Thomas Jefferson said, "That all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people. To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible to any definition."
The education of our children is not a power delegated to the federal government under the Constitution. This power rests exclusively with parents, local school districts, and state legislatures. I believe the No Child Left Behind Act gives too much authority to bureaucrats at the Department of Education and wastes billions of our tax dollars each year. State legislatures should have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to accept the dollars and the mandates tied to federal education grant programs.
I am introducing the Restoration of State Sovereignty Act to empower states by giving them the opportunity to accept or reject federal grant money. State legislatures should consent to federal grant allocations, as well as their obligations, just like a patient consents to a medical procedure.
I have supported the following legislation in the 111th Congress:
* H.R. 1717, the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) Act. This bill would allow a state to submit a declaration of intent to the U.S. Secretary of Education to assume full responsibility for developing and carrying-out its education policies and priorities. The state would be able to consolidate and use its federal education dollars without complying with federal mandates.
* H.R. 1205, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. This bill would provide for the establishment of ABLE accounts, similar to 529 college savings plans, which would allow up to $500,000 in savings exempted from federal taxes. ABLE accounts would supplement benefits provided through private insurance and other forms of financial aid.
H.R. 2274, the Priorities in Education Spending Act (PESA). This bill would repeal 68 education programs authorized by the Departments of Education, Labor, Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency. The federal government's control of education programs across multiple agencies has resulted in duplication, waste, and inefficiency and has tied the hands of local school officials who must follow strict requirements to receive federal money. The bill would save an estimated $1.4 billion, without reducing Title I, IDEA, or Pell funding.