Katie Kieffer

Tim Tebow and I both blitzed the Department of Education; we were both homeschooled. Tebow became the first homeschooler to win the Heisman Trophy and he’s now an NFL starting quarterback. And, as someone who was homeschooled through eighth grade and attended a private high school before graduating from college, I personally know that young people don’t need the federal government running their education.

I think American children and their parents deserve more than an unconstitutional, one-size-fits-all federal education system. I think local governments and individual parents have the constitutional right to decide how and where children go to school. Let’s eliminate the Department of Education.

The Department of Education is unconstitutional because it violates the Tenth Amendment, which 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.” There is no federal mandate for public education in the Constitution, so no one has a constitutional right to an education subsidized by federal taxpayer dollars.

To be exact, since the Constitution does not mention “education” as a federal function, Congress should have voted to amend the Constitution in order to give the federal government the power to regulate education. Since Congress never amended the Constitution, the federal Department of Education remains unconstitutional.

The Department of Education was initially a minor office within the government. However, President Jimmy Carter decided that he wanted to be in charge of education. So, on October 17, 1979, he signed a law promoting the Department to cabinet-level and placing education under the purview of the executive branch.

Initially, most Republicans understood that Carter’s move was unconstitutional. Carter’s successor, President Reagan, tried to eliminate the Department of Education but the Democrats in Congress blocked him. The CATO Institute reports that in 1996, the GOP’s party platform still included this belief: "The Federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the market place. This is why we will abolish the Department of Education."

After Reagan, some Republicans began swerving off the constitutional path. Former President George W. Bush proposed and signed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. This bill helped double the size of the Department of Education and NCLB’s requirements for federal funding effectively seized more authority from States and individuals.


Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is a columnist and political commentator. She runs KatieKieffer.com. Kieffer is the author of the forthcoming book "LET ME BE CLEAR."