Today, I’m excited to join the likes of attorney Jay Sekulow and U.S. Senator Mike Lee in contributing to Constituting America, a project of conservative leaders Janine Turner and Cathy Gillespie. This summer, Constituting America is putting together a collection of essays on executive overreach. My piece focuses on how the Department of Education’s response to the nationwide opt out movement has the Executive Branch taking actions that have no root in any enacted laws:
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was passed with the intent of improving public schools nationwide. The law dedicates federal funds to entice schools into improving their standards. Such a broad plan required some sort of measurable, which NCLB’s framers developed in the form of “adequate yearly progress” (AYP). A state demonstrates AYP by testing at least 95 percent of its students in the manner prescribed under the law.
The Executive Branch is charged with enforcing our nation’s laws, including NCLB. So, we must turn to the law to see what sort of penalties exist for failure to comply, and how these penalties are to be administered by the Executive Branch. Unfortunately, we will find that the Department of Education is using NCLB as a tool to threaten the opt out movement with penalties that have no root in enacted legislation, but rather grow out of the Executive’s own policy priority in favor of standardized, top-down education.