Wendy Hart, a star board member of my local district, Alpine School District, is so dedicated to transparency that she keeps a blog about her work. I have permission to repost her important (latest) blog post here. Please read it, act, and share.
(Side note: The Alpine School District Board is philosophically divided when it comes to a vote, with half of the board voting for local control and the other half voting for federally originated agendas. This November, when local control voter and board member Brian Halladay steps down, voters will either replace him with local control supporter Rachel Thacker, or with federal agenda supporter Mark Clement. I support Rachel Thacker. Until November, we have these three who consistently vote in harmony with my own conscience: Wendy Hart, Brian Halladay, and Paula Hill.)
Feds and Bonds
Guest Post by Wendy Hart
The biggest area of concern (and there are many) is the recommendation that schools with high opt-out rates of Common Core testing be penalized. See this article: http://longisland.news12.com/news/us-education-secretary-john-b-king-penalize-schools-with-high-rates-of-common-core-opt-outs-1.12031057
In June, I attended a training session on ESSA presented by the National School Boards Association (aptly titled: A New Federalism). The presenter, an attorney, recommended that we work with our legislators to remove the ability of parents to opt their kids out of state testing. The consequence, she said, would be to jeopardize our federal funding under ESSA. So, the one avenue parents have to protest and to protect their students is under attack by the ‘new’ supposedly kinder, gentler, less-federal-encroachment law. Additionally, I asked how they would be able to do this when some states, like Utah, for example, have opting out codified in state law, the state law predates ESSA, and under the 10th Amendment, the states would have jurisdiction in this area that the feds clearly do not. Her response, paraphrasing, “Since the monies in ESSA are ‘voluntary’, you will not be able to get someone to challenge it on 10th Amendment grounds.” In short, by taking the federal monies from ESSA, we are subverting state (and natural) law–voluntarily.
Also, the ESSA includes the ‘Family Fixing Policy’ as it is described by education blogger Peter Greene. I wrote about this at the end of last year:
http://wendy4asd.blogspot.com/2015/12/jan-4-2016-deadline-to-support-family.html Nothing we want taking place in our state. The concern is that if the Feds have the ability to (which it appears they do) to force states to do what they want, then the State Board will have no options (other than rejecting federal funding) in creating their ‘Family Engagement Plan’. It will have to come very close to what the US Dept of Ed has proposed.
Incidentally, the NSBA presenter mentioned that the regulations overseeing how Special Education students are dealt with under ESSA were, to put it bluntly, a nightmare. She said they were not out for public comment yet, but they were on the US Dept of Ed website. I haven’t found them yet, but if you do, please let me know.
Take Action on ESSA:
1. An organization, US PIE (US Parents Involved in Education) has as its goal the elimination of the US Department of Ed. It has drafted a letter to send to Congress. You may add your name by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and asking to be added to the letter. Include your name and title and state.
2. Comment on the US Dept of Ed regulations BY AUGUST 1 (MONDAY)! https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=ED-2016-OESE-0032-0001
3. Contact your members of Congress and make sure they know the Dept of Ed is over-stepping it’s bounds.
4. If you like twitter, use the hashtag #ReignInTheKing and #StopFedEd
Thanks for your support!