The Latest Fed-Ed Assault on Local Control: Mandatory Preschool and Principals’ Re-Education Programs   11 comments

Nothing real supports the  outrageous, increasing, ongoing federal overtake of schools. Federal bluffing and federal pretense to education authority continues because it is upheld by the stupored, undefending millions of us who aren’t aware of our right to control education locally  –and who do not defend it.

Two federal overtake moves stand out in my mind today as heart-stoppingly wrong.  These are things that we should firmly, loudly oppose.

  • The first is Secretary Arne Duncan’s mandatory preschool.  In his “Statement for the Record” to Congress concerning the new education budget request, Duncan lay aside the former practice of calling federal preschool voluntary.  In this recent (April 29, 2014) speech, Duncan called for mandatory preschool:  “The third major priority in the 2015 request is to continue the President’s commitment to expanding educational opportunity for millions of children through a $75 billion mandatory Preschool for All program…” he said.


  • The other is the Department of Education’s principals’ re-education program, aka “Principal Ambassador Fellowship” (PAF).  Do you like the idea of federally-approved-and-groomed, model “Fellowship” principals, teaching your local principal how to “engage with” federal policies?  Me neither.

From the Department of Education’s site, learn why the PAF program exists: —“principals should have meaningful opportunities to both contribute to and understand the  [federal] policies” —“to implement needed reforms, all stakeholders… must understand the intent of [federal] policy…” —“PAF’s will spend time gaining greater knowledge of the content of key federal programs and policies…” — “Principal Ambassador Fellows (PAF) are hired.. to facilitate cooperation between the Federal Government and the non-Federal entity…”

The Department of Education Secretary said, on the very same page where he announced the PAF program, that “The best ideas in education will never come from me or anyone else in Washington, D.C.  They’re always going to come from a local level.”  Yet principals are also told to understand and engage with federal policies.    Such doublespeak. It is pretty unlikely that principals lack or need “greater knowledge” of the federal agenda.  Given the increasing number of examples of defenders, notably schools like Maesar Prep in Utah, superintendents like Joseph Rella in New York, or the example of the state of Washington, which recently refused to tie teacher evaluation to Common Core student testing and got punished by Arne Duncan’s yanking of the state’s NCLB waiver– given these examples, it is more likely that principals are showing signs of resistance to the federal standardizations being shoved down their throats. Good for them.

11 responses to “The Latest Fed-Ed Assault on Local Control: Mandatory Preschool and Principals’ Re-Education Programs

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  1. Reblogged this on News You May Have Missed and commented:
    The Latest Fed-Ed Assault on Local Control: Mandatory Preschool and Principals’ Re-Education Programs

  2. “Mandatory for the preschool program does not mean all children would be required to attend. Rather it’s a federal budget term that means Duncan wants that program set up as an entitlement program. Congress would review that spending category from time to time to make adjustments. This is compared to “discretionary” spending. If the preschool program were set up as “discretionary” then Congress reviews it every year and decides on its funding level. States would “partner” with the feds on this program (ha, ha). I’m not a fan either and would agree w/you if you argued this is a first step toward “mandatory” in the sense that all youngsters must attend. But just wanted to point out what the bureaucratic lingo means. Wanting it to be “mandatory” is a big deal –the lion’s share of the federal budget comes from these types of programs. And once they start, of course, they rarely, if ever, go away.

  3. Yes, you are continuing the pattern of misleading posts. As another respondent said, the program is not mandatory for individuals. It is mandatory that the program be available in low-income areas. I mean–think about it! How could there be mandatory pre-school when kindergarten is not mandatory!

    On your second point, there’s no reason–other than paranoia–to object to the PAF program. Do I want my outstanding principal to be knowedgable about federal policy? Absolutely! Do I want her to be in a position to give her input on local issues and concerns? For sure!

    Integrity, please.

  4. Let’s give our most at-risk preschoolers (those “entitled” to it ie title 1 poverty students) more schooling. Ok…I’m not fully opposed to early ed, but more of a broken system doesn’t make it better and just paves the pathway for more p-20 data collection and control. Do children need early ed? Sometimes, yes…I knew of a school in a high poverty area where kindergartners came to school never having held a crayon, seen a book, heard the alphabet. But yet…standardizing pre-k could mean more “rigor” and less play based learning because you can’t standardize or benchmark imagination. Wow…I really like that statement and need it on a bilboard.

  5. How do I contact you? I have some information about the testing, from two teachers, one verbally, and one in writing about the tests and their results, and the teachers grading process, and when the final grades are due!

  6. Reblogged this on Same Deep Water As You.

  7. Great post!

  8. Thank you so much for all the information on your website.
    I am the mother of a 3rd grade student at Addison Mizner Elementary School in Boca Raton, FL. Our state recently started this idiotic and logically flawed Common Core way of learning. Of course, we’re having all sorts of issues with math and other academic lessons which make no sense. The more urgent and alarming problem is the new guidance counselor at the school. I don’t know if this is just taking place at my child’s school or if this is happening state-wide or even nation-wide in Common Core schools.

    My child came home a few months ago and said “We don’t have computer class anymore.” This is a class the children attend about once a week as an elective like Art, Music, P.E. My child explained “Instead we have to go to the guidance counselor for that class time and listen to her talk. We played a game and she gave out candy.” The guidance counselor is handing out assignments to the entire third grade on a regular basis. She is also writing her own little propaganda article in the school paper every month. The first assignment was pushing these 8 year old children to start thinking about careers and get on that path now. Also the children had to interview someone about their career and background education. The questions included “What are the classes you took in school that helped you with this career?” and “When you were my age, what did you want to be?” I know one thing for sure, no child dreams of growing up to be a school guidance counselor. In this day and age, successful people can have two or three different careers in a lifetime. When I was a child I was repeatedly told I could be anything I wanted to be. An eight year old should not be given career pressures. It is a form a child abuse to give adult burdens to children. They’re just little kids! These third graders have very little life experience and it might not be the best time in life to choose a career path and plan your future from age 8! Talk about pressure.

    This week, the guidance counselor is teaching them “the character trait of citizenship”. According to this guidance counselor, “a citizen follows the rules” and does what they are told. This is not only a waste of time, but it simply makes no sense. Citizenship does not have a “character trait”. The role of citizenship is completely different in other parts of the world compared to the USA because we have the Constitution. I notice they will never teach these kids about the Constitution. Jokingly, I said to another parent that the kids won’t be able to read the U.S. Constitution themselves because they can’t read or write in cursive!

    I can’t believe these “educators” will do ANYTHING except teach my child. Are they teaching complex algorithm multiplication/division? No. It looks like they’re doing work all day, but really it is “wheel spinning”. Is my child being taught any of the classics in literature? No. Do they have vocabulary words? No. Is my child being taught spelling? No. Is my child being taught grammar? No. I teach my child all those things at home. Instead of learning the basics, these bright eyed children are sitting in a once a week class with a guidance counselor. It would be great if they could send the mentally disturbed children to the guidance counselor regularly, but why is the entire class doing this?

    Throwing more money at this broken educational system will only make it more corrupt and backwards. It takes no money at all for the teacher to use the class time effectively. You don’t need a computer program or more funding or anything other than paper/pencil and a passion for the subject matter. With a paper and pencil I managed to teach my child math skills they refuse to teach in school like algorithm multiplication and division – and it cost $0.

    It is my opinion most children with good grades are essentially being home-schooled while also attending public school. The most frequent complaint I hear from other parents “My child isn’t learning anything in school.” and the second most frequent complaint is “I don’t know why they are teaching this strange math, it’s too many steps.”

    The next complaint will be “Why is there a ‘guidance counselor class’ for elementary school?” Because no one is asking for their child to be put in this class. It’s not needed, and I can’t understand how the department of education can justify spending tax payer money hiring guidance counselors to give career advice to 8 year old children. It’s such a ridiculous concept. The situation would be funny if it wasn’t so infuriating.

    Feel free to share my letter if it can help raise awareness. Please do not share my name or email address because I fear retribution for expressing my opinion.


    A Concerned Parent

    • Wow, that is mind-numbing! You know, my 1st grader mentioned her guidance counselor was coming to class to “teach a lesson”. I wonder now if it was something similar. It’s really sad… I live in a nationally recognized public school district in PA. We were even listed as one of the top 20 public school districts in our state this year (for what that’s worth). My child walks to the her elementary school and now we are taking her out of public and deciding on which private school she will be attending in the fall for 2nd grade. I’m thankful the bishop of our diocese ( we are Catholic) has come out against adopting the cc standards. At least I have some very good options in my area. (Of course this comes at quite a cost on top of some very high school taxes that we also pay)…Just a shame schools are forced to implement these oppressive reforms.

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