The Obama administration started off its implementation of its signature program, ObamaCare, by issuing a blizzard of waivers as it discovered that compliance with the new law would throw hundreds of thousands of people out of insurance plans. Instead of fixing the law — or abandoning it altogether — HHS started issuing free passes at its discretion to certain insurers, almost half of which covered union workers. The waivers stopped when the new House Oversight Committee demanded an explanation of the criteria for waivers and a list of those denied, with explanations for the denials.
But that hasn’t stopped Waivermania in the Obama administration. Now Education Secretary Arne Duncan has taken a page from Kathleen Sebelius’ rule-of-whim playbook to do an end-around of No Child Left Behind:
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced that he will unilaterally override the centerpiece requirement of the No Child Left Behind school accountability law, that 100 percent of students be proficient in math and reading by 2014.
Mr. Duncan told reporters that he was acting because Congress had failed to rewrite the Bush-era law, which he called a “slow-motion train wreck.” He is waiving the law’s proficiency requirements for states that have adopted their own testing and accountability programs and are making other strides toward better schools, he said.
The administration’s plan amounts to the most sweeping use of executive authority to rewrite federal education law since Washington expanded its involvement in education in the 1960s.
In other words, if the law doesn’t suit Obama’s purposes, his administration just plans to ignore it. That’s especially true for laws that his advisers don’t like, but also for those like ObamaCare that they sponsored.
Note, too, the interesting and opposite approach that this administration takes to public sector entities and private sector entities. Obama is willing to waive accountability requirements set in law for public schools, which receive federal funding and should be accountable to taxpayers for their performance. Instead of punishing these schools for their failure to educate our children properly, Obama wants to let them off the hook to continue to fail. Not only is Obama unwilling to waive regulatory requirements for the private sector, he’s busy expanding those regulations to punish them for their success.
There is one other interesting point to note in this New York Times report on the story:
“I can’t overemphasize how loud the outcry is for us to do something right now,” Mr. Duncan told reporters on Friday in a conference call that he said could not be reported until midnight Sunday.
Huh? Why couldn’t this be reported before midnight Sunday? Since when does the Times take editorial orders from the White House on something that doesn’t affect national security (and not often in that sense, either)? Good to know that the Gray Lady helps to enforce that rule of whim.
Remember when the media used to proclaim their purpose as keeping government in check and speaking truth to power? Good times, good times.