Florida Continues to Fight Federal Overreach in Education

Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) just reintroduced a bill that consists of a single powerful sentence: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2023.” It’s refreshing to see a succinct and straightforward bill that our representatives can read in its entirety before being expected to vote it into law, but that is only one message this bill sends about the current state of big government. 

Our founders established a decentralized government to serve citizens who are empowered and responsible for their nation. But that government has been steadily expanding. Power is continually being removed from the local and state levels, and handed to unelected bureaucrats in various federal departments intended to regulate every aspect of American life. 

Massie is not the first to suggest the termination of big governmental departments. President Ronald Reagan called to “dismantle” the Department of Education, saying, “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.” He also warned that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” This has never been more evident than it is today. It has become necessary to shrink the size and cost of our ever-expanding government and return power to the states and citizens. 

Last year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed a historic bill to return the power of education to parents. The bill safeguards parents’ fundamental right to make decisions regarding the intellectual and moral education their children receive. The government was never intended to have the power to dictate how or what the children of our nation are taught. That responsibility should rest on parents. And because of the diversity of thought across the nation, individual states should be empowering their local parents. 

States across the nation are taking back the power of education for their citizens by introducing and passing legislation to expand school choice opportunities for parents who want a say in where and what their children are learning. The intent is to fund students rather than systems so that parents are empowered to facilitate the best possible education for their children, whether in a public-school setting or by some other means.

COVID illuminated the problem of big government restrictions on parental rights in education. Schools across the nation were arbitrarily shut down based on hyperpartisan federal agency recommendations, displacing millions of American school children. Parents found themselves helpless in the face of big government power over their children’s education, and they were forced to watch as their children suffered devastating educational and social losses.

Parents are becoming increasingly concerned about what their children are being taught in the government schools they are geographically obligated to attend. This has led to a national wave of support for state-implemented school choice programs. Parents want their tax dollars to fund students, not failing government schools. 

Public schools are routinely failing to educate our children, and it will affect the future of this nation. In Chicago alone, 55 schools reported that not a single student was grade-level proficient in math or reading, even after billions of state and federal tax dollars were dumped into these failing schools. Parents want schools to step up and work for families to thoroughly educate their children rather than being handed taxpayer funding regardless of poor performance. 

In addition to concerns about the quality of their children’s education, parents are becoming increasingly aware of the critical race and gender theory being promoted in schools. Despite failing to teach children basic academics like reading, math, and science, this woke ideology is promoted and sometimes even enforced by the federal government to promote their radical agendas. 

Just last year, 22 states sued the Biden Administration for threatening to withhold citizens’ tax dollars used as federal funding for school lunch programs if schools did not implement the administration’s radical gender policies. The federal government was willing to hold tax dollars hostage to force their own agenda because they don’t care about the wishes of the citizens. They only care about their own power. 

Florida has paved the way in addressing this issue with House Bill 1557, the Parental Rights In Education Act. While the mainstream media gaslit the American public by using disparaging and misleading nicknames for the bill, parents—both in Florida and across the nation—overwhelmingly support the content of the bill. Parents want to be aware of and involved in what their children are being taught, both intellectually and morally. That is not an outrageous position. Parents should be empowered to take responsibility for the education of their children. Recently ranked number one in the country for parental empowerment in education, Florida is showing the nation what it means to return the power to the people. 

Our founders established a government for the people and by the people. Over the years, however, politicians have capitalized on every opportunity to seize power and convince citizens to relinquish their rights and privileges in exchange for empty promises and platitudes. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” It’s time to remind our expanding government that the power is with the American people. We must safeguard our nation for the rising generation.

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