lawless for the sake of progressivism or incrementalism. It doesn’t work. The longer something continues, the more comfortable people become with its continuance.
To that end, I’m happy to hear to hear that Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie (R) has introduced legislation to abolish the Department of Education.
“The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”
That is the only sentence in the bill.
“Neither Congress nor the President, through his appointees, has the constitutional authority to dictate how and what our children must learn,” said Massie on the day Betsy DeVos was scheduled to be confirmed by the US Senate as Secretary of Education. “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. 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.”