Congressional attempt to abolish Education Department unsettling

US Department Of Education

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is deeply concerned about a recently introduced congressional bill to abolish the Department of Education.

HR 899, proposed by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., calls for eliminating the Department of Education and would be profoundly harmful for ensuring access to a quality public education.

Originally established in 1867, and reauthorized as a cabinet-level position in 1980 under the Carter administration, the Department of Education’s role has long been to promote student achievement and prepare for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. Now, theocrats who wish to destroy our secular public educational system are attempting to dismantle that vision.

Across the country, lawmakers have already started to tear down public education at the state level. FFRF issued a statement last week spotlighting 11 states this year that have introduced or already passed expansive voucher programs to strip public schools of funding and funnel those tax dollars to religious schools. Now, at a federal level, a similar scheme is under consideration.

By attacking public schools as places where only the most radical ideas are spread, lawmakers and some governors seek to falsely paint public schools as a place where children are indoctrinated with misguided ideologies. In advocating for his bill, Massie said: “Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development.” He made clear his desire to privatize education across the country. “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,” he stated. These words, of course, are a dog whistle to religious zealots who wish to profit off of taxpayers while discriminating in admissions, banning books, indoctrinating with religion and stifling any mention of racism or LGBTQ diversity in our population.

“States have already started to undo their public education systems in favor of privatization,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “Doing the same thing at the federal level would go against everything that we stand for as a nation.”

FFRF strongly opposes any legislation that seeks to eliminate or weaken public education. FFRF urges lawmakers to prioritize the needs of public students and education — and to ensure that all students have access to a quality education, free from discrimination and religious bias.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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