Government’s Version of Accountability
So, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is threatening to stop enforcing regulations if Congress doesn’t modify them to account for the failure of those regulated to comply:
Frustrated by what he called a “slow-motion train wreck” for U.S. schools, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he will give schools relief from federal mandates under the No Child Left Behind law if Congress drags its feet on the law’s long-awaited overhaul and reauthorization. …
Duncan has warned that 82 percent of U.S. schools could be labeled failures next year if No Child Left Behind isn’t changed. Education experts have questioned that estimate.
Still, no one thinks states will meet the law’s goal of having 100 percent of students proficient in math and English by 2014. A school that fails to meet targets for several consecutive years faces sanctions that can include firing teachers or closing the school entirely.
Therein lies the problem with repairing government ineptitude with greater and more-centralized government authority: Nobody actually believes government will use the stick against itself or its favored constituencies when the carrots stop working. Government self-regulation is a perpetual bluff.
For those who might be tempted to make the distracting claim that I can’t believe what I write because the legislation in question passed during the Bush Administration, I should note that I thought, said, and wrote much the same back when the law was still in the works.