Effective Sept 2015: Feds Remove State Authority Over Special Needs Students and Redefine Who is Special Needs   16 comments


Pray that our politicians and superintendents are interested enough, and honest enough, to see through the Department of Ed, and kick to the curb its lies and false reassignments of authority that hurt our children and our Constitutional power.

Jakell Sullivan, a beautiful Utah mom who happens to be one of the most dedicated  researchers on education reform and data privacy breaches that I know, has pointed out that this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan posted a “final rule” on the No Child Left Behind reauthorization.

(Thank you, Jakell.)

The final rule will move us from the “phasing out” phase to the “no more state authority at all” phase of the federalization of state education over “disadvantaged” children, which is defined ever more loosely, and can almost mean “any child”.

Some may dismiss this “final rule” from Secretary Duncan as not affecting them, as only harming those who have a  handicapped or otherwise disadvantaged child.  But think twice.  Because in the new, upside down, 2+2=5 world of Common Core, children who don’t score high on Common Core tests, may now be considered “disadvantaged”. I imagine that in the future, even children who opt out of testing may be labeled as disadvantaged by failing to achieve high scores on these tests.  (To clarify: opting out of testing is still a great choice, and still should be thoughtfully considered by every parent.  Utah State Superintendent Smith recently said: “The most important legal policy…. by constitution, and by what I consider to be natural rights, parents have the right to opt out of anything! They don’t need permission. They don’t need to fill out a form. They don’t need to seek someone else’s response.”)

Because so many children showed awful performance on the rammed-down-our-throats, ready or not, Common Core assessments, many children are labeled as low scorers, or  as “special needs”.  But for those children who actually are “special needs” and did not take the test, because there was an alternate test, those happy days are over.  The Dept. of Ed mandates that now, even handicapped people, take the same test.  No mercy, no wiggle room, no local judgment by caring professionals or parents.  (Except for the option to opt out.)

The final rule summary from Secretary Duncan is found here (and the Dept. invites comments). It says:

The Secretary amends the regulations governing title I… (ESEA) … to no longer authorize a State to define modified academic achievement standards and develop alternate assessments…  effective September 21, 2015.

Less than a year ago, Secretary Duncan told us he was aiming to “phase out state authority” over these special needs assessments.  At that time, we still had time to fight this.  At that time, there was still a chance that Congress would refuse to reauthorize No Child Left Behind (aka ESEA).  Now, children have been taking (and generally bombing) Common Core tests.  Meanwhile, Congress gave Duncan the power he craved when it passed ESEA’s reauthorization –and other education bills that shouldn’t have passed– this summer.

Jakell Sullivan said, “Parents, be warned. Most kids will soon fall into the “disadvantaged” category because it now means not meeting Common Core benchmarks. This is how they’ll make most schools Title 1 schools–federalization complete.”

She explained that this will affect all states (both the states that did and states that didn’t offer alternative assessments for special needs students) because, “The assessments for “disadvantaged” children will now be Common Core assessments… whether it’s the federalized NAEP, or something else the Feds require… and the formative online assessments will also be required to help teachers change their instruction practices to “help” these children.”

Another Utah mom, Morgan Olsen, speaking to the fact that these electronic assessments are a main source of psychological and academic data mining about individual students, said: “I find this particularly concerning because all data collected by schools is legally classified as education data and doesn’t have the same protections as health data collected by a private doctor. And because the USOE discussed using the State Data System to collect and store this type of information in its guidance counselor’s guide a few years back.” (Links added).

To summarize the reason for this “final ruling,” Sullivan said:

“Think about it like this: it sets the framework for all the schools to be turned into Arne’s much-desired community centers. The Feds already have the full-service community center bill in Congress, SB1787. This regulation change helps them force more schools quickly into transformation phase once that [bill S1787] passes (or even if it doesn’t). [Links added.]

She said:

“Think of the federal objectives this way:

“1. Get every child into federalized assessments (no State can determine an alternate path now)

2. Liberalize what it means to be “disadvantaged”,( ie; they’ll make it so anything they want can meet their disadvantaged criteria, and schools will fall for the federal money)

3. Hold teachers and schools accountable to “make” every child college-and-career ready, (ie; “meeting 21st Century Skills”)

4. When teachers and schools fail, require teacher instructional changes and require that the school becomes a full-service community center with wrap-around services for mental health, medical, etc.”

Utah, we need to stop holding hands with the Department of Education and recognize it as an enemy– an enemy  to autonomy, to parental control, to teacher judgment, to the U.S. Constitution’s protections, to individual privacy, and to true education.

Please, if you are reading this, call someone. Write something.  Email or tweet or get an appointment with your Governor or your State Superintendent.  Small ripples can cross large bodies of water.

Sometimes we “Nice” people must shake off our Hobbit-like niceness to detect and expose real and dangerous lies, worrying less about whether we may be perceived as “Nice” and more about how fast the power to direct the lives of our own children is being robbed by the thieves and enemies of Constitutional freedom.

I am standing here, calling the U.S. Department of Education a granddaddy of lies and unconstitutional actions.

That they are lies is indisputable.  Check the links.  Read your U.S. Constitution.



–That federalizing education (“phasing out the authority of states”)– so that states will lack authority to define who is and who isn’t “special needs” or disadvantaged– is good, and is constitutionally legitimate;

–That states have lost their constitutional authority to give alternative tests to special needs children;

–That Duncan, making a state-and-school-authority-robbing “final rule,” is a constitutionally legitimate act, in harmony with common sense and parental/voter will.

–That S1787’s shifting of the center of a child’s universe away from home/church, toward government school as its center, is a legitimate goal and activity for the federal or state government;

—That forcing physically and mentally handicapped children to conform to the same curriculum and testing is a good plan;

—That even genius children and even mentally handicapped children will benefit when the same curriculum is mandated for all; as when the White House writes: “Including students with disabilities in more accessible general assessments aligned to college- and career-ready standards promotes high expectations for students with disabilities, ensures that they will have access to grade-level content, and supports high-quality instruction designed to enable students with disabilities to be involved in, and make progress in, the general education curriculum—that is, the same curriculum as for nondisabled students.”

These are a few lies.  There are more.


16 responses to “Effective Sept 2015: Feds Remove State Authority Over Special Needs Students and Redefine Who is Special Needs

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  1. Reblogged this on My Two Cents.

  2. Reblogged this on stopcommoncorenys.

  3. New York State adopted the Common Core Standards in July 2010. It was not jammed down schools overnight. It was poor planning on the school districts and subsequently the teachers parts.

  4. I know that homeschooling is not a guarantee against common core – about 40% of homeschool resources have sadly connected to common core – and I’m sure the feds are trying to find homeschoolers into complying as well. But for now homeschooling is the way to keep one’s children away from all of this – while continuing to do whatever it might take to get it all rescinded as well. Is homeschooling sometimes hard and sometimes a sacrifice? Of course, but I don’t think we can afford to sacrifice our children on the altar of Baal we call public schools while we take however long it’ll take to get all this garbage out of the system.

  5. If we think our state or federal legislators, school administrators are going to do the right thing think again. They will do as they are told to get the money. You can make all the calls you want they will not stop this train. We need mass exodus from the system. STARVE THE BEAST. This beast lives as long as we keep feeding it our children. We need to STOP begging and START taking control. While we sit around stuck in the same paradigmn of blogging and making phone calls we continue to send our kids into the belly of the beast. Do you see how insane that is? Get your kids out and do it today. There is no excuse not to. In one year the system will implode. In the mean time we wage WAR against the US Dept.of Ed until they too implode. Anything less than removing our kids and waging war against Duncan is a big fat waste of time and we are doing a huge disservice to our kids by continuing this insanitt.

  6. I made a comment but wonder if it went thru

  7. Thank you for all your comments. WeWontForget, I agree that most state legislators and administrators are doing as they are told to get paid. Most do not even want to know the facts, because they depend on this system for their mortgage and dinner. This goes, too, for those who accept gobs of Gates money to pretend that Common Core is good (national PTA, Harvard University, Jeb Bush, etc.)

    I am a grateful mom– able to keep my children out of public schools in alternative home school founded co-ops and academies.

    But I am painfully aware (because I spent several years as a single mother) that not everyone can answer the call to “starve the beast” by removing children from public schooling. It simply won’t work for every family.

    This is why I feel we must continue to educate our friends, neighbors, legislators and anyone willing to look at the ugly facts, to try to create pockets of understanding and excellence even for those who must remain inside an ever less pretty school system. I wrote a few weeks ago to those who cannot choose a private school or a home school: that you can make the best of any situation that you must endure, and that you and your children will roll your eyes together over the dinner table, IF you arm them before they go off to public school, with key knowledge that includes:

    That your child is a child of God, not just “human capital” meant to serve the collective economy and compete in a global economy.
    That there’s a world of difference between voluntary sharing (God’s way) and forced sharing (social justice or socialism.)
    That your child is an American (or Canadian or Swedish or Bolivian) citizen, not a global citizen– because global citizenship does not guarantee sacred, sacred American rights.
    How to use traditional math tools (algorithms, multiplication tables, formulas) if all he/she’s getting in school is fuzzy math and silly ways of wasting time to find solutions.
    How to read and write in cursive, even if it looks like chicken scratch.
    To love imagination and reading and learning –by having really, really interesting books on your home library shelf. Really, really great books.
    To be anchored in truth. Read at the very least one verse of scripture at the breakfast table as he/she gets ready for school. Talk about why it matters.
    To politely refuse school surveys and standardized testing unless the school has parental, written consent. Teach them to excuse themselves and call you if they ever feel “not okay” about something even if they can’t explain why to the school.
    That you, the parent, are the resident expert on your child and nobody but God can claim to be a “stakeholder” over a child –ever.

    Here’s that link: https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/a-million-alternatives-to-common-core-and-regular-public-school/

  8. Please review the language that is used for this article. I’m not saying I’m for or against the testing. I am sad about the wording utilized. I do think that stating, “Because in the new, upside down, 2+2=5 world of Common Core, normal children who don’t score high on Common Core tests, may now be considered abnormal or disadvantaged,” is offensive. No one is “normal” or “abnormal” and for those students who struggle with specific skills in school — they can be the most brilliant in other areas. I’m an advocate for these children. I hope that others see that wording, although the intentions may be good, impacts others significantly. These students already struggle throughout their day which has to be heart breaking. To add to this – people perceiving them as abnormal just adds to their negative self concept.

    • Sally, thank you for correcting me. Please teach me (and all of us) what the best terms are and I will edit. I want a word that includes students who may be physically, mentally, emotionally or academically challenged. Maybe I should just say that. Thank you for defending the children!

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