The Obama administration, certain that it knows the “right thing to do,” boldly overturns decades of policy and institutes its own vision of a brave new world. Gradually, it becomes clear that toying around with longstanding policies and practices produces all kinds of unintended consequences, creating policy potholes, causing implementation snags, and stirring up lots of political hornets nests. The administration is then forced to bob and weave with explanations for what’s gone wrong, while attempting an oscillating variety of micro policy fixes to patch up a growing number of cracks.
Obamacare or the Common Core–ESEA waivers gambit?
If you’ve been following the news, you know that Obamacare may go down, even according to the New York Times, as this administration’s "Katrina response"—a government debacle of epic proportions.
But we have an increasing number of examples that the Department of Education’s hubris on standards, testing, and accountability—really the core of the last 20 years of state and federal education policy—has also caused quite a mess that might get worse before it gets better.
Not surprisingly, it’s starting to appear that the Department is making things up as it goes along (Politics K-12 calls it “flying by the seat of its pants”), making decisions, realizing their folly, and then changing course.
If you like your new federal education policies, you can keep them. . .until you can’t.
Take, for example, the letter the...