• 41°

Fixing our education system is job for Congress

President Barack Obama correctly overturned a hopelessly optimistic provision in No Child Left Behind, the bipartisan school reform law signed by President George W. Bush in 2002, that could penalize districts for failing to have 100 percent of students proficient in math and reading by 2014.

But Obama may not simply edit the measure to suit himself. Congress has to have a say.

According to NCLB, Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have the authority to waive the 100 percent standard, but Republicans are on solid ground when they say that the administration lacks the power to go any further. …

More questionable than the waiver itself, which Ohio is still considering applying for, said a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, was the Obama team’s next step — trying to make the waiver conditional on a state’s promise to reform its lowest-performing schools and create a system for evaluating teachers’ performance.

Obama cannot take it upon himself to remake education in the United States. The Republicans make an air-tight case that if such a job is to be done, it falls to Congress.

So, faced with an unrealistic law that no one wants even to try to enforce, Congress needs to get back in the saddle and try again.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer