Neal McCluskey: School czar flunks civics

Neal McCluskey: School czar flunks civics
NEAL MCCLUSKEY  July 10, 2011  The Orange County Register

The burning question right now is what authority the U.S. Secretary of Education has to release states from NCLB’s requirements. It’s a topic brought to the fore by Secretary Arne Duncan’s threat that if Congress doesn’t reauthorize NCLB by the start of the new school year the administration will do so itself, waiving many of the law’s requirements in exchange for states adopting administration-dictated reforms.

This has raised the hackles of many educators and policymakers, who argue that while the secretary might have authority to grant waivers under the law, he definitely can’t use that power to coerce states to adopt administration-preferred policies. Worse yet, in a letter sent Wednesday, Secretary Duncan essentially refused to tell House education committee chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) what his waiver requirements might be.

For the first time – and in contravention of existing law – the feds are on the verge of dictating exactly what children will learn.