WASHINGTON, D.C. | September 29, 2011 -
President Obama last week announced his intent to bypass Congress and coerce American schools into enacting his preferred education agenda. In a speech on Friday, the president stated, “Given that Congress cannot act, I am acting.”
The president has indicated the failure to reauthorize current elementary and secondary education law rests squarely on the 112th Congress, which convened just nine short months ago. This assertion ignores the fact that for the entirety of 2009 and 2010, the Obama administration had a golden opportunity to advance policies to improve education through a Democrat-led House and Senate. Instead, the president and his allies in Congress chose to push failed stimulus and health care proposals.
Contrary to the president’s claims, Republicans are advancing legislation to reform the nation’s education system. But as the Washington Times indicates, the president is downplaying Congressional progress in an attempt to impose on states and schools his own education priorities:
The announcement came as the president’s arbitrary timeline for reauthorizing NCLB expired. This administrative “fix,” he indicated, was necessary because Congress had dragged its feet on reauthorization. In reality, Congress hadn’t been procrastinating at all. The House Education and the Workforce Committee held numerous hearings on reforming NCLB and has offered legislative alternatives to the law.
But Mr. Obama found the pace too slow. Instead, he took matters into his own hands. The waiver offer is the executive branch’s attempt to dictate education policy - with or without congressional consent.
In a recent Washington Examiner op-ed, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) described the House’s ongoing effort to reform the nation’s education system:
House Republicans, as promised, are advancing a package of legislation to revamp current elementary and secondary education law.
This fall, the House of Representatives is expected to consider proposals to roll back federal intrusion in classrooms, eliminate wasteful education spending, improve accountability, support more effective teachers, and provide more flexibility to state and local education leaders. Legislation to expand quality education opportunities for students passed the House in mid-September with strong bipartisan support.
It is clear the Obama administration is trying to compensate for two years of Democrat inaction on No Child Left Behind by pressing forward with a backdoor education agenda. As Chairman Kline told Minnesota Public Radio, “The law needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed in Congress and not by executive action.” The president needs to put a stop to this ill-conceived plan and let Congress to do its job – enact deliberate and meaningful education legislation.
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