by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Does your state want to be exempted from undesirable accountability requirements imposed by the No Child Left Behind law? President Obama’s got you covered (as long as you play by his rules). According to the Washington Post,
Senior administration officials said waivers will be awarded to states that adopt academic standards that ensure their high school graduates are ready for college or a career, measure school performance not merely by test results but by student improvement over time, and evaluate teachers and principals using a variety of measures, including but not limited to student test scores.
States will be required to launch “rigorous” campaigns to turn around their lowest-performing schools — the bottom 5 percent. And they will have to devise ways to focus on students with the greatest needs in another 10 percent of schools with low graduation rates or large achievement gaps between students of different races. States will also have greater flexibility with about $1 billion in funding for schools attended by poor children.
When Congressional Republicans and Democrats passed the No Child Left Behind law in 2002, it included a provision that allowed the education secretary to waive “any statutory or regulatory requirement” of the law.
Here are a few political science questions for you. Why did Congress give power to the Executive branch to “undo” parts of a law? Does this violate the United States Constitution? (Specify articles and sections in your answer.) What is the “separation of powers” and does it still exist?