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.]
“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.
A SHORT LIST OF (RECENT) LIES FROM THE U.S. DEPT OF EDUCATION– BASED ON DUNCAN’S “FINAL RULE” FROM ESEA REAUTHORIZATION AND ON S1787, A BILL NOW SITTING IN CONGRESS:
–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.