| February 13, 2012

Waiving the Constitution

Whether it is in the area of environmental regulations, labor and immigration law, No Child Left Behind, the auto bailout, the selective enforcement of other federal laws, or the regulation of the Internet (among others), the Obama Administration has in fact enacted its agenda via legislative fiat,” attorney Mike Brownfield writes over at the Heritage Foundation blog.

“So what’s the problem? A big thing called the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers.”

Regrettably, this trend continued last week as Oklahoma, to “predictable, fawning edu-coverage,” received from the Obama Administration a so-called waiver from certain provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

A new report gives some context as to what’s going on here. Written by a former general counsel and former deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Education, and published last week by the Pioneer Institute, the Federalist Society, the American Principles Project, and the Pacific Research Institute, the report is entitled “The Road to a National Curriculum: The Legal Aspects of the Common Core Standards, Race to the Top, and Conditional Waivers.”

“The Department has designed a system of discretionary grants and conditional waivers that effectively herds states into accepting specific standards and assessments favored by the Department,” says Robert S. Eitel, who co-authored the report with Kent D. Talbert. “By leveraging funds through its Race to the Top Fund and the Race to the Top Assessment Program,” says Talbert, “the Department has accelerated the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics, as well as the development of common assessments based on those standards.”

The authors say these efforts “will necessarily result in a de facto national curriculum and instructional materials effectively supervised, directed, or controlled by the Department through the NCLB waiver process.” Or as one of the nation’s top education bloggers put it, “Meet the new teacher, Uncle Sam.”

As former deputy secretary of education Eugene Hickok warned four months ago, these waivers are “unconstitutional, illegal, and immoral.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obama’s education takeover (the subject of a new book by Lance Izumi, and illustrated nicely in the orange line below at right) is but one piece of a larger takeover. To better understand that, I recommend Phil Kerpen’s new book, Democracy Denied: How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America—and How to Stop Him. Or simply listen to our president himself, who is disgusted with our Founding Fathers—“men of property and wealth” who “designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change that I would like sometimes. But what I have been able to do is move in the right direction. And what I’m going to keep on doing is plot away, very persistent.”


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