Yesterday the U.S. Senate Education Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Eduction. Betsy DeVos took questions and concerns from the U.S. Senators, and listened as several of the Democrat Senators on the Committee insisted she would uphold and enforce federal law if confirmed. Why were they so concerned about following federal law now?
Under the Obama administration, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, issued waivers from the No Child Left Behind Law. No one seemed bothered that the Department head was taking unprecedented power and issuing waivers to federal law. Where was the call for going through the democratic process or the insistence that he enforce federal law? Many of us were very concerned that usurping the democratic process was a big problem but we didn’t see the Senators objecting.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was a law that needed to be repealed. It set the stage for the latest boondoggle in education reform–Common Core. Instead of working with congress to repeal the law, Secretary Duncan issued waivers. Those who hated NCLB thought this was a good but it needed to go through the three branches of government. That’s how a Republic works. The Secretary took power that was never given to him and no one seemed to care.
On top of that, there were many problems with the waivers that not getting a waiver might have been better.
There were two waiver applications put forth by New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Education, Virginia Barry. The New Hampshire Department of Education had no problem with usurping the democratic process under Governor Maggie Hassan. How ironic that as “Senator” Maggie Hassan, who now sits on the U.S. Senate Education Committee, never once spoke last night about how she was ok with ignoring federal laws.
Instead, she and several of her peers grilled Betsy DeVos about whether she would enforce and uphold the latest power grab in education – Every Student Succeeds Act. (ESSA) and other federal education laws.
What if she is confirmed but doesn’t like ESSA or any other federal law? Why are they holding her to a different standard ? Partisan politics? Now they are concerned about too much power in the hands of the U.S. Secretary of Education and how she will use (or abuse) this power?
ESSA gives unprecedented power to the U.S. Secretary of Education because they now make the decision on whether to approve “state education plans.” I wonder how many of them who object to her nomination are regretting that provision in the ESSA law.
The NCLB waivers were nothing but ways to coerce the states to adopt Common Core and all of the failed education reforms that went with it. Governor Hassan’s Commissioner stepped right up and usurped the democratic process, gave unprecedented power to the Federal Government (read the waiver applications) and never objected along the way.
I’m not a supporter of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education for many reasons. I believe there are better people who could do the job that do not have the Common Core baggage she carries with her. However it seems to me that if you are a U.S. Senator, you should be consistent with what you support in a cabinet level position such as this one.
Otherwise you simply look like a partisan hypocrite.