When Mary Fallin gave back the 54 million dollar Early Innovator Grant to set up our state’s Obamacare Exchange some unusual things happened:
• Cries that the federal government was going to come in and set up Oklahoma’s exchange for them were EVERYWHERE with not only policy people, but legislators parroting this talking point.
• Governor Fallin sent the money back and not only did the federal government NOT come in and set up an exchange for us…
Many GREAT things have happened:
• Attorney General Scott Pruitt was able to use the argument that Oklahoma didn’t have an exchange as a linchpin in his lawsuit against the federal government enforcing national healthcare on Oklahomans
• States like Kansas – and others – followed Governor Fallin’s lead and didn’t set up their own
• Now we see states that DID kowtow to the feds are struggling with their own insurance exchanges which simply don’t function
What Happens When We Don’t Follow the Feds – Oklahoma DHS
In his debate for HB3399 on the floor of the House, Representative Jason Nelson recounted his work providing accountability for Oklahoma DHS, during which, he received several official letters from federal DHS warning him they would intervene in state business if he went too far.
Representative Nelson continued his work “too far”, and instead of intervening, the federal government backed down.
NCLB Waivers – Like NCLB Itself – Are “Crumbling”
The following excerpt is from an EdWeek article entitled, “Five Key Questions About the Ed. Department’s Move on NCLB Waivers”
Margaret Spellings, a key architect of the original NCLB law who served as secretary of education under President George W. Bush, told me two years ago that waivers would be very tough to manage and oversee.
“The waivers were a mistake,” she said back in August 2012. “It’s a crazy quilt of a system which I think will die [on its] own.”
Because the NCLB Waiver system has been so far reaching, there will be little the DOE can do to keep states in line – there is simply no manpower to undertake a “check and punish” system for states that go their own way. In addition, there are so many inconsistencies in the program – who gets a waiver, who doesn’t – that it leaves states room to be able to argue a DOE decision on that basis alone.
A signature on HB3399, could be just the impetus needed to force action on No Child Left Behind at the federal level and to prevent the overreach into state education via the No Child Left Behind waivers.
About the author: Jennie White is president of Restore Oklahoma Public Education and a freelance writer with School Reform News. She also owns Marshall’s Memories and creates original jewelry designs using vintage materials.