Protecting our children from increasing oppressions and loss of freedoms will require not allowing federal S.1177 to pass.
The name of S.1177, which now sits in the Senate on Capitol Hill, is also: “The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015,” “No Child Left Behind – rewritten,” “Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” and is virtually the same as House Bill HR5, “The Student Success Act” which passed the House yesterday.
In my own mind I have given all its versions this name: Nasty Orwellian Progressive Education (NOPE) –a convenient, more honest, and recyclable title. We will surely have to recycle S.1177 and its clones because it will not die. Although it died in HR5 form in Congress earlier this year, thanks to We the People being alert and active, now it has risen, passed the House as HR5– and will rise again until that relentless, growing clique (Duncan/Gates/Tucker/Pearson NGA/NCSL/CCSSO/REL/ et al) gets its way– until there is no longer any such thing as student privacy or local autonomy in any school. If you think I’m exaggerating, please study the words and actions of each of those ed reform moguls.
I decided to skim the near-800 page bill using American Principles Project’s 21 items as my guide. The hide and seek that readers must wield with the real purposes and powers of this bill is ridiculous. Clearly, the authors of S.1177 aim to obscure its true purposes, which I now see only serve the Obama-UN agenda for education.
The media’s calling S.1177 “a bipartisan compromise” but that’s far from true. It’s all part of the Common Core bipartisan profiteering scheme that aligns federal tests and standards, but elbows out parents and voters. Many in Congress are fooled, but don’t you be fooled by the word “bipartisan” –nor by the bill’s misleading talking points.
The power struggle is no longer between the Republicans and the Democrats. Bipartisan means almost nothing. The fight is between voting families– We the People, whether Democratic, Republican or other– versus the clique of profiteering businessmen and politicians. Those who profit in money or with the power that increased data mining provides, each profit from the standardization and nationalization of testing, data standards, education standards, accountability measures, and aligned curriculum.
When I tried to call again and again to alert the U.S. senators, it was impossible to get through. So the effort of grassroots is kicking where it counts. Please, call senators again, every day. Call Sen. LaMar Alexander and Patty Murray after your own senators and board members. Bonus: you can very, very quickly tweet to all Senators repeatedly by clicking here. If you do not yet have a free Twitter account, please do it now by clicking here. It is easy.
Killing this bill ought to be easy because nobody likes No Child Left Behind, that ugly federal law, and this is its big brother. Ask any teacher, any principal, any politician in any party. NCLB blessed no child and was a bureaucratic quagmire. Why did its reauthorization successfully pass the Senate committee– unanimously— in April after being stopped in its tracks in March? And why is S.1177 onstage again? The answer is simple: because the states have become addicted to federal money and many are selling souls to get it.
Passing S.1177 based on money-fear is pure stupidity. More school funding comes from local sources, by FAR, than from federal funds, and ugly strings are attached to the federal money– strings that take away freedom, privacy rights, a say over our own schools. If we’d be courageous and fiscally responsible, and fire most of the outrageous salary-consumers at state offices of education and the entire federal Dept of Ed, we’d have abundant cash for legitimate school needs. Plenty. We should be retaining local dollars, rather than sending them to D.C. to be redistributed back to some of us, conditionally. It’s common sense.
So here is my little list.
Six Things That I Find Evil, Hidden in S.1177
1. The bill aims to kill parental rights in the parental opt-out movement.
Taking away a parent’s authority over his or her own child is a crime that the Fed Ed is willing to try to get away with. This bill says that states must not only give federally aligned common core tests (they use the code term “college and career ready” which is Common Core) but must collect data from 95 percent of the students. That aims to kill our huge, growing parents’ opt out movement. The bill says, “Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students”. (1111)
2. The bill’s master-servant relationship between Fed Ed and State Ed is unconstitutional.
I don’t like the master-servant relationship between the Fed Ed agencies and the State agencies. It’s clearly, clearly unconstitutional. States are supposed to be in charge of their own educational systems. But in this bill, read: “The state shall submit,” and “The Secretary [Fed Ed] shall have power to disapprove a state plan” (Sec. 1111) “If a State makes significant changes to its plan at any time… such information shall be submitted to the Secretary”. That just gives the Fed Ed Secretary power to disapprove a state’s decision to drop Common Core. (Sec. 1111)
Cementing Common Core is not what the authors of S.1177 said were the goals of the bill, yet there it is. Putting parents last, and making states do the dirty work for the false authorities at the Department of Education, is a deceptive way of getting people to think that there’s less federal involvement, a misleading attempt to get conservative people to pass this bill.
3. The bill will suppress student expression of religious and political values.
I don’t like the bill’s repeated use of the concept and term “school climate” –for example, in conditional “formula grants”. These give the federal government power to model citizenship, to influence what is a federally appropriate world-view, and to pressure schools to suppress student expression of religious values, using each state as enforcer. (Sec. 4103-4104). The bill says that money will be conditionally given and that data gathered by the school will determine whether a student holds appropriate beliefs in the “school climate”. This will allow absolute federal indoctrination in local schools. If family values don’t match Fed Ed values, there will be federally-directed school-based re-education.
Here’s the very wordy sentence that unsuccessfully aims to hides its true aim, asking for collection of “school-level data on indicators or measures of school quality, climate and safety, and discipline, including those described in section 1111(d)(1)(C)(v); and risk factors in the community, school, family, or peer-individual domains that are known, through prospective, longitudinal research efforts, to be predictive of drug use, violent behavior, harassment, disciplinary issues, and having an effect on the physical and mental health and well-being of youth in the school and community.”
That pressures schools to conform to federal definitions of mental health, and forces schools to collect longitudinal data to build and analyze children’s psychological profiles. Schools wanting federal money must intervene if a student’s “mental health” or potential access to “violence” needs “mentoring”. (“Violence” by whose definition? Owning a hunting rifle –or even not being opposed to others owning them– is a data point for violence prediction in progressive surveys I’ve read) Does a child get federally approved “mentoring” and “referral” if he/she reports that his family owns and will always own guns, or if he/she reports that we teach that homosexuality is a perversion of God’s plan of happiness?
The bill says: “may include, among other programs and activities— drug and violence prevention activities and programs, including professional development and training for school and specialized instructional support personnel and interested community members in prevention, education, early identification, and intervention mentoring, and, where appropriate, rehabilitation referral, as related to drug and violence prevention… extended learning opportunities, including before and after school programs and activities, programs during summer recess periods, and expanded learning time… school-based mental health services, including early identification of mental-health symptoms… and appropriate referrals to direct individual or group counseling services” (4105)
4. The bill sees government, not families, at the center of the universe– for younger and younger people, for more and more of the time.
I don’t like the way federal schools are creeping into the community life via this bill. It allots money to fulfill Sec. Duncan’s “21st –century community learning centers” (Sec. 4201) I don’t like that this bill consumes more family time, giving so much time to government schools. The “community creep” of Fed Ed schools expands in multiple ways if S.1177 passes. The Fed Ed Secretary will pay “programs that support extended learning opportunities, including before and after school programs and activities, programs during summer recess periods, and expanded learning time; in accordance with subsections (c) and (d), school-based mental health services, including early identification of mental-health symptoms” — which means more government surveillance of belief and behavior, via more time spent with Fed Ed, and less time spent with Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa.
I noticed that “and community” is attached after the word “school” repeatedly. School and community. School and community. School and Community. Why? What business does the school have, expanding its creep into the community? Yet that’s exactly what Secretary Duncan has been calling for, for years. (See the old Charlie Rose interview on Youtube here, where Duncan asks for 6-7 day a week school, extremelylong days, all year round, with school replacing home or church as community center.)
5. The bill promotes federal definitions of mental health and promotes collection of mental health data.
I don’t like the bill’s assumption that fed ed defines mental health correctly, and for everyone. I don’t like that it promotes even more data mining than we already have inflicted upon our children.
The bill’s long, long, long, long sentences hide a lot, probably on purpose. So I’ve cut phrases to highlight what I see under the wordiness. Let me know what you think. Am I reading this wrong?
“The local educational agency or consortium… shall take into account… school-level data on… family… predictive of … mental health and well-being of youth in the school and community.” (See 4104)
So if a family teaches anything that varies from the federal opinion, it may expect trouble? If your child reported in a school survey, essay, or in a report which a child unknowingly gave via embedded assessment or stealth assessment— that you have taught them that God and biology proclaim that marriage is between a man and a woman, for example, expect trouble. If you taught that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness means that property ownership is noble and that social justice or redistribution is legalized plunder, expect trouble. If you teach that transgender-identified children ought to be loved, but never enabled to perform unalterable gender altering surgeries, expect trouble. Under a host of other issues identified as federally-politically-correct, your family teachings may not be compliant with federal definitions of mental “well-being” of youth.” Government, not families, are at the center of the universe when school data is gathered on children without parental consent, used to judge families’ and students’ psychological, religious or belief-based attitudes.
6. Toddler Snatching.
I don’t like that the bill puts it hands on preschoolers. It bullies preschools, too, by mandating federal preschool standards to be enforced by states, as it encourages states to take over toddler time from moms and dads. I don’t like the time-away-from-family aim nor the data mining aim (without consent of parents, of course). Preschool babies are to be psychologically profiled by the state. The bill does not state this plainly. You have to connect the dots: the word “preschool” shows up 43 times in the bill. Statewide preschool standards align with federal standards, creating nationalization of measurement of citizen babies; federal standards are heavily socio-emotional; it all results in the compilation of psychological data on very young children. We already had the Dept. of Ed and its partners co-creating Common Educational Data Standards (CEDS) the better to align everyone with, without voter input, and these folks wave banners with their motto (fourth principle) : “Continued Commitment to Disaggregation“ of students’ personal data. Your specific, individual child is wanted in their clutches. That’s what disaggregation means: not in a clump; individual.
I happen to have a toddler, who will never attend government preschool. Since my toddler has been watching VeggieTales for too long I’m going to quit right here and right now and take off to the park. I will be speed dialing senators with one hand while pushing the swing with the other, and hope you do the same.
Any one of these six are ample reason to kill this bill, but if you want more, please take the time to read 21 reasons to oppose S.1177 provided by the American Principles Project.
The ground is beginning to rumble on S.1177 because so many people reading the actual language in the bill. Alongside the summary of the American Principles Project above, see what Massachusetts parents are saying about S.1177. See what Missouri parents are saying, here and here. See what Indiana parents are saying. See what Florida parents are saying, here and here.
Then call, call, call.
- Here is the pro- summary of the bill provided by its creators, SenatorAlexander and Senator Murray.
- Here is the con- summary of the bill provided by actual liberty defenders, the American Principles Project. Most helpful.
- To read the whole, near-800 page monster bill, CLICK HERE, and insist that your senators and school boards read the bill. They are paid by our tax dollars to read bills and to speak intelligently about them. Pressure is on. No one can afford to trust talking points; verify claims in the bill’s language.
Look at more actual language found in S.1177 “THE EVERY CHILD ACHIEVES ACT” (duplicated on my other post here.)
- Pretending to protect states and parents from federal overreach using redundant, nonhelpful (and contradictory) language:
First the bill raises our hopes; the talking points sound good; maybe this won’t be a federal sledgehammer to parents and states. The bill’s sections 5001-5010 (a large chunk of the very large bill) even go under the title “Empowering Parents and Expanding Opportunity Through Innovation”. Sounds nice. But deep inside, the bill almost conceals ugly and unconstitutional words like this:
“State plan disapproval: The Secretary shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” –1004
“If the Secretary determines that a State plan does not meet the requirements of this subsection or subsection (b) or (c), the Secretary shall, prior to declining to approve the State plan immediately notify the State of such determination… offer the State an opportunity to revise” –1111
“A State educational agency may use not more than 5 percent of the amount made available to the State… for the following activities…”
- Aligning the U.S. to “college and career ready” standards which are Common Core, federally defined elsewhere:
“Closing student achievement gaps, and preparing more students to be college and career ready” -2501(4) (Making everyone common does tend to close the achievement gaps, by slowing those who would otherwise soar ahead of the mediocre and the slow.)
- Cementing the unconstitutional Fed-Master/State-Servant relationship:
“State plan disapproval: The Secretary shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” –1004
“For any State desiring to receive a grant under this part, the State educational agency shall submit to the Secretary a plan…” – 1111
- Retaining federal testing and standards mandates:
“Same standards: … standards required by subparagraph (A) shall be the same standards that the State applies to all public schools and public school students” –1111 (Do you want to give the feds the authority to dictate uniformity to us? What if a state wants to be innovative and diverse and various? That won’t be allowed by this federal law.)
“Alignment: Each State shall demonstrate that the challenging State academic standards are aligned with entrance requirements, without the need for academic remediation, for the system of public higher education in the State; relevant State career and technical education standards; and relevant State early learning guidelines” –1111
“Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students” -1204
“Measure the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students and students in each of the categories of students” – 1205
- Adding to the list of programs States must consult, and aligning with workforce socialism program:
“(aa) student readiness to enter postsecondary education or the workforce” -1111 (repeated many times)
“an application … shall include the following: A description of… assets, identified by the State… which shall include— an analysis of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education quality and outcomes in the State… labor market information regarding the industry and business workforce needs within the State….” –2504
- Dictating types of testing– including using nonacademic, interpretive, and diagnostic student reports:
“produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports… include information regarding achievement on academic assessments aligned with challenging State academic achievement standards… in uniform format” –1111(b) (2) (B) (vi) (xiii)
“(vi) involve multiple up-to-date measures of student academic achievement, including measures that assess higher-order thinking skills and understanding, which may include measures of student academic growth and may be partially delivered in the form of portfolios, projects, or extended performance tasks” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (vi)
Assessments must “be administered through a single summative assessment; or be administered through multiple statewide assessments during the course of the year if the State can demonstrate that the results of these multiple assessments, taken in their totality, provide a summative score” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (viii)
“(xiii) be developed, to the extent practicable, using the principles of universal design for learning.” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (xiii)
- Forcing out the parental opt-out movement; also, booting family out and putting government in to the center of the universe:
Crushing opt outs, each state test must “Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students” -1204
Same: “Measure the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students and students in each of the categories of students” – 1205
Schools to be far, far more than places to learn numeracy and literacy: “21st Century Learning Centers… an array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, service learning, nutrition and health education, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, physical fitness and wellness programs, technology education programs, financial literacy programs, math, science, career and technical programs, internship or apprenticeship programs, and other ties to an in-demand industry sector” – 4201
“address family instability, school climate, trauma, safety, and nonacademic learning.” -7304