effort to repeal and replace health care is generating headlines,
and the attempt to investigate our 45th President’s Russia
connections is of high importance. The specious claim that
President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, too, has generated
interest, largely because it is unprecedented for one President to
accuse another of a felony, and because 45 has absolutely no proof
that President Obama has done any such thing. While President
Obama, with a multimillion dollar book deal tucked into his
pocket, is living his life like its golden, 45 has indulged in
several public tantrums, with episodic moments of calm. Too many
of us have been riveted to the drama, while there is a more quiet
revolution happening in Congress, with the approval of the White
has been an attack on education, with legislation being introduced
as early as January 23, 2017. That legislation, HR 610, is titled
the Choices in Education Act. It would repeal the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act of 1965, and limits the authority of the
Department of Education so that it should only award block grants
to states. It also sets up a voucher system. If states do not
comply with the rules of this legislation, they would be
ineligible for block grants.
legislation would also repeal nutritional standards for the
national school breakfast and lunch programs, which were set by
the No Hungry Kids Act of 2012. Schools would no longer be
required, as First Lady Michelle Obama advocated, to increase the
availability of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods at
lunch. Are we going back to the days when Ronald Reagan declared
that ketchup should be considered a vegetable? Seems like it!
1965 legislation was passed as civil rights legislation, providing
more opportunities to a broader range of children, including
disabled children (with requirements to make provisions for
disabled children). It requires reporting around issues like the
achievement gap, bullying, and underperforming schools. All of
these provisions would be eliminated if HR 610 were passed.
Actually, the entire public education sector could be eliminated
if HR 610 is passed.
to be bested by legislation that would limit the reach of the
Department of Education, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) has introduce a
sentence-long piece of legislation. HR 899 reads, in total, “The
Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”
Of course, Massie hasn’t put the thought into considering
how things like Pell grants would be administered, or would he
eliminate those, too? HBCUs are part of the education budget.
What would that mean for us? The bill has been cosponsored by
several of Massie’s colleagues. It speaks to a national
antipathy to education, so that even as we hunger for jobs, and
elected 45 so that he could “create” them, we are
prepared to limit pathways to job preparation. Efforts to
eliminate the Department of Education are, at best, shortsighted.
though he nominated the extremely limited Betsy DeVos as Secretary
of Education, 45’s pre-campaign policy book advocated the
elimination of the Department of Education. Is the hidden agenda
to run the department into the ground to the point that
elimination is the only option? One-note Betsy, with her focus on
school choice, must be gratified, especially by HR 610.
Department of Education is one of the lowest-spending government
agencies. Eliminating it could save taxpayers more than $68
billion enough, perhaps, to “build a wall”. Of course
45 is finding lots of other fund sources for the wall, with
proposed cuts from the Coast Guard and The State Department.
good news about this odious proposed legislation is that it has
not passed. It has been referred to the House Education and the
Workforce Committee, and after vetted by the committee, must also
be approved by the Senate. But these bills need not even come out
of committee if opponents are vocal. Check out edworkforce.house.gov to find out who is on this committee.
Call and write them and tell them that you support the 1965
legislation, as most recently amended, and that the Department of
Education should not be eliminated. This is an opportunity to
unleash our voices and resist Trumpism.
big headlines are riveting, but we need to look at the fine print.
If you spent an hour reading the Congressional Record and looking
at the devilment these Republicans are up to daily, you would be
repulsed. Let’s turn repulsion into resistance.