cross-posted from the North Carolina Tenth Amendment Center

The Obama administration’s Department of Education has a plan to offer ‘waivers’ regarding the closing of schools as mandated by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal education law. States are unable to meet the requirements, and apprehension is growing that penalties will kick in as goals are not met. The administration is frustrated with the slow pace of legislative reform as debate on reforming NCLB has been derailed by more pressing issues, such as the national debt ceiling and spending reforms.

It is very interesting to note an article which appeared in the Washington Post titled “Why states should refuse Duncan’s NCLB waivers” which reprints a letter from Monty Neill, executive director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest. In the article, Mr. Neill calls for nullification of NCLB without actually using the word ‘nullification’:

Mass resistance is likely the only course remaining. States should stop imposing additional sanctions on schools, as some states have said they will do. They should simultaneously refuse Duncan’s deal. This would be a good time to call Obama and Duncan’s bluff.

In the article, FairTest asserts that the standard imposed by the Obama administration will be even worse than those imposed by NCLB. This is as good a reason as any to nullify federal overreach, but there is another reason worth noting: The Department of Education is not a power delegated to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution. Education is the function and responsibility of the States and the people. Period.

This development evidences the fact that more and more groups are becoming aware that one-size-fits-all education policies will never work across as massive a geographical and cultural expanse as America. It is time for the sovereign states to take responsibility for their own children’s education and stop looking to some far off group of elites to plan their lives for them. The time to nullify the federal educational Leviathan is now.

Kevin Baynes

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