At a Senate hearing Wednesday, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) pressed Education Secretary Arne Duncan to explain how the use of his authority to grant waivers to states from the requirements of No Child Left Behind does not amount to a “national school board.”
“Please explain to me how using your waiver authority to place conditions on states about common standards, about performance targets, about teacher evaluation systems that are not otherwise required by federal law and in the case of standards, in my opinion, is prohibited by the law—how does that not amount to, in effect, a national school board?” Alexander said.
He told Secretary Duncan that his federal “overreach” is “undermining” support for high state academic standards and teacher evaluation, and is taking responsibility away from states, local officials, and teachers.
Wednesday's hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on the Department of Education’s fiscal year 2015 budget, came six days after the administration revoked Washington state’s waiver from many requirements of No Child Left Behind.