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  • President Obama Mistakes Bi-Partisan Distaste for NCLB for a Mandate to Rewrite

    President Obama just delivered a speech and announced that states will now be eligible to receive waivers to get out from under the onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind. During the speech, he stipulated conditions that will be attached to the waivers.

    In one of the biggest education policy developments in a decade, President Obama has sorely mistaken bi-partisan distaste for No Child Left Behind as a mandate for him to unilaterally re-write the law from the White House.

    Both sides of the aisle agree that No Child Left Behind is broken. But the Obama administration believes that federal intervention can be fixed, and Washington-driven policy can improve America’s ailing education system.

    By contrast, conservatives in Congress believe that states and local leaders should have their educational decision-making authority restored, and have introduced alternatives to No Child Left Behind, including proposals such as A-PLUS, which would allow states to completely opt-out of the failed law.

    Why the flurry of activity from the administration all of the sudden? No Child Left Behind (which is, by the way, the eighth reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) significantly expanded Washington’s role in education by triggering a ticking clock on states’ educational performance.

    By 2014, all children must be proficient in reading and math while showing Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) toward that goal. Obama and Duncan are offering NCLB waivers to states, exempting them from AYP and 2014, on the condition that they agree to new policies that are the preference of the administration.

    The Washington Post reported yesterday that Duncan said his “absolute preference is for Congress to fix it [NCLB] for the entire country. But there’s a level of dysfunction in Congress that’s paralyzing.”

    The Obama administration is unhappy that Congress has not yet reauthorized No Child Left Behind (President Obama wanted the law reauthorized before the start of this school year), so he is dangling waivers in front of states thirsting for relief in exchange for their agreement to adopt the administration’s preferred education reforms, including national standards and tests. And because of the conditions, the temporary relief states get from the waivers will be quickly followed by an increase in Washington’s power over state educational decisions.

    We’ve seen Washington’s role in education grow over the past four and a half decades, wresting control away from states and localities, while doing little to improve student outcomes. Leaders like Rep. John Kline in the House are thoughtfully considering how best to reform the nation’s education system. The Education and the Workforce Committee has been holding hearings and has passed several proposals that provide alternatives to NCLB and work to reduce the federal footprint.

    But the president apparently thinks time’s up for the usual Congressional processes. President Obama is re-writing NCLB – the nation’s largest education law – from the White House. Once again, his administration is bypassing Congress in order to push policies that would not otherwise survive the normal legislative process.


    Posted in Education, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to President Obama Mistakes Bi-Partisan Distaste for NCLB for a Mandate to Rewrite

    1. Bobbie says:

      instead of rewriting, how about the president mind and focus on his own business? America is not a dictatorship!

      • Marty says:

        If only that were still true Bobbie. America will only avoid literally becoming a dictatorship, given trends in recent Administrations, only if Congress will find the stones to lawfully put an end to the notion that ruling from the White House or the Bench supersedes governing from Congress. The problem is that Congress, as evidenced by their inaction for decades, and the last 3 years in particular, is just fine with our evolving dictatorship. Our profound and vehement beef is with Congress. Congress collectively cares not what their constituency wants. That much is evidenced by Congress repeatedly and defiantly passing unwanted legislation, let alone reading it, not to mention the unlawful actions of every government agency and their rule making. Given that Congress is certain to continue to fail, t's going to fall to our State governments to take back State independence, their portion of national security, and in the process, our liberty. Lacking that, we're in a 'world of hurt'.

    2. bypassing Congress. Again? That is a mere result of a thought that will fail from righteous decisions. I hope that whatever they're planning to implement will still benefit the people who put them in those fancy chairs.

    3. Ahmet says:

      When the STATES take back education in this country we will see a real change in test scores and learning in general. Only on the state level can you control parent involvement and teacher evaluations that work.

    4. scovellj says:

      Democrats take an interesting position on NCLB. Both Republicans and Democrats have been criticizing the program from the beginning, Democrats placing all the attention on President Bush and Republicans distributing the blame to its creators. I have been curious to see how liberal Democrats and their President were going to attack this bill when in power. They have never lived up to the words of disgust they proclaimed when President Bush was in Washington. In fact, President Obama ans the Democrats have doubled-down on the worst aspects of NCLB by increasing the power through Race To The Top (RTTT) that places National standards and testing to despotic and unconstitutional levels.

      Education policy should not operate on a Top-Down policy system. Keep education in the state, keep it local.

    5. Mike Metarko says:

      With all due respect Ahmet, when the FAMILY takes back education and we as fathers step up to the plate and fill our God-given roles, then we won't need test scores, because our economy will show the results of change from the family, to the church, to the local government, to the state government, then to our nation as a whole.

      • Bobbie says:

        I really appreciate the way you worded that, Mr. Metarko!!! Thank you for the strength of your individual character you show that was once a social trait of American men not many years ago! Thank you for expressing the true American man! We need them back!

    6. Mateo says:

      Just a thought: If states are allowed waivers for NCLB, then states should be allowed waivers for PPACA (Obamacare).

      • Bobbie says:

        how about we get rid of both and reduce the paperwork??

      • Bobbie says:

        how about getting rid of both and eliminate the costs and paperwork? doesn't make sense to implement an idea that provides waivers to eliminate the implement!!

    7. frank c says:

      Kudos to Mike Metarko.

    8. Aaron says:

      Once again, the real answer to this problem is found between the stances of Heritage and Obama. Yes we need to decentralize the accountability of schools, but we can do that without abandoning the principle of national standardization. Imagine if you moved from California to Illinois and your son or daughter suddenly was a year behind in math because the California math standards didn't introduce long division until 5th grade, but Illinois covers it in 4th grade? That's the purpose of national standards: to normalize the EXPECTATIONS of students, rather than the OUTCOME of student achievement.

      Step 1: remove zero-tolerance policies regarding student achievement.
      Step 2: normalize the curriculum and assessment, but separate assessment from evaluation.
      Step 3: track student achievement against national standards using AIMSWEB and NWEA assessments and tailor individual expectations to each student in a way that is appropriate for their level of understanding.

      It's a concept that – while second nature to any teacher – is lost to the lawyers and businessmen in Washington who can only think in numbers and rules.

    9. Joeseph Maier says:

      This is the latest abuse of power why are you not impeaching him its time for action not watching Get it done now yu fellows in congerss are totally afraid of him. show some back bone.

    10. toledofan says:

      I think the hardest part of understanding all of this is why isn't Congress doing anything about this? Aren't there any Democrats to side with the Republicans who have a conscience, some moral compass or the sense to understand how they are self defeating themselves by going lockstep with Obama's agenda. I guess as soon as the parents get fed up with all the non education that is being taught, maybe something will change, but, I fear the adage the blind leading the blind may apply.

    11. Jim T. says:

      Whenever the Federal Department of Education is abolished, all of these political mandates will die and true education will begin to take place in the classrooms.

    12. Dan says:

      I have observed over the years that only small groups of parents care about education. The national media makes a story out of every problem that occurs in schools. Politicians and the news media go out of their way to find the worst schools to create a spot light for their shows. Obama does not care beyond getting a little attention and raising cash for his re-election. He is grand standing and acting. I know several teachers who teach the Decoration of Independence, the balance of power, the Constitution, the importance of reading and thinking for oneself. The problem is that most politicians and the news media are looking for an audience. Yes you can find people who cannot remember the 3 branches or when the United States became a country but it is because they are lazy and will lose their freedom and wonder why.

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