By Ramsey Cox
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told governors to stand up to President Obama and "end the trend toward a national school board."
"This administration has used the combination of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and waivers from No Child Left Behind to, in effect, turn itself into a national school board, making decisions that states and local communities ought to make for themselves," Alexander said to the National Governors Association, which met in his home state over the weekend.
Alexander, who serves as ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has opposed the administration's education policies, which he says force states to adhere to federal standards in order to receive funding.
"We need to stop Washington from making it harder for governors to improve their public schools, raise standards and recruit and keep good teachers," Alexander said. "The administration's overreach is creating a backlash from both conservatives and liberal groups, undermining the high standards, quality tests, teacher evaluations, and other reforms that most of us want.
Last week, one of the largest teachers unions -- the National Education Association (NEA) -- called for Education Secretary Arne Duncan's resignation. Teachers unions have opposed the administration's support for charter schools and teacher evaluations based on student test scores.
Alexander said the governors should support his legislation, which would "free states" to meet the needs of their students without federal interference.