Any State with the Right Reason discusses the state of No Child Left Behind waivers granted by the federal government to 19 states as of today:
"What do you call a federal law from which 19 of the 50 states have
been formally exempted? That would be the No Child Left Behind Act, the
2001 law passed by bipartisan majorities that is now disowned by both
the left and right.
. . . the Obama Administration continued its administrative
rewrite of the statute by adding eight more states to the 11 it had
already exempted from the law's main requirements. "These states are
getting more flexibility with federal funds and relief from No Child
Left Behind's one-size-fits-all mandates in order to develop locally
tailored solutions to meet their unique educational challenges,"
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.
Locally tailored solutions, flexibility with federal funds, no more
one-size-fits-all mandates—sounds as if Mr. Duncan has had a mind-meld
with Jim DeMint. Alas, no.
The law's expectation that 100% of students meet certain standards in
math and reading by 2014 was unrealistic and needed to be changed. But
Mr. Duncan is mainly responding to pressure from teachers unions that
hate No Child Left Behind because its testing standards and transparency
have let millions of parents know for the first time how truly rotten
their child's school is. He's also exempting only those states that
accept the Obama Administration's priorities (such as core national
standards) that it couldn't get through Congress. This is faux
No Child Left Behind served a purpose in raising expectations for all
schools and even the poorest students, but its accountability
provisions are now in jeopardy. Better to return education cash and
control to the states and drive reform with universal school choice in
which the money follows the child."
Perhaps the recent votes in Wisconsin, San Diego and San Jose will cause people to take another look at government schools and the subsidiarity principle.
Let's hope so. Better yet, let's insist on it.