When the Every Student Succeeds Act was passed, there was a bipartisan majority that agreed on reining in Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education.

Race to the Top, which was not a law but a program, gave the federal government unprecedented power to dictate what happened in public schools across the nation.

ESSA is flawed in many ways but one point is clear: It is intended to empower districts and states to make decisions (about some things, but not about annual testing, which is still mandated).

Many observers think it is wrong to take power away from the federal government because states and districts have not always been diligent in protecting the rights of children.

Apparently John King, the Secretary of Education, agrees that the federal government should hold onto the power that Congress has taken away. He is writing the regulations for implementation of ESSA, and the regulations appear to nullify parts of the law.

He got his first grilling today, before a House Committee. Representative Kline let him know how unhappy he and the committee are.

King will also appear before the Senate HELP Committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions), chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander. Senator Alexander will demand fidelity to the law. King apparently thinks that Congress can be ignored, bypassed, or fooled. Senator Alexander was Secretary of Education from 1991-1993. He will not be patient with obstruction.