NC Reps criticize Obama’s higher ed statements

NC Reps criticize Obama’s higher ed statements

Elizabeth McMichael

President Barack Obama made his stance on higher education very clear during his speech at the Higher Education Summit at the White House on Jan. 16.

He wants to reform higher education to include additional lower income students and push for graduation in four years. The ideas he is pushing for are well thought out and would lead to the success of many students, but there were a few choice words directed at Congress in the process.

At the summit Obama said, “I’ve got a pen to take executive actions where Congress won’t, and I’ve got a telephone to rally folks around the country on this mission.”

Representatives John Kline and Virginia Foxx saw this statement as a threat to subvert Congress on higher education and stated that this action was disappointing.

Kline and Foxx wrote a letter to Obama on Feb. 12 discussing some of the statements he made and requesting a briefing.

“The Department of Education has failed to release a comprehensive proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act,” Kline and Foxx stated in their letter. “Instead, the department continues to propose prescriptive, one-size-fits-all policies.”

So, Obama is threatening to pass over Congress for not acting, but Congress has not been able to act because they have nowhere to go since a proper plan has not been presented by the Department of Education.

This is a communication malfunction that has placed the executive branch and Congress on opposite ends.

The Department of Education needs to sit down with members of Congress and talk with them about a plan that will ultimately fit with the needs of the highly diverse education system of the United States.

That can start with the briefing that Kline and Foxx asked for in their letter. They requested that Obama talk to them about his planned executive actions and the steps he plans to take to help with the challenges of the education system.

The only way to prevent more of a rift between the branches of government on higher education is for them to come together and communicate properly about what needs to happen.

We cannot have the success we desire if threats and faulty plans continue to be thrown at each other.

Elizabeth McMichael, a freshman chemistry major from Raleigh, is an opinion writer.