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July 16 2012

Waiver-ing Constitutionality

Vicki E. Alger

Two dozen states now have federal NCLB waivers, and a baker’s dozen more waiver applications are under review. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The states approves for waivers are Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia. Today's announcement brings the number of states with waivers to 24. Thirteen additional applications are still under review.” Education secretary Arne Duncan hailed them saying, “These states have joined in a nationwide movement toward state-led education reform.”

Of course, all this opting out begs the question, why do we need the feds involved in education to begin with, much less acting as an education policy gatekeeper. The Cato Institute’s Neal McCluskey rightly notes there’s nothing “state-led” about this race-to-the-waiver business. Most importantly, there’s nothing constitutional about it, either.

The main thing [President Obama’s] trying to do is offer waivers to make it seem like he is doing what Congress refuses to do…[It's] irrelevant to him whether what he's doing is wholly unconstitutional, which it is. …These waivers are simply the president saying “Well, I think Congress is too slow and so I unilaterally will dictate education policy” -- which should be very concerning to anybody who doesn't want to have the rule of the single person, in this case the president of the United States.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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