I don’t think a lot of people appreciate the extent to which education policy has been centralized during the Obama administration. It’s the topic of my latest Bloomberg column.
Congress hasn’t reauthorized the main federal programs for primary and secondary schools since Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act became law in 2002. That law was written on the assumption that Congress would revisit education policy well before now. Since the law has instead continued on auto-pilot, most schools are now technically failing its standard of 100 percent proficiency and thus are subject to penalties.
The Department of Education has filled the vacuum. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has given states waivers from these penalties in return for their adoption of policies he favors — including the Common Core standards that many conservative activists abhor.