How do you respond to critics who say that linking waivers to conditions [such as improving teacher evaluations or data systems] goes beyond the authority you have under the law?
Secretary Spellings had waiver authority and used it. We’re doing the same thing, and we’re absolutely confident in our legal authority. I know not everyone in Congress is thrilled, but I’ve talked to 45 or 46 governors, almost every governor, Republican, Democrat, everyone is saying, “At least someone in Washington is listening to the real world.” Haley Barbour in Mississippi said, “Thank God someone is listening.” There isn’t one governor saying, “I’m not interested” or “Why are you doing this?”
I hope this will be a bridge or transition to reauthorization [of the No Child law]. I wish we would have gotten there, hasn’t happened yet, but I hope it will. But it would be the height of arrogance and tone-deafness to just sit here and do nothing when you have a law that simply isn’t working for children, their schools, and teachers.