Obama Disregards Congress--Again
School Choice Weekly, Issue #4
President Barack Obama continues to dismiss Congress as an afterthought as he uses the power of the administrative state to carry out his agenda in the face of widespread opposition. The latest such incursion in education policy concerns government preschool. Although the president’s national preschool proposal funded by cigarette tax increases has hit the wall in Congress, and despite an utter lack of evidence to support such programs, he’s directed federal agencies to infuse millions into the pet cradle-to-grave welfare state initiative, Politico reports.
The money is coming from the 2009 stimulus bill and 2010 health care overhaul, which essentially means today’s children will be stuck with yet another bill for yet another set of useless programs sold using their faces.
This type of dictatorial behavior regarding education began when Obama decided legal authority to waive certain requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) allowed him to require states--40 so far--to change their policies according to his wishes in exchange for such a waiver, which the law nowhere allows. It continued when the administration decided to fund national Common Core tests and oversee their construction even though three national laws prohibit federal influence over curriculum, instruction, and tests. Then the administration, also extra-legally, waived NCLB for individual school districts, although the federal government has never been granted direct oversight over local districts.
Obama knows he can get away with using federal agencies as lawmakers, judicial systems, and law enforcement all rolled into one, because the half-Democrat-controlled Congress refuses to restrain him. This is tyranny of the exact sort the constitutional separation of powers was intended to prevent. It increasingly means not just Congress but also we, the people, are an afterthought as the president seeks to remake the nation in the image he desires.
Although the president is to blame for his unconstitutional actions, Congress also is to blame for expanding the national administrative state to a point where this can even happen. And the ultimate responsibility, of course, lies with the people who elected them--as does the remedy.
IN THIS ISSUE:
- LOUISIANA: Almost three times as many students applied to receive a state voucher this year over last year. That’s approximately 8,000 kids, whereas 3,000 applied in 2012.
- CALIFORNIA: The first fruits of California’s pioneer Parent Trigger law are beginning to show, writes Ben Boychuk. The law gives parents the right to petition--and get enacted--reforms of their children’s failing schools.
- INNOVATION: Vouchers are becoming obsolete in favor of education savings accounts and tax credits, says John Merrifield. Both offer increased flexibility and greater protection from legal challenges.
- LOUISIANA: Charter school students learn more than peers attending traditional schools, a study finds. Studies are finding this true nationwide, but research also shows private schools benefit children most of all, both academically and socially.
- NEW YORK: Two-thirds of the state’s children fail the new Common Core-aligned tests. A look at the test questions shows the math test is becoming more of a reading test.
- GEORGIA: An independent comparison of state standards to Common Core finds the latter deficient. The math reviewer explains why Georgia’s previous state standards were better for kids.
- WYOMING: The state has decided to become a voting member for Common Core tests. This makes Wyoming the first state to move closer to the national tests after several states recently abandoned them.
- SCHOOL DISTRICTS: The Obama administration decides it can directly administer school districts by giving a No Child Left Behind waiver to eight in California. The move is unprecedented in federal education policy.
- MAINE: The state just received a federal waiver of the most extensive education law, No Child Left Behind. This puts 40 states outside the law Congress passed in 2001, through a legally questionable move by the Obama administration, and under the direct control of that administration rather than Congress.
- RACE-BASED GOALS: Setting lower academic goals for children based on their race is disrespectful and reduces their opportunities, writes Esther Cepeda. Most states have done this under federal requirements to close achievement gaps between white and nonwhite children.
- NATIONWIDE: Once-steady test score gains for black and Hispanic students have come to a virtual standstill. Harvard University researcher Paul Peterson says President Obama’s No Child Left Behind waivers are the cause.
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