Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman is withholding $3.4 million from the Nashville public schools as punishment for the defiance of the school board. The board voted four times to deny a charter to an Arizona company called Great Hearts, even though Huffman ordered the board to approve the application.

Clearly, Huffman does not believe in local control.

This seems to be an attitude of today’s reformers. Arne Duncan decided to rewrite NCLB to meet his own specifications. He likes mayoral control, where the mayor need not listen to parents or communities. ALEC has model legislation where governors can appoint a commission to authorize charter schools and override local opposition.

One begins to suspect that the reform movement is anti-democratic to its core.