August 20 2013

Obama Education Push Sidesteps Congress…Again

Vicki E. Alger

For the past several years, President Obama and his Education Secretary Arne Duncan have been issuing accountability waivers to the states in exchange for adopting national Common Core Standards—all without Congressional authorization.

Now the administration wants its hands on other peoples’ toddlers. As the Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullman explains:

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…

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.

Remind me again, does the Constitution even grant the president—or Congress for that matter—authority over education? Oh, that’s right. It doesn’t.

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