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Opinion: How Obama Got Schooled

Barack Obama has not been shy about exercising federal power over the states, in areas ranging from health care to the environment. That’s been especially true in elementary and secondary education, where Washington spent $42 billion last year. Obama has leveraged federal school aid to promote higher standards, school choice, better tests, and more meaningful measures of teacher performance. When a paralyzed Congress couldn’t make needed fixes to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), he used a regulatory strategy to let states out from under the law’s most troublesome provisions in exchange for commitments to the same reforms.