U.S. Rep. John Kline, one of the leading Republican voices on education issues in Congress, said Thursday the Obama Administration is overreaching in its approach to the No Child Left Behind Act.
In an interview with reporters in St. Paul, Kline, R-Lakeville, who chairs the Education and the Workforce Committee, criticized the Administration’s policy of attaching conditions to waivers from the law. Kline’s committee is working on a reauthorization of the law, and he said Obama’s policies have made that harder by reducing pressure to change the language.
He said the Administration and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have the authority to issue waivers from the requirements of the law, such as those establishing yearly progress goals and penalties. But he said the Administration has been granting such waivers on the condition that certain education reforms be enacted.
Kline questioned whether the Administration “has the authority to do that,’’ and said Obama and Duncan are “writing national education policy, bypassing the Legislative branch.’’
The granting of waivers, which Obama has supported in exchange for efforts to reform and improve education, has “made it harder for us to do our job,” Kline said, by making rewriting the law less urgent. “If you’re just going to grant waivers, why do the states care if the law is changed?” Kline said.
He said changing the law in a way that encourages states and districts to continue bold reforms is the highest priority, and expressed hopes that his committee could forge bipartisan agreements on many contentious issues.