Using federal waivers to dictate policy changes to the states is damaging to democratic government, and you don’t even need to be a conservative to see that. Rick Hess imagines this interview from the future:
Chris Wallace: Last November, the Democrats narrowly retained control of the Senate and the Republicans enjoy only a modest majority in the House. Are you worried you’ll be unable to make the legislative changes that you and the President think necessary?
SecEd Nominee Bachmann: Once upon a time, that might’ve been a concern. Happily, the Obama administration provided a path for driving educational change even when you don’t have the votes. That’s why we’ve promised that, come inauguration day, we’ll be ditching the Obama administration’s requirements for waivers from No Child Left Behind and substituting our own. They’ll be drawn from the President’s plan that we’ve been calling the Freedom Blueprint.
Chris Wallace: What do you have in mind?
SecEd Nominee Bachmann: We’ll be employing the Obama administration’s notion that we can provide states waivers from federal law so long as they promise to do stuff that we like. We’ll impose a few conditions for states seeking to maintain their NCLB waivers or obtain new ones. They’ll have to adopt certain elements of our Freedom Blueprint if they want their waivers.
Chris Wallace: What are those elements?
SecEd Nominee Bachmann: We have five in mind. States will need to institute a moment of silence in all “turnaround” schools, adopt a statewide school voucher plan for low-income students and those in failing schools, require abstinence education, restrict collective bargaining to wages and prohibit bargaining over benefits or policy, and ask states to revise their charter laws to ensure that for-profit operators are no longer discriminated against on the basis of tax status.