It looks like the GOP Senators questioning the US DOE and Arne Duncan about major special education violations wasn’t the only item on their agenda. Apparently, Republicans in D.C. who are upset about how Obama handled the health-care law are using other items President Obama has used in executive action, including education reform in a bid for a lawsuit against President Obama. In particular, No Child Left Behind waivers and Race To The Top funding were cited as specific examples in their claims of abuse of executive powers.
The major issue concerns the Race To The Top funding, introduced in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The $4 billion funding directive was given to states who, the Republicans feel, were coerced into forming the Common Core State Standards. As well, the issues of teacher evaluations based on the test scores of students who performed new standardized testing based on Common Core appear to be major issues with the GOP as well in D.C. They argue this was not approved by the legislators of Congress or The Senate.
A Republican House Representative from Minnesota, John Kline, stated “The proposal raises questions about the department’s legal authority to grant conditional waivers in exchange for reforms not authorized by Congress.”
In a quote to the Associated Press on July 30th, 2014, House Representative John Sessions said “Branches of government have always attempted to exert their influences on the other branches. But the president has gone too far. Rather than faithfully executing the law as the Constitution requires, I believe the president has selectively enforced the law in some instances, ignored the law in other instances, and in a few cases unilaterally attempted to change the law altogether.”
Since no lawsuit has been filed yet, it is unclear what implication this could have on current state Common Core and Standardized Testing initiatives. Many education experts believe this could have an implication on mid-term elections as well as Congressional oversight over executive decision-making ability. President Obama has staunchly supported his position of utilizing executive orders to improve education and health due to what he feels is an inept Congress. The results of these actions by the GOP Senate could have long-lasting effects on the ability of the Obama administration, and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, to grant waivers with pre-existing conditions not signed into law by Congress.
More information can be found on the original article on EdWeek’s website: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/08/20/01lawsuit.h34.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1