Oh What A Tangled Web Oklahoma Weaves
When First the Federal Government Practices to Deceive
It has come to our attention that our state's superintendent Dr. Janet Barresi and Governor Fallin are very interested in accepting No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers granted by the Obama administration.
If you have not followed the NCLB controversy, it is important to understand that, according to the NCLB law (Obama's version of LBJ's Elementary and Secondary Education Act imposed upon states in 1965), schools not meeting 100% proficiency on state reading and math tests before 2014 will see removal of certain federal funding and other measures to include school closings and re-openings as charter schools.
Congress was to re-authorize NCLB this year, however, due to the number of gridlocks in Congress based on economic and other concerns, it simply hasn't been done. And, since Congress hadn't done it, President Obama and his education secretary Arne Duncan decided they could wait no longer for Congress and declared relief from NCLB mandate by fiat - in an executive order.
- The Obama administration sees NCLB mandates yet two years away (to be met AFTER the 2012 election cycle) as a crisis to which we in America must respond IMMEDIATELY...
- Therefore, we simply can not READ and take the time to UNDERSTAND the administration's response to the crisis until after they have finished putting the crisis down on their own - sometime in September.
Does this sound anything at all like Nancy Pelosi's statement that the American people would know what was in the Health Care Reform bill AFTER the bill was passed?
Apparently concerns are shared by House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) who Thursday sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan requesting additional information about the department's recent proposal to grant conditional waivers to states and schools.
With writers attaching such headlines to the news of NCLB waivers as, "Obama administration's NCLB waivers and strong-arm tactics" and "NCLB Waivers Confirm Link with Nationalization of Education", there is obvious widespread concern - and reason for that concern.
As Neal McClusky from CATO explains, "It is being widely reported this morning that in September U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will publish criteria states will have to meet to be granted waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act. (A gross violation of the Constitutions' separation of powers, by the way, but that is a slightly different debate.) And the administration is signaling that, among other things, it will force all states that want relief from NCLB to adopt national curriculum standards, better known as the Common Core."
Although Superintendent Barresi has already signed on to Common Core and Oklahoma has adopted them into law (SB2033), the fact that the federal department of education will apparently stop at nothing to pull states into their web of federal 'reforms' should be flashing red lights faster than a railroad crossing signaling the 5:30 express!
There are at least four different grants for which states can apply to institute any one of the four core 'reforms' prescribed by Race to the Top (shown in red on the flowchart above). Now, there are waivers for which states can apply which have the added (nay desired?) results of requiring states to adopt prescribed Race to the Top 'reforms'.
If this doesn't describe the tactics of an administration actively pushing a national education agenda, what actually does?
For a detailed analysis of why ROPE believes the Obama Administration's educational reform packages to be less than desirous for Oklahoma, please see our paper on the Common Core and Race to the Top.
Though stopping this nationalization train will be hard, there are several opportunities by which to try:
- Write Governor Mary Fallin and State Superintendent Janet Barresi and explain to them what organizations such as the 10th Amendment Center are saying about ObamaEd and the new NCLB waivers.
- Explain that following any nationalized program undermines the sovereignty of the state of Oklahoma, and of parents to manage their children's educations, as the parties responsible for education reform are no longer on their school boards and in their communities, but in Washington, D.C..
- Tell them NOT to take any NCLB waivers and NOT to apply for ANY Race to the Top grants whatsoever.
- Write Congressman John Kline and/or the Education and Workforce Committee which he chairs. Tell him your concerns and ask him to consider filing suit against the Obama administration for skirting Congress and producing their own waivers. Mention that nullifying NCLB and/or authoring legislation to remove the federal Department of Education would also work to prevent federal overreach of education into the states - a situation clearly in violation of the 10th Amendment.
- Ask your Oklahoma State representative and/or senator (you can find them here) to join with ROPE to repeal SB2033 and the Common Core State Standards from Oklahoma law.
Thank you for your time and as usual, read all the links posted here and do your own research before you contact anyone. You must have the facts on your side and be willing and able to educate our state and local officials. Our Oklahoma children are counting on us!