Breitbart reports that the Obama administration has rescinded Oklahoma’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver in response to the state’s repeal of Common Core making it clear that the feds will not sit idly by as states assert authority over their own education policy.

NCLB was put in place under the second President Bush and requires that all schools in a state meet yearly progress goals for their test scores.  Schools which do not meet goals become subject to reconfiguration.

The federal government used waivers from NCLB and a $4.3 billion federal grant program titled Race to the Top to compel states to adopt the Common Core Standards. The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) asserts the standards promote “college-and-career-readiness” because they incorporate “critical thinking and problem solving skills”.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin spoke out strongly against the Obama administration’s actions.  Breitbart quotes her as follows,

“Because of overwhelming opposition from Oklahoma parents and voters to Common Core, Washington is now acting to punish us. This is one more example of an out-of-control presidency that places a politicized Washington agenda over the well-being of Oklahoma students.”

This federal/ state dispute over who calls the shots on education policy is a good thing.  It’s time states start pushing back on federal overreach.  When it comes to health care and education, the recent trend has been for the federal government to assert increasing control over policy and to preclude the development of state-based solutions to problems that are best solved by representatives closer to the people.

But as long as states and local governments fall prey to the allure of federal grant money, they will never be in a position to sever the ties that bind.  Ironically, the dollars most school districts in Ohio received in Race to the Top grants, do not come close to covering the implementation costs of the standards, not to mention the opportunity cost of losing control over curriculum.

It’s time state and local officials wise-up and tally all costs associated with accepting funding from the federal government before becoming beholden to it.