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  • Morning Bell: White House Rules by Fiat Once Again

    In the shadow of yesterday’s disastrous Wall Street meltdown and President Barack Obama’s address to the nation, a lesser-noticed piece of news emerged from the Obama Administration: By executive fiat, the White House is once again circumventing Congress in the name of advancing the President’s agenda.

    It’s a story we’ve heard before. Where President Obama can’t legislate, he will use executive branch action to accomplish his agenda. In the past, he has applied that tactic in the auto bailoutEPA regulations, and Obamacare. Now he’s using this approach to remake No Child Left Behind (NCLB)—the most significant K-12 education law—by granting states conditional waivers from the onerous provisions of NCLB in exchange for adopting a yet-to-be-specified set of executive branch education policy priorities. The news came in an announcement from the Department of Education:

    With the new school year fast approaching and still no bill to reform the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration will provide a process for states to seek relief from key provisions of the law, provided that they are willing to embrace education reform.

    The Department of Education is taking this unilateral action in order to insulate schools from NCLB’s unintended consequences. NCLB requires all students to be proficient in English and math by 2014, a worthwhile but unrealistic goal that is placing federal heat on schools. As a result, states and local school leaders have been focused on compliance with Washington, not the needs of the children they teach. Heritage’s Lindsey Burke explains that “the waiver route is a bad precedent that neither provides long-term relief for states nor solves the underlying problem with accountability, which would be more effective if directed to parents, not bureaucrats.” Burke writes:

    Circumventing Congress by granting states conditions-based waivers will exacerbate Washington’s decades-long history of failure at improving educational outcomes. In fact, the Administration’s NCLB “blueprint” is NCLB on steroids—ballooning the federal role in education by calling for resource equity among schools and national standards and tests.

    One might think that if there is a problem with NCLB, then the President would look to Congress to change the law. But the legislative process on this 600-page law hasn’t moved fast enough for his liking, so the Administration has resorted to the quick-fix waivers to make the change it believes in. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) came to the White House’s defense, blaming House Republicans for slowing down the legislative process and saying that it’s justifiable for the President to act on his own accord:

    This Congress faces real challenges reaching bipartisan, bicameral agreement on anything. Given the ill-advised and partisan bills that the House majority has chosen to move, I understand Secretary Duncan’s decision to proceed with a waiver package to provide some interim relief while Congress finishes its work.

    Harkin isn’t the only one on the left to lament the slowness of the legislative process. On ABC’s This Week on Sunday, pundit Cokie Roberts bemoaned the fact that America’s separation of powers created the circumstances leading to Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating: “[T]he problem that we have here is the Constitution of the United States of America which actually does require people to come together from different perspectives whether it’s divided government or not. We have divided branches of government under any circumstance.”

    The White House is well aware of the separation of powers “problem.” In a press conference yesterday, White House press secretary Jay Carney was pressed on where President Barack Obama’s “sense of urgency” is in light of Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating and whether the President should call Congress back into session to address the problem. His response? “The reality that we live in is that this is — as set up by the founders — is a government that has different branches with different amounts of power, and we need to work together to get significant things done, and we’ll continue to do that.”

    Though Carney says the White House will “work together to get significant things done,” the Administration’s actions on education this week aren’t reflective of that sentiment. In fact, they fly squarely in the face of proposals in Congress to restore state and local control over education and to begin reducing the federal role in education. Burke explains that the House Education and the Workforce Committee has completed significant work on major proposals to restore state control over education and put power in the hands of those closer to the student. But putting power in the hands of the people is not the Obama Administration’s goal. Instead, it wants to extend Washington’s tentacles into local schools.

    The federal government has totally failed to improve America’s educational outcomes, and now the Obama Administration has grabbed the wheel of government and is steering us further down a dead-end road. Instead of more Washington red tape, states need more control over their schools. Conditional waivers for NCLB aren’t the answer. Instead, Congress should allow states to completely opt out of NCLB through proposals that are approved by Congress. Meanwhile, the White House might want to take a lesson in constitutional governance.

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    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    71 Responses to Morning Bell: White House Rules by Fiat Once Again

    1. Coming soon!…re education camp to a neighborhood near you.

      • Doug Whaley says:

        The fact Obama rules by executive directives should not surprise anyone. This is a gift to one of his favorite unions and money suppliers. Doing this continues the dumbing down of the country which liberals need in order to retain power. For the most part smart educated people won't support liberal policies because they can see the futility, destructiveness and immoral results of these idiotic policies.

        Unfortunately, the effectiveness of this dumbing down policy is getting results. Why else have liberal policies dominated politics for so long?

      • Kip says:

        Abolish the DOE!!!!!

    2. Dr. Pete Kleff says:

      This would make tears of joy stream down the face of Mussolini.

    3. Annie says:

      Is there really no way to get these clowns out of the white house and Washington before 2012?

    4. Frank says:

      A bankrupt USA (where we are quickly headed to) will lead to a bankrupt Dept. of Education & Presidency. Fiat White House rules won't be funded. That is part of the "bright side" of bankruptcy. All this Unconstitutional big government will have to pass away soon. Sadly, it couldn't have been done in an orderly, rational manner. Dumbed-down America wouldn't listen.

    5. Robert, TX says:

      Oh, here we go again "big, bad Obama, Obama the big bad wolf." The man has ZERO opposition and you expect him to do our work? I suppose we could impeach him (nice idea), yet if we cannot find a ball carrier to carry a pathetic $100 billion in spending cuts; or one to stand fast against the debt limit, impeachment is just a dream. NCLB is one of three largest federal mandates in the history of this nation that little Bush, big Bush and LBJ have laid on the nation. And you think Rick Perry is going to do something?

    6. Mary Hill says:

      Someone please tell me…what is the difference between unlawful and unconstitutional? Or, is there none?

      • captelaine says:

        Congress passes LAWS… those laws can be broken… or 'unlawfully ignored'… The law might also be UNCONSTITUTIONAL… which means it is NULL AND VOID and does not need to be obeyed… Just because Congress passes a law, does not mean it is Constitutional… some powers the Federal Government does not have.. on the States or the People have. Got it?

    7. victor barney says:

      New Flash: u.s. is the evil empire! Watch!

    8. Lloyd Scallan says:

      When will American realize it's not about "education"! It's about Obama becoming this nation's first dictator. This fraud intends to complete his aganda to destroy this nation by any means possible. How much more of our American way of life are we willing to loose before we stop this madness.

    9. @davedu4 says:

      Obviously, NCLB was a disaster waiting to happen. It is time to eliminate the Dept of Education. Allowing the States to be responsible and make decisions for themselves on education is the only way for the US to reclaim its former glory in terms of schooling. You'll get market adjustment in the form of state to state migration based on quality of education and, ultimately, a better product.

      • Robert, TX says:

        Dave, one of the best posts I have seen all year. Take your third sentence and also add the words welfare, housing, medicaid and law enforcement and then we would really have our country back. Let the education nuts, welfare bums and free ride crowd move to their favorite state – and let those states PAY for it all – by themselves. CA, OR, WA, NY, NJ, MA, CT, MN and MI would not last six months.

    10. Is not it the agenda of Republicans to reform eduction by privatizing them?

      • captelaine says:

        No… but nice try. The Republicans want SCHOOL CHOICE… kind of like Liberals want a choice to have an abortion… Republicans want parents (even POOR people) to have a choice to attend a GOOD school not a failing public school. Got it now?

    11. Matt - Paoli says:

      Yet another impeachable offense — blatantly violating laws passed by Congress. Obama could have an argument that the law is unconstitutional (i.e., federal government has not Constutional authority to regulate local schools). But that is exactly what the conservative House Republicans believe and are indeed willing to 'fix' by totally overturning NCLB (along with federal entanglements in education in general). Of course, Obama wants to go the other direction and take more control, so his defense could not argue that he is violating the rule of law not out of sense of constitutional principles (which would impel him to bring forth an argument to the courts and not act unilaterally any way), but acting in direct opposition to current law and the Constitution.

    12. Nancy says:

      No big surprise here. The President and his cronies look at the Constitution as an impediment to their communist agenda. This is one scary regime.

    13. 1600 Watch says:

      The United States has lost its Republic and has become a functional dictatorship. The sad thing is that as the Sheeple gaze out from between the rotted wooden slats of their filthy paddock they believe they are free. Marxist conditioning is a powerful thing and stops otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people from connecting even two tiny dots positioned very close together. Government is controlled by corporate monopolies and the monopolies are protected by government. I call it Corporatism.

      One wonders if re-education is even necessary?

    14. Jeff Cooper says:

      Creating waivers to NCLB is the president's way of ignoring the problems in education, which are some poor teachers educating in poor school systems. So, by lowering the bar, per se, the president is allowing the education system to continue on with the status quo. While NCLB is not perfect, it sets standards and provides means to track the progress of students, teachers, and schools. These waivers will harm the ambitions of students who wish to learn but are being held back by inadequate education systems.

    15. S. Hayes says:

      "Congress should allow states to completely opt out of NCLB through proposals that are approved by Congress." Here again, Heritage is suggesting that there still be strings from Congress. The thing to do is close the Department of Education and return all education responsibilities to the States, and cut federal taxes accordingly. By any measure, the DoE is a disaster and has wasted billions of dollars and millions of lives, and is a total failure. So much for centralized planning. This department has never been anything but a sop to the NEA and the mind-numbing Left.

    16. Lorenzo Quijano says:

      If the good Senator, Mr. Harkin, is so agreeable that the President should 'act on his own accord', then the Senator should resign his seat given he is willing to cede the representation of his constituents to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We don't need him there. Or for that matter, anyone else who agrees with him. There is a reason for the three branches of our government.

    17. Richard J. Teti says:

      We have to get all levels of government (Federal, State and Local) out of education. Parents should be responsible for their children's education. Once we have a separation of education and state true educators can be entrepreneurial and start their own schools instead of paying union dues. If teachers embrace this concept a system of competitive private schools with curriculums ranging from general education to specific specialties where individuals can foster and refine their own God given talents will develop and grow. Quality will go up and cost will go down and we will have a system that promotes individual freedom and the natural division of labor that civilization so desperately needs to prosper. Until this happens we will continue to generate collectivist mediocrity and social decay.

    18. Beth says:

      Where has the focus on reading, writing and arithmetic gone? For fifty plus years we have given "them" (the feds) our children and most do not even know who the first president was, how the three branches of govt work, etc. not to mention that Pi is not a button on a calculator, and forget grammar and spelling or how to use a dictionary or thesaurus. More fed control equals no education for the public school children and the dumbing of America continues. No wonder the current president utilizies the executive fiat approach. He is a constitutional scholar and knows exactly how to circumvent the working together of three branches of govt. He knows that by the time any lawsuit filed against any of his fiat proclamations/orders reaches the Supreme Court of the U.S. he may have died of old age and the Congress has no gut.s and will not stop him as he makes legislation that is their role in the 3 branches of govt.

    19. ThomNJ says:

      "NCLB requires all students to be proficient in English and math by 2014, a worthwhile but unrealistic goal" – talk about low expectations!

    20. Lorenzo Quijano says:

      If the good Senator agrees that the President should 'act on his own accord' then he should resign his seat as he is willing to cede the representation of his constituents to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There is a reason why the three branches of government was designed.

    21. Ray Reed says:

      It is clear that many on the left side of the political spectrum simply do not understand both the wisdom and intent of the founders of our system of government.

      As Thomas Payne wrote in "Common Sense", the greatest threat to the individual's liberties and rights is government. The intent of our founders was to provide a system of government that would be strictly limited in it's scope and reaches an understanding that there were only a few core aspects of the national government that are best left to it.

      Things such as national defense and interstate commerce are best handled at the federal level. Subjects such as these are fairly easy for the individual states to come to agreement on.

      By comparison other things are best left to the states. Things like education where New York's views may differ widely from, say, those of Texas.

      However, most on the left do not truly appreciate individuals and their rights and liberties. They, instead, are more about "the collective" and the suppression of the individual for the "collective good." They do not care if Texas disagrees with New York.

    22. jan says:

      Mr. Clinton was impeached for less than this.

    23. Gary says:

      Sometimes the legislative process needs to be slowed down, as in developing a bill and giving those charged with voting on it a chance to actually read it and ask questions about its content.

      Did we not learn anything from the forced passage of Obamacare? Rather than taking time to develop a well-thought course of action, must we repeat the Pelosi mantra of "hurry up and pass this bill so we can figure out what's in it"?

    24. Gary says:

      Sometimes the legislative process needs to be slowed down, as in developing a bill and giving those charged with voting on it a chance to actually read it and ask questions about its content.

    25. ClydeB says:

      When will some entity, such as the Heritage Foundation, challenge the President and his ruling by fiat? It is high time.

    26. The Farmer says:

      Yes, Obama is destroying America, he said he was going to before fools voted him in office. The wise didn't want "fundamental change" we want our Country back!
      However, what really frost me is no one in Congress or the Media will tell it like it is, every time he opens his mouth what he espouses is designed to destroy us some more, but no-one points it out.
      And even worse is what the RINO's are doinbg to us.
      The conseratives come up with the Cut-Cap & Balance Bill, their Rino leaders wait untill near the last minute to pass it and send it to the Senate. (that was ment to appease us) then before the ink was even dry the RINO's start writeing another bill, there-by assurring the Democrats they could ignor the first one, (and they did) because the leaders wern't serrious with the first bill.
      Maybe the left can keep fooling their voters, but us Tea Party folks are not that dumb!!!!!!!
      We know when we are being played!

    27. Mark Huehls says:

      Now is the time for all good people to call for the end of the Department of Education. After 35 years and billions of dollars with no results it is time for a reality check. The feds can't do bug squat to improve education. The primary educators of our children are us, their parents. It is our job to civilize, socialize, and educate our offspring. This is the very basic application of the principle of subsidiarity. If we choose to farm out education we'd better be extremely involved in it or we will have a bunch of uneducated critters running around causing all kinds of malfeasance. Oh my! We already do! The community is the place for control of education and welfare of our neighbors. And the best vehicle in the community is the church. Today, it's the religious based schools that graduate the best educated students. Education is another place where "Big Gov" has stepped on us with good intentions and terrible results. Get "Big Gov" out of education. Delete the Department of Education.

    28. Frances Hardin says:

      This information/news article should place America on her knees!

    29. James says:

      Does the current education bill provide the DOE with the authority to grant wavers? . . . or are they just making this up as they go along?

    30. David says:

      Want to improve education? GET THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF IT!!!!

    31. Ben C. says:

      The core and central issue is the breakdown of the family unit as a result of the social engineering from the Federal Government – on both sides of the isle. If we enjoyed strong family units education would be begin at home and continued in schools. No need for the NCLB. As it is now the focus is on schools and parents are in a partial supportive role – assuming, of course, parents are plural. To see it at its worst look no further than Detroit, Michigan where the illiteracy rate is greater than 50%. All the money in the world will not fix the core problem – rather, eliminating "all the money in the world" and implementing "self reliance" will ultimately resolve the problem. It will be a painful process but must be done.

    32. J. Guidry says:

      Again? How long will congress allow this clown to circumvent their power?
      Who the hell is Cokie Roberts, besides talking head on TV? Like she has a brain capable of making these kind of statements? Well, I guess her writers are staying within the liberal lines.

    33. Dennis says:

      Like all the "king" does it is under handed and crooked. This is just another example of how he is making the "hope and change" for this country. If people will just look at the other countries of the world and especialyy Europe they will be able to see where obama nd the dems want to tkae us. Socialism did not work in Greece, Italy, Spain, or other countries and will not work here. If we as Americans do not wake up and get off our butts this country will be gone forever. We can not afford the luxury of allowing the "guvment" to be our master, we must be master of the government and those that are send to Washington and the white house. We have allowed this BS to happen for the simple reason we did not vote, we did not become involved and have been lead to believe that one vote did not count. Wake up people and smell the s**t that is coming out of the congress and the white house.

    34. Moose says:

      If schools require waivers then the law isn't working. If the law isn't working, why are we still spending billions on it. Instead of raising the debt limit lets get rid of wasteful spending.

    35. Lucylu says:

      I would like to know why Congress, who has a sworn oath to uphold the Constitution is allowing him to continue to circumvent not only Congress but the Constitution as well. Wouldn't you think that doing this very thing would be considered "treason"? How many in Congress are part of the the same agenda as Obama?

    36. Richard Quinn says:

      Isn't it time for conservatives to be calling for Obama's impeachment ? There is ample evidence in my view in the last three years of his high crimes and misdemeanors. Obamacare requirement for all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a fine, a host of "czars" who weren't properly vetted and voted on by Congress, Cap & Trade and the list goes on and on. Time for a conservative groundswell calling for impeachment. The House Judiciary Committee must take the lead. Let's see if they have the spines to do it.

      • KC - NM says:

        Yes – but this would take Senate members with balls! May be what is really needed is an overall peaceful revolt where Americans (common folks who work for a living) take over Congress and the Administrative branch. Throw the bums out and start over by reading the Constitution and Bill of Rights and then make appropriate changes. We have a gutless group of leaders in Washington who are basically professional politicians who only care about themselves. Time for change.

    37. jhendry says:

      This is Obama's payback to the NEA for unquestioned support. Remember, the NEA is one of the only unions that did not receive a waiver from Obamacare…

    38. Will Alvin says:

      The Fed's have enough problems to tackle, stay out of our schools, leave that to the states. We've done OK for 200 yrs now is not the time for more socialism.

    39. @agkruse says:

      Obama is just searching for the last thing he can do to ruin the economy; then he and the gang of 12 can rule as dictator in chief.

    40. Drew says:

      The White House isn't interested in Constitutional Governance.
      That would be inconvenient to the reign of Barack, the 1st!

    41. I have a simple suggestion to solve this type of federal power…Home school. The public schools don't work anyway you slice them.

    42. KC - NM says:

      I disagree with the comment made – NCLB requires all students to be proficient in English and math by 2014, a worthwhile but unrealistic goal that is placing federal heat on schools. Why is this not realistic and at the same time a demanded or SMART goal for all students? We are already very behind the rest of the world in our ineffective education system and overall lack of results. This begs the question of why we have a federal department of education when it is the state that drives the education process.
      Allowing a state to obtain a waiver to NCLB is ridiculous. The states need to design and implement an educational system that addresses the needs of students and provides results that show capabilities in reading, writing, and math.
      Allowing Obama the administrative right to waive the NCLB law will not help the educational process. Much like the economy, our infrastructure, and now our education – get politics out of the equation especially when someone like Obama is so out-of-touch with reality.

    43. Bill says:

      As a retired teacher (right to work state…..not part of the teacher union), I know that NCLB is NOT educational but is purely POLITICAL. It is another attempt to make it look like action is being taken without any actual difference…..well, except for teachers teaching ONLY to the test and helping kids cheat on the tests. This is reasonable since the tests given do NOT reflect the top levels of ed skills (synthesis and evaluation) but merely reflect the lowest level of education skill (cognitive). Schools have to CHEAT to accomplish the lowest level! The only answers are home schools and private schools…both of which are making better accomplishments than government education with a fraction of the money.

    44. Grumpa Joe says:

      Eliminate the Department of Education, and impeach President Obama.

    45. toledofan says:

      Well now we have it, the solution to the dumbing down of our kids, relax the standards so they can just get dumber. Wow, what a solution, what a stroke of genius. This Administration really has a handle on what needs to happen for them to stay elected, tell lies and keep people in the dark so they just go with the flow, you know support anybody with a 'D' behind their name. The entire Department of Education should be defunded, remade and forced to follow the laws of the land. It's obvious that this is all part of the grand plan; create chaos and confusion and bog the political system down so that things can be slid under the rug before anyone notices.

    46. Jim Patterson says:

      Let me see, teachers, politicians like Obama, send their kids to private schools and the rest of unwashed, gee, too bad, public schools for their kids. another "do as I say and not do as I do". George Orwell in Animal House nailed it on the head. rules are for everyone else.

    47. Guest says:

      One of the disappointments of Bush was NCLB. Feds have no business in education.

    48. MNJ says:

      No difference here – waivers of the Obama Nightmare bill for union cronies; waivers of NCLB for union teachers.

      Accountability is an unknown commodity for this administration.

    49. JoEllen Fisk says:

      Absolutely amazing.

    50. RennyG says:

      Well, be it that no one can do anything about his actions, especially the republicans, get prepared to live under his dictatorship. Glen Beck in his show he presented the Alinsky Theory, and you see it happening. And guess what, the republicans just gave him over two trillion in order for him to buy more "voter blocks!"
      This young socialist "will" be here for another four years, so be on your knees and pray for Mercy from the Allmighty!!!! Thank you Republicans for your gifts!!!!!!! You were delt "four aces" and you draw three cards and were excited, like playing with children!!!

    51. RennyG says:

      Comment from Ray Reed. Oh, they understand the constitution and that is why they don't abide, it ties their hands, who needs it???

    52. Donald McGovern says:

      Perhaps it's time to shut down the Department of Education and give the responsibility to the individual states and its respective citizens.

    53. JFL says:

      Kepp up the good work. I have some comments for later

    54. JoeG says:

      In our Balanced Government what are the other two parts doing to bring back the rule of law ?

    55. John Olofson says:

      Proficiency in English within three years? Do you really want the teachers to have to teach? I have a better plan: Disband the Department of Education in 2013.

    56. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Isn't that unconstional?

    57. RBCinTexas says:

      The problem with the legilative process is that no one is allowed to debate legislation anymore much less be an individual. Congress now moves like a wolf pack towing their party line. All decisions are made by just five people, the President, the Speaker, the Minority Leader, the Senate Majority Whip and the Senate Minority Whip. As a general rule, unless a member of Congress wants to be relinquished to Siberia, they vote they way that their party leaders tell them to.

      Remember, Harry Reid would not even allow the House Republican passed legislation to even come to the floor for a discussion – one single man stopped the entire process regardless of what the Senate wanted.

      Remember, John Boehnner telling the House Republicans to get their rear in line and start following.

      If we could break the choke holds that the Congressional leaders have on the members then we could begin putting our country back on track.

      Could you even to begin to imagine what our Constitution would have looked like if that is the way our Founding Fathers would have acted towing party lines instead of acting as individuals representing their colonies?

    58. Rex says:

      Say no thank you and begin impeachment proceedings immediately.

    59. Oldbtwizer says:

      Common Core Objectives, a hugh project of the Federal Government, is now being pushed as the "national curriculum framework" and thus far 48 states have joined in this new initiative. K-2 will begin testing students this year usingthe framework. It is all coming from the Feds and will be coming to most of the US this school year. NCLB will be gradually phased out but not without another fed program to replace it. Same old-same old. The premise is now that if a student attend school in state A and transfers to state B or C, he will still be held to the same standard and the curriculum should match. The major question is who is writing the new curriculum and what's in it? Now we will be held to federal test standards – not just to test that have been approved by the federal government. Hmm

    60. Oscark44 says:

      Same story with this man,what he can't get with leadership he takes with the pen.

    61. ltcurry says:

      I do find it funny how the No Ckild Left Behind, has shown, it does not work. Most Blame Bust, But 95% of the policy was Teddy Kennedys, who had been pushing it for many, many years. Bush Befriended him in the first year of his Presidency, and got screwed for doing it.

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