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Rep. Justin Amash Co-Sponsors Bill to Eliminate U.S. Education Department

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) is a co-sponsor of a recently introduced bill that would eliminate the federal education department.

Amash’s office said in a statement reported by Fox17:

Our Constitution reserves the power over education to the states, and Rep. Amash has consistently supported putting parents and teachers back in control. While relatively little federal money for public education comes from Washington, federal bureaucracy and mandates reduce the total amount of resources available to public schools and cannot properly account for the individualized needs of students.

The measure, H.R. 899, introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), is only one sentence long and states, “The Department of Education Shall Terminate on December 31, 2018.”

“Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development,” Massie said. “States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students.”

Massie launched the bill on the same day Betsy DeVos – also from Michigan – was confirmed as U.S. Education Secretary. According to mlive.com, the timing of the bill was not intended as a response to DeVos’s confirmation, but to the greater issue of federal control of education.

In a Facebook post in November, Amash – a longtime defender of parental and local control of education – congratulated DeVos on her nomination, yet still expressed his hope for a return to local control of education.

“I look forward to working with her to empower parents and local communities, advance school choice and competition, protect the right of homeschooling, and stop federal mandates and harmful initiatives like Race to the Top and Common Core,” he said.

Amash voted against the massive new federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), confirming what many education scholars have said about the law – that it “further entrenches the federal government in education.”

In 2014, Amash and a coalition of 42 conservative members of Congress introduced a measure that condemned the federal government’s overreach in local school districts through Common Core.

“I’m proud of the many parents, local school districts, and states that have resisted Common Core,” Amash said in a statement. “I want them to know that they have partners in Congress working to roll back this harmful policy.”

“The federal government should not impose Common Core standards and curriculum on our kids,” he added. “We have a strong tradition in this country of parental control of education, which fosters competition and diverse approaches to learning. That tradition is embodied in the Tenth Amendment, which is supposed to bar this kind of federal interference.”

Other co-sponsors of the measure to eliminate the federal education department are: Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID).

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