Senator Hatch’s offices better fasten their seatbelts. They are in for a bumpy ride after messing with family rights in education. Sen. Hatch voted against Senator Lee’s “Parental Notification and Opt Out Amendment” to the Every Child Achieves Act, S1177 yesterday.
If you call Senator Orrin Hatch’s D.C. offices, or his Salt Lake City offices, you will get an answering machine. It happens to me every time. Please call and leave a message anyway. Ask his staff to call back to account for why Hatch voted against Sen. Lee’s common sense amendment. Call 801-625-5672 and 801-524-4380.
If Sen. Lee’s “Parental Notification and Opt Out Amendment” would have passed, we would have upheld the parental right to opt out of federally mandated standardized testing (aka Common Core/SAGE/AIR/SBAC/PARCC testing.) This would have required schools to notify parents when such testing takes place, effectively killing the creepy new nationwide education trend called embedded curriculum testing, or stealth testing, which erases parental opt out-ability. But Hatch said no.
I will call his offices every day until I get a response.
Please share the precise bill language in S1177 with all US senators everywhere as they prepare to vote for or against this monster reauthorization of No Child Left Behind today. Please tell Senators that you expect them to VOTE NO on S1177.
Rep. Justin Amash explained, after he wisely voted NO on the twin bill to S1177, House Bill, HR5 “The Student Success Act” (which passed this week) :
“Here are the facts you should know about H.R. 5 and the current status of NCLB: The funding authorization for No Child Left Behind expired more than seven years ago. Contrary to some statements and press reports, H.R. 5 does not repeal NCLB; it reauthorizes NCLB with modifications. If H.R. 5 becomes law, NCLB will be authorized for the first time since FY 2008.
Why do states and schools continue to act as though No Child Left Behind is current law? Because Congress has continued to appropriate money for NCLB as though the funding authorization never expired! In other words, the program is legally dead, yet Congress continues to send federal funding to schools, with strings attached, as though the law remains in effect.
How should Congress deal with No Child Left Behind? Simply stop funding it.There’s no current authorization for the funding, so the funding needs to stop.
Don’t we need this new bill to stop Common Core? No, we don’t. H.R. 5 reauthorizes No Child Left Behind, which provides federal funding for education. The bill says none of that money may be used (or withheld) to push Common Core. But voting no on H.R. 5 means voting no on the funding authorization that the federal government uses to compel states to adopt Common Core. So, either way, Common Core loses.
Doesn’t this new bill include an amendment to allow parents to opt out of standardized testing? Yes, but it’s H.R. 5 that authorizes federally mandated standardized testing in the first place. Voting no on H.R. 5 means voting no on such standardized testing.
Was there an amendment to allow states to opt out of No Child Left Behind even if H.R. 5 becomes law? Yes. I voted yes on the Walker amendment, but remarkably it failed 195-235 in a Republican-led House of Representatives.”
Senator Lee explained to Congress yesterday:
“I’ve heard from countless moms and dads in Utah who feel as though anonymous government officials living and working 2,000 miles away have a greater say in the education of their children than they do.
One of the most frustrating issues for parents is the amount of standardized tests their children are required to take, particularly the tests that are designed and mandated by the federal government. And it’s not just the frequency of these tests that is frustrating. Too often parents don’t know when these federally-required assessments are going take place, and they don’t find out until after the fact.
…The notion that parents should not be expected to forfeit all of their rights to the government just because they enroll their children in the public school system is not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea. It’s simply an American idea.
That’s why several states – including states as distinct as California and Utah – have passed laws that allow parents to opt out of federally-required tests.
But there’s a problem. Under current law, states with opt-out laws risk losing federal education dollars if a certain proportion of parents decide opting-out is best for their children, because schools are required to assess 95 percent of their students in order to receive federal funds. I introduced an amendment to protect states from losing federal funding if over 5 percent of parents choose to opt out of federally-required tests. Unfortunately, the Senate failed to pass my amendment.”
Watch the whole video of Senator Lee’s speech here.
How I wish we had dozens of Representative Amashes and Senator Mike Lees in Congress. Congressmen who understand and apply the Constitution are becoming rare, rare treasures.