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The NCLB waiver: Federal regulations are bad?
On Thursday, New Hampshire officially applied for a waiver from federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards. Gov. John Lynch said the federal regulations are “hurting our ability to support schools.”
Funny, one could say that about a lot of things. It has become accepted doctrine among some folks, mostly on the left, that No Child Left Behind is a bundle of suffocating federal mandates that hurt local schools by curtailing their ability to function as efficiently, creatively and optimally as possible. Yet these same people are perfectly happy, even eager, to support suffocating federal regulations on businesses and even individuals.
Conservatives argue that the power we grant to government ought to be kept as close to the people as possible. The closer it is to the people, the more accountable it is to the people. The folks who call themselves “progressives” these days advocate concentrating as much power as possible in Washington. They don’t trust local people to make good decisions. So Washington must be given the power to direct policy on every area of civic life: education, business, finance, health care, even crime and the arts. Then, when Washington uses that power in ways they dislike, they act surprised that it takes years and years to make changes. Hey, that’s the way it works.
It can take as little as a few months, even weeks, to change a local school board policy. But the left has been fighting NCLB for 11 years. And it’s still on the books. This is only a waiver, which a future administration could change.
A lot of people are going to be happy with this waiver. But will they ever question the wisdom of giving Washington the power to control local public schools in the first place?
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