President Obama’s idea of “freeing” states from No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) onerous federal regulations is severely misguided, to say the least, as it translates into using unilateral action to re-write federal education law.
This abuse of executive authority was first announced last September, when the White House disclosed that the Department of Education would grant waivers to exempt states from meeting NCLB standards. And the President announced today that it is granting NCLB waivers to 10 states: Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
However, as Heritage points out, Obama’s strategy is rather skewed:
The Administration argues that the NCLB waivers are necessary because Congress has failed to rewrite the flawed law, and states can’t wait any longer for relief from NCLB’s onerous provisions. But the White House’s strings-attached waivers will only grow federal control over education, while weakening the authority of states and local school districts.
NCLB is arguably one of the biggest failures of the Bush administration, but granting the federal government – more specifically, the Executive Branch – more control over dictating education standards is simply absurd.
… imagine how that burden will grow when states have to begin complying with the new conditions layered on them through this extra-legislative process. One of the most concerning conditions attached to the waivers is the requirement for states to adopt common standards and tests or have their state university approve their standards. None of the states have opted for the latter, as the Obama Administration’s many previous carrots and sticks ($4.35 billion in Race to the Top grants and potential Title I dollars) have already pushed them to begin implementing the Common Core national standards and tests.
The solution is obvious: Bulldoze the Department of Education.