In the history of mankind, many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state. TR


Another Day, Another Power Grab

What’s the major difference between George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law and the new education program that will be announced by President Obama today?

It’s there in the very sentence above.

The Bush law is a law. It was the result of arduous bipartisan negotiations that led to an agreement between, of all people, Bush and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

The Obama program is a program. It is federal fiat, a decision about what’s best by your superiors in the Obama administration. It’s a unilateral move to bypass the legislative process. It may or may not be good education policy. But the Chinese Politburo also may or may not be doing good education policy.

Obama in the Rose Garden
I know what's best for you.
Photo by Keith Koffler

Today’s education event is the latest power grab by the Obama administration, which is already creating vast new rules for other huge sectors of the economy – particularly the environment, health care and finance.

Sure, the health and financial “reform” laws were passed by Congress. But the Democratic-controlled legislature used the bills to cede awesome rule-writing authority to the administration, which will revamp how health care and loans are administered.

Needless to say, both laws are unpopular and were passed by a Congress that was thoroughly rejected in 2010 after passing them.

And the Environmental Protection Agency has evolved into its own special satrapy.

Obama’s education proposal, to be trumpeted this morning in the East Room, would exempt states from requirements of the No Child Left Behind Law if they accede to education strategies developed or supported by Obama Education Secretary and basketball pal Arne Duncan.

In return for exemption from onerous NCLB standards like a 2014 deadline for student proficiency in math and reading, states must adhere to a federally-approved “college and career ready” curriculum. The states must also take other steps to be approved by the federal government, including ways to overhaul their worst schools and new performance measures for teachers and principals.

States don’t like the 2014 deadline because they promised to meet it and are failing. So now, the federal government has them over a barrel and will forgive the deadline if states play ball with Duncan.

In an August briefing previewing the new policy, Duncan encapsulated the Administration mindset: BIG BROTHER KNOWS BEST.

I want to thank the President for doing the right thing, stepping up. Congress, we would have loved them to act. They should have acted, didn’t happen, and we can’t afford to sit here and not support states.

This is the right thing to do for the country. Congress just hasn’t acted. And we can’t afford to wait. People are begging, they’re imploring us to do the right thing.

So it’s not my job to psychoanalyze Congress; it’s my job to move forward the children.

So you see, instructs Mr. Duncan, democracy is a slow and cumbersome process. But when you know what is right and other’s don’t – especially if others don’t – you just have to take action.

Even though once, long ago, our Founding Fathers decided that democracy was the “right” thing to do.

84 thoughts on “Another Day, Another Power Grab”

  1. After all the daily bombardment of revelations about our little campaign critter in the WH, I’m so hopeful for change in that office… from his bong filled youth in Hawaii to his late night marxist indoctrination in college, Barry hussein ubama has never lived , seen or appreciated the exceptional America as we know it.. has never worked a real job,never served in the military, spent years sitting under a maniacal racist in a church (with a large muslim population) damning America ,Jews & white people…Not until the voters kick this vermin to the street,will this national nightmare be over..

  2. Why do I have the distinct impression that this program will consist of more mushy-headed feel-goodism, multiculturalism, sex education, and diversity training and not nearly enough math, science, history, and literature?

      1. I hear Vietnam is hardly covered–I don’t know for sure… I spent 12 long years battling the DC schools, the parochial shools, the AZ schools, my kid’s own demons of hating school, trying to effect change, trying to write a math quiz booklet for parents (the DC schools would not teach the multiplication tables–that was the parents’ job), the PTA, the PTO, and in the end my kid graduated HS barely, hates all edu and works minimum wage. Some of this is her–but not al by any means. And if this WH knows know to make this better, I would be stone amazed..

          1. You can make up the cards yourself…Flash cards, remember those…? I did it! And she is still not automatic–I can say what is 9 time 6 and she will not spit back 54! (It is 54, right?)

          2. Yes it is 54, Star :-)

            Did the flash cards, reading, and handwriting exercises on Big Chief tablets with both our boys when they were young. It was a nightly homework ritual from the time they could talk — reading, writing, and arithmetic. The flash cards were made from discarded IBM punch cards I collected at work. Does that age me much?

          3. Big Chief tablets…I remember those, my mom would by like 30 of them for us (6 kids) every school year…They are not around anymore—damn political correctness.

      2. I am well aware. My high school American history class used a textbook that included 10 pages on the Revolution (many to remind us that some of the Founders were slave holders), 15 pages on the Civil War era (some to remind us that Lincoln thought about removing blacks from the country), and 40 pages on the 1960s (and how really great they were). Were they trying to indocrinate us, you think?

    1. Statists love education…for themselves. That is why neither they nor their children ever attend public schools. With the illiterate young people I see coming out of the public education system nowadays, it makes me wonder if the dumbing down of children is intentional. Uneducated people can’t think for themselves and are deprived of their freedom as a result.

  3. God forbid the little Darlings know how to read and write!!! What is this world coming to? Read and have to be kidding! It’s all about ‘feelings’…doncha know? And with Obummer, well, we all know what he’s all about!

  4. I fear for our freedom. I fear there will be no election in 2012. I fear that corruption has terminally infected our nation. I fear that the childhood I knew – a childhood that included an education which instilled the concept of endless possibility – has been purposely destroyed for future generations.
    I hope and pray for moral, ethical, strong leaders to arise and lead this country back to our founding fathers intent. I hope for a change.

      1. You should read the writings of Frederick Douglass. He understood what the founders were trying to do with the 3/5th clause. The clause was intended to reduce the influence slave holder states had on the legislature.

          1. He’s either Strom Thurman in disguise just “jerkin yer chain”
            or a barry hussein ubama groupie/deviant/czar sent to infiltrate
            and report back to his majesty.. but then again he could be
            ubama’s graffiti czar (the one who’s putting arab messages on
            Southwest’s planes) with a little time on his hands…

      2. Mr. Ray, I can’t discern when people are injecting sarcasm into a conversation with intent or as an attempt at humor. I have throughtfully considered your response for several days in an effort to understand your response to my comment. I have come to the conclusion that I will never understand why anyone who abhors slavery would willingly enslave themselves to a government. Knowledge is power, Mr. Ray. Is that why our government is supportive of our educational system’s apparent discouragement of critical thinking skills, including those necessary for healthy competition
        and productive discourse?

    1. bettyann, Car In, please no personal attacks on DR, please. He has a right to comment here. Thanks. Just talking about this portion of the thread, not the other parts, where your comments are critical but not personal attacks.

  5. Teachers are the whipping boys of our society — probably because everybody has had a teacher, so therefore thinks they know what teachers do! Mitt Romney lost me last night, when he supported Obama’s race to the top, which is really NCLB on crack. After being a nurse for 30 years and now an elementary teacher for 7 years, I’ve seen that if there are bad teachers, it’s because they’ve been beaten down by a dysfunctional system and are in pure survival mode. Teachers’ basic needs in the classroom ARE NOT BEING MET!

    1. Teacher’s are the whipping boy because we are met with the constant demand for more money and more benefits (or crying about contributing a pittance to heath insurance), while stats show that the spending on education has gone up and up and test scores have flat lined.

      1. My sister is a teacher and will be retiring in a few years. She was totally shocked to find out how little my husband’s pension will be even though he is upper management in a Fortune 500 company. And nowadays, most companies don’t offer private pensions, either.

        Those working for the government (local, state, federal, whatever) really have no idea how the rest of us live.

      2. One of the problems with education is that it attracts people who can turn out good grades through college and the credential process. Good teaching, however, is a performing art that inspires students and often times people who are academically gifted as not “people-people.” Regarding test scores, they’ve gone down over the past 30 years largely because society has become less disciplined.

    2. Education is not about education anymore. Public schooling is about perpetuating a bureaucracy; not teaching children something. You only have to spend a brief time on FB to see how many people can’t spell or write a coherent sentence. (unfortunately teachers are included in that)

      My SIL is a long time public school teacher. Her school was closing this year. When we saw her in June, she told us that she spent the last month of school having her class help her pack up the classroom. No lesson plans, no teaching, just games to make packing fun. The thing is, she told us this with a note of pride in her voice. It didn’t even occur to her to hide the fact that she was not doing what she was being paid to do.

      1. My son spent the last two weeks of his sophomore year english class watching movies. The teacher was being laid off, so he didn’t give a shit. Of course, he got “rehired” so his little fit did nothing but harm the children.

  6. This piece pretty much sums up the thinking behind the ‘tea party’ supporters when they cry out “take back our government”. The MSM made the grass roots movement Dem vs Repub because they just couldn’t imagine that it was a people vs government action.

    There isn’t a lot that ordinary citizens can do about these unlawful grabs of power that this (and previous) adminstrations used to shape their view of what’s “right” except to keep removing offending elected officials with those who understand and support our constitution.

    1. You are spot on srdem. Neither the MSM nor the political class understand our movement because it is not about the two party system, it is about following the Constitution and returning the control of government to the people. We stand by and helplessly watch the power grab by the socialist democrats and establishment republicans. All we can do is identify them, document their actions, spread the word, and remove them from office in the next election. Finding good men and women who are willing and able to take the sling shots from the MSM and stand for election is another difficult challenge.

      1. I was not politically active in my youth, I’m embarrassed to say. Then came work, marriage, the kids and life. I look back on those times now and see what fools we were for not taking the hippies seriously. They tried the violent overthrow in the 60’s but it backfired on them. They are back and as Van Jones said, We shed the radical pose to achieve the radical ends. They became educators, lawyers, and politicians. The educators are indoctrinating our children, and they have been for going on two generations now…while we slept. I’m praying we didn’t wake up too late.

  7. Thank you for the new word — satrapy. He is governing by fiat now. Congress has become inconsequential to him, and any legislation they write will be quashed — except for the funding bills to keep this monster government fed.

    Did you hear the House passed another stop gap funding bill last night? We have no idea what is in that bill yet, because Boehner broke that promise of posting all legislation for 3 days long ago.

    The founders feared the word democracy and associated it with mob rule. That is why they fought for and established a republican form of government. Looking at the state of our Republic right now, their fears were justified.

    1. It sad that you believe that of Republicans. It will be your undoing. It’s pathetic that you cannot argue and debate with actual conservative ideas, instead of the caricatures in your head, but I understand it’s a common downfall of the left.

      1. Caricatures? I’m sorry, but have I been imagining these cheers and jeers rising from the crowds at the Republican debates? Did I misread those boos being offered by conservative hypocrites who normally cheer for our brave Boots on the Ground, doing the job that they are not patriotic enough to undertake themselves?

        And by the way, did any of the candidates on stage that night dissent from the ape-like reaction that Rick “Frothy” Santorum’s remarks engendered?

        1. MT for re-redistribution

          All I know is that if I employed someone with an attitude like Ray’s, I would keep an eye on him. But that seems pretty unlikely to be realistic situation.

          1. If I had you had an employer, MT, I’m pretty sure I’d have a plausible worker discrimination case against you in short order.

            Would you like to be the first to go on the record in favor of Rick Santorum’s remarks? I sense a lot of squirming taking place here.

          2. Speaking of which…Obama’s “jobs” bill creates a protected class out of the chronically unemployed (his voting base). If one of the poor downtrodden 99ers interviews for a job and isn’t offered that job, they can file suit against the employer for discrimination. Pretty nifty scam if you can work it. That’s sure to do wonders for job creation.

  8. Every now and then, we get to read the thoughts of “Death Ray”. It is obvious that Death Ray is a progressive, so one must wonder why he trolls on a non-progressive blog? For the most part Death Rays comments are as sad as they are funny.

    Having read Death Rays ramblings, I wonder exactly what he wants America to be? Obviuosly, Death Ray does not the America that those of us on this blog love or like. Those of us here, are concerned of the leftist, marxist shift in our system and social structure. We see that BHO is living up to his word that he wants to fundamentaly transform America.

    So I often wonder about folks like Death Ray and what they would like America to become? More like europe? China? Kenya? Really, I am asking because it is obvious that progressives do not like the America that we like or love and want to change it. Will these changes ever reach a end? What will that end look like? Where will people like Death Ray themselves fit in to the ‘new’ America that they want? Do the progressives believe that they will be the ones “in power” to reign over the non-progressives, some how holding some rank over the little people? The Death Rays of the population seem to not realise that they will not be the ‘power’ and will be subjects like the rest of us.

    So, I will contiue to find humor in these comments and ponder what America really means.

    1. Good questions, Russell. I always think of liberals/progressives as nihilists. Nihilists have, “a belief that life is pointless and human values are worthless.” Which values are of worth, none of them can tell you.

      The really, really fun ones channel aliens and dead Indians. But that’s another thread.

    2. I love being referred to as “pathetic”, “sad”, etc. I can always depend on those opinions not being backed up with some sensible refutation of what I am saying, but simplywith some slam against my lack of perspective.

      Take Russell for example. Just what exactly was the point of his soliloquy? It’s just a bunch of right wing porridge completely disconnected from any topic I have brought up.

      Or maybe that is the best you have to offer against the point I DID raise. Maybe your answer to the obvious fact that the Republicans are running a slate of psychopaths, plutocrats and carnival attractions for president is that “Hey, at least they’ll make it legal again for the Aetna to cancel my health insurance for not reporting a hangnail!”

      Liberal? Progressive? Hell, I’ll burn incense for Stalin if it will differentiate me from a pile of toe jam like Rick Santorum! Let me hear a single ONE of you throw your weight behind Santorum’s sentiments. Go on, if you have the sack for it. Tell everyone here that you believe that a gay soldier serving in the desert isn’t worth 500 of the hypocrites in the audience who booed him from the safety of American soil, and I will be put in my place. Any takers?

      So who are you guys realistically left with at this point? Unless an actually electable candidate enters the race, you have the man who invented Obamacare vs a pair of cowboy boots who wants to eliminate Social Security (don’t pretend that THAT doesn’t smart, since I know the people who comment here trend older than the asteroid belt.)

      Does that sound nihilistic, Betty? Because reminding you just how delusional you are– based on the candidates you yourselves have put forward to lead this country–really puts lead in my pencil.

      1. I am sure many of us could rustle up an equally “clever” description of the fake elected last ime–but what is the point? We know from experience, now, what we would get in the incumbent and we won’t stand for it.

        1. Star, rather than being pointlessly coy, why don’t you tell us who the “fake” is and how you justify that opinion. And make it good, sister, because I smell a big ol’ pile of birther bullshit on the way.

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  10. “…we can’t afford to sit here and not support states.”

    Where is this sentiment regarding Arizona’s law enforcement being targeted by illegal immigrants, or when Texas was burning?

    The fed is AWOL regarding their REAL responsibilities (financial and geographic border issues, supporting states during natural disasters, etc), but they put on a good show when they try to sell their personal agendas. Sorry, education is NOT one of the fed’s responsibilities, aside from setting standards (NCLB).

    I hate socialism. It’s so crooked, it makes me sick.

    Good article Keith, as usual.

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  12. This is a remarkable event. Barack Obama has just decided he can rewrite laws without Congress. Can he also suspend the Constitution as well now?

  13. Pingback: Another Day, Another Power Grab | Grumpy Opinions

  14. Keith, Great post, you barely scratched the surface though.. one of my bloggers has been following this for a long time… In a much less publicized part of of the scheme he plans on using the Department of Education to gather massive amounts of personal data about students and their parents– The statement is directly from the Department of Education.

    This disclosure of PII could be accomplished without parents’ consent, and in most cases without even their knowledge

    I don’t want to look like I’m spamming your site– so I won’t leave a link- if you want to know more I’m not hard to find..

  15. There are a large number of governmental agencies which are run by presidential appointees. These appointees must be approved of by congress. What happens when the Congress and the President are all on the same party line is that the vast bureaucratic ship of state turns towards a direction that looks a lot like a centralization of power and a primary dominion. These are things which the founders of America sought to avoid.

  16. Just because “It’s the right thing to do” it does not justify taking control and governing by fiat. If it is the “right thing to do”, then, do it the right way.

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