For years, Democrats wanted a larger role for the federal government in education for two reasons: equitable resources and civil rights.

Arne Duncan has managed to sour many Democrats on an expanded role for the federal government by abandoning those two goals and instead pushing an agenda of federal control over curriculum, instruction, testing, and teacher evaluation. Functions that once belonged to states and districts have been taken over by Arne’s wishes, not even by federal law. States lose Arne’s waiver from NCLB’s impossible mandate for 100% proficiency if they don’t do what Arne wants. His preference for charter schools and TFA and high-stakes testing is clear. His dictatorial style has ignored equity and civil rights.

John Kline, leader of the House Education Committee, said in an interview that his top priority was revising NCLB and reducing the federal role. Ten years ago, Democrats and educators would have objected. No more.