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2 Replies to “Occupy Ed Next!”
When Congressional inaction results in federal legislation imposing clearly impractical requirements/programs, it is reasonable for the executive branch — the branch of govt tasked with administering federal legislation — to modify those requirements/programs (i.e., grant waivers).
However, the executive branch’s modifications should be limited to those that are necessary to render the requirements/programs practical. The modifications should also be limited to those that implement the Congressional intent underlying the original, now-impractical, legislation.
If the executive branch’s modifications exceed these limitations, then the executive branch is usurping the legislative task of enacting new legislation, not performing the executive task of executing existing legislation.
Applying these standards to the Obama NCLB waivers, it appears that the waivers themselves are reasonable — that is, it would be impractical and clearly contrary to Congress’s intent in passing NCLB to have virtually all the nation’s school systems deemed dysfunctional and subject to drastic sanctions.
However, some of the waiver preconditions — particularly the teacher-evaluation-system-based-on-test-scores precondition — appear to go beyond what Congress intended when it passed NCLB and are therefore unreasonable. There is little reason to believe that Congress — either when it passed NCLB or today — supported/supports requiring every school system in the country to adopt such a teacher-evaluation system. Indeed, if such a provision had been included in the original NCLB, the legislation would almost certainly have died in the Senate.
LaborLawyer: I generally agree with your analysis, particularly the concluding paragraph: “However, some of the waiver preconditions — particularly the teacher-evaluation-system-based-on-test-scores precondition — appear to go beyond what Congress intended when it passed NCLB and are therefore unreasonable. There is little reason to believe that Congress — either when it passed NCLB or today — supported/supports requiring every school system in the country to adopt such a teacher-evaluation system. Indeed, if such a provision had been included in the original NCLB, the legislation would almost certainly have died in the Senate.”
The waiver conditions currently promoted by the Obama administration fall beyond the scope of their authority as the administrative (not legislative) branch of our federal government. In general, I also believe that the feds should stay out of dictacting specific education policies for our nation’s schools, which are diverse and varied. These policies are best left to those on the ground: teachers, administrators, local school boards or state boards of education.