John Kline

Faced with a looming deadline and a deadlocked legislature, Barack Obama is employing a strategy many wish he had in the recent debt ceiling talks: He’s bypassing Congress altogether. On Monday, Obama approved a Department of Education plan to grant waivers allowing states to bypass the most stringent and unrealistic requirements of the Bush-era education law known as No Child Left Behind, including its fairy-tale provision that all schools must be 100 percent proficient in reading and math by 2014, in exchange for the adoption of certain policy priorities.

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Not long ago, Kevin Carey laid out the depressing possibility that Republicans would revert to their "local control" view of education, thus strangling reform. Today George Will reports, encouragingly, that John Kline -- the House Republican who chairs the education committee --  is trying to change the minds of Republicans in the House: Their theory is that education in grades K through 12, which gets most of the Education Department’s attention, is a quintessentially state and local responsibility, so the department is inimical to local control of education.

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Toxic Combination

For years, teachers’ unions have claimed that education reformers are mounting a “war on teachers.” Now, in the Midwest and Republican-dominated states across the country, we are witnessing what a war on teachers really looks like.

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A huge proportion of our political discourse is consumed by bullshit -- statements that have absolutely no bearing to the actual beliefs of the person uttering them. The other day I noticed this quote by GOP Rep. John Kline in National Review, on the subject of the House GOP's plans to mount an exhaustive attack on the Affordable Care Act:  The Republicans dismissed criticism that the GOP is focusing too much time and energy on health care, as opposed to job creation.

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Washington, D.C. might not be the only place where a change in elected officials could soon disrupt education reform. Education Week has an interview today with Congressman John Kline, who, if the GOP takes the House this November, would likely become the chairman of the education and labor committee. And it doesn’t sound like he’s on board with many of the Obama administration’s key reform initiatives. He doesn’t want to give the administration additional money to extend its hallmark Race to the Top competition: This is the U.S.

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President Obama has threatened to veto the war funding bill that passed the House on Thursday night. The president's beef is with a provision to prevent teacher layoffs, which Democrats tacked onto the bill along with several other domestic priorities. To pay for the measure, the House agreed to cut money from some of the president's key education reform initiatives. Obama isn't happy about it. Nor should he be. Here's the back story: Thanks to severe cuts in state budgets, between 100,000 and 300,000 teachers could lose their jobs this year.

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Be There and Be Square

The White House has released some more details about Thursday's Blair House meeting: Who will be there and the shape of the table where they'll all be sitting: The President will be seated in the middle of one side of the hollow square, with the Vice President, Secretary Sebelius, and congressional Leadership seated alongside him.

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