Archive for the ‘big mistake’ Tag

What Does the Passage of HR5, the New No Child Left Behind, Mean For American Children?   19 comments

emmett

What does it mean that HR5, the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, passed?  What does it mean for children, teachers, parents?  Who benefits?  Why was it so strongly promoted?

Attorney and author Emmett McGroarty reported this week at The Pulse 2016 how “House Republicans Betray Common Core Moms” with the passage of HR5. He explained that the bill serves the testing industry, not the people:

“By failing to eliminate or even curb the federal testing mandates, the bill instead serves the testing industry rather than the people.  Under NCLB, that industry has grown to a $2 billion per year enterprise.”

McGroarty’s article explains that HR5 promotes psychological profiling of students: HR5 “removes protection against socio-emotional profiling in the statewide assessments (eliminating NCLB’s prohibition against including assessment items that “evaluate or assess personal or family beliefs and attitudes”). Not only does it fail to protect against psychological data-gathering, it actually dictates the type of Brave New World assessments that operate by compiling and analyzing psychological profiles on children.  Unlike NCLB, H.R. 5 also requires assessment on behavioral/skills-based standards rather than solely academic standards.”

These and other, equally disturbing items in HR5,  can not explain why the Republican House of Representatives passed this 800-page bill.  And why was there virtually no transparency on the language of the bill in town hall meetings and media outreach?

McGroarty points out that the bill is “one of the most far-reaching pieces of domestic legislation” yet was passed “without holding many, if any, town hall meetings. Certainly, the effort that leadership spent arm-twisting its membership would have been better spent encouraging its members to meet with their constituents and giving them time in which to do so.”

Read the whole article here.

amash

Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan wrote, this week,

“On Wednesday, I was honored to stand up for parental rights by voting no on ‪#‎HR5‬, the bill to reauthorize ‪#‎NoChildLeftBehind‬. The bill increases federal control of education. 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.”

chaffetz

Meanwhile, my own representative, Representative Jason Chaffetz,  disagrees with McGroarty and Amash.  He voted for HR5.

Chaffetz put out a press release saying that he voted for  HR5 because it “Reduces the federal role in education”.   That phrase is honey to many Utahns’ ears but the phrase doesn’t match the language of the bill.

I’m so disappointed that Rep. Chaffetz, who I’ve until now appreciated–  for his willngness to fight Hillary Clinton and search for justice and documentation in the Benghazi murders.  But his press release on HR5 includes no documentation: no bill language with references, nothing to reassure people like me that he did more than blindly adopt the bill’s talking points and cut & paste them to his press release.  Did he study that bill?  If so, I’d like to see Rep. Chaffetz intelligently debate Rep. Amash on HR5.  I’d like to have seen a town hall on the subject PRIOR to its passing.  I’ve heard Chaffetz say, multiple times, with roaring applause, that he would like to see the Dept. of Education disbanded.  But his vote doesn’t match that sentiment.

He voted FOR this bill that cemented the unconsitutional master-servant relationship of feds over states:

  • “For any State desiring to receive a grant under this subpart, the State educational agency file with the Secretary a plan,” “Each State plan shall demonstrate [to the federal agents]” – 1111(a)1 –
  • “If a State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section then the Secretary shall withhold funds” – 1111(g)
  • “The Secretary [federal] shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” – 1111(e)2 D
  • “If a State makes significant changes to its State plan, such as the adoption of new State academic standards or new academic assessments, or adopts a new State accountability system, such information shall be submitted to the Secretary under subsection (e)(2) for approval.” – 1111 (f)
  • “If a State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section then the Secretary shall withhold funds” – 1111(g)

He voted for a bill that has zero privacy protections because it relies on the shot-full-of-holes FERPA:  “Information collected under this section shall be collected and disseminated in a manner that protects the privacy of individuals consistent with section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act and this Act.” – 1111(i) (For more on FERPA’s deliberate loosening (destruction) by the Dept. of Ed, see the E.P.I.C. lawsuit.)

He voted FOR a bill that creates unelected committees that have real power over state citizens who did not elect them. (And that uses the unelected groups to eliminate policies that don’t match federal policies)

  • “State rules, regulations, and policies… conform to… the committee of practitioners”
  • “Each State educational agency that receives funds under this title shall create a State committee of practitioners”

  • “Eliminate the rules and regulations that are duplicative of Federal requirements… identify any duplicative or contrasting requirements between the State and Federal rules or regulations; report any conflicting requirements to the Secretary… (1403)

He voted FOR a bill that extends federal tentacles and data collection to preschoolers.

  • “perform child-find screening services for the preschool-aged children of the tribe” – 5133 a
  • “assessment of  family-based, early childhood, and preschool programs for Native Hawaiians” – 5304 (c) 2
  • “evaluate the aggregate short- and long-term effects and cost efficiencies across Federal programs… under this Act and related Federal preschool, elementary, and secondary programs”  – 6601
  •  “improve the identification of homeless children (including preschool-aged homeless children and youths) ” – 702
  • “Coordinator for Education of Homeless Children and Youths established in each State shall— gather and make publically available… comprehensive information on— the number of homeless children and youths identified… the nature and extent of the problems homeless children and youths have in gaining access to public preschool programs” – 702
  • collect data for and transmit to the Secretary, at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require, a report containing information necessary to assess the educational needs of homeless children and youths within the State, including data necessary for the Secretary to fulfill the responsibilities… including teachers, special education personnel, administrators, and child development and preschool program personnel – 702

  • “Plans required:  … how the local educational agency will use funds under this subpart to support preschool programs”  – 1112

He voted FOR a bill that dictates uniformity and promote psychological profiling and federally-controlled test standards:

“Academic assessments… shall…  provide coherent and timely information about student attainment of such standards… be consistent with… nationally recognized… technical standards… be administered in each of grades 3 through 8 and at least once in grades 9 through 12… in the case of science, be administered not less than one time during—grades 3 through 5;  grades 6 through 9; and in the case of any other subject chosen by the State, be administered at the discretion of the State; measure individual student academic proficiency and, at the State’s discretion, growth…  be administered through multiple assessments during the course of the academic year that result in a single summative score that provides valid, reliable, and transparent information on student achievement … enable results to be disaggregated… be administered to not less than 95 percent of all students, and not less than 95 percent of each subgroup of students described in paragraph (3)(B)(ii)(II); and be the same academic assessments used to measure the academic achievement of all public school students… provide for— the participation in such assessments of all students… produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports regarding achievement on such assessments in … uniform format…” –1111

(To see the Dept. of Education’s aligned recommendation that schools engage in psychological and biometric profiling, read its report here, especially page 44.)

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Voting for such a bill is not okay with me.

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Utah Legislature Adopts Obama’s Model for “Turnaround Schools”   13 comments

I feel as if Secretary Duncan and President Obama run education in Utah without any legislative or USOE opposition at all, ever.

Whatever is suggested on the education pages of Whitehouse.gov, by its federal education branches or by its corporate partnersends up in Utah as a law, presented to the masses as if it were Utah’s idea.

Tonight: guess what?

The Salt Lake Tribune reported  that tonight, Utah lawmakers passed a bill that “will assign rewards and consequences to Utah schools based on the state’s controversial school grading system. Schools who improve their grades will get funding and salary bonuses, while struggling schools will have the option of getting mentoring from school turnaround experts.”

Am I the only one reading this as:  Utah adopted Obama’s School Turnaround model?

There is in fact an Obama-led, federal school turnaround model.   There’s the federal “Office of School Turnaround” where states are assigned program officers. There’s a blue team and a green team.

Utah’s been assigned to the green team on that federal office of school turnaround chart.  (I don’t remember voting on this.)

In the chart where Utah’s listed for turnaround (see below) the Utah program officer is not yet named.  It says, “To Be Determined.”  The feds hadn’t assigned us a program officer before today.

They surely will now.

 

green team

There’s also a federal Center on School Turnaround (CST) that’s so much more than an office in D.C.  It’s a whole ” federal network of 22 Comprehensive Centers”  that boasts ” 15 Regional Comprehensive Centers… and 7 national Content Centers.”  The federal CST condescends to report  that states are allowed to play a role in their own school turnaround.  But not the leading role; that’s for the feds and the Comprehensive Centers.  In a report titled “The State Role in School Turnaround” we learn that some of CST’s goals are to change states’ laws and to micromanage turnaround efforts.  In their words:

“The Center on School Turnaround’s four objectives:

  1. Create a Pro-Turnaround Statutory and Regulatory Environment
  2. Administer and Manage Turnaround Efforts Effectively”

HowStupid.  Or.   Blind.  AreWe. Really!   –And how apathetic to our rights.

Friends!  Here’s our wakeup fact of the decade: our state holds a Constitutional duty and right to keep the federal government out of education.  We are failing in this duty.  Utahns are collectively–  even lawmakers–  either asleep, too busy or perhaps paid off by corporate lobbyists partnered with the machine, that we cannot notice a swift transfer of fed ed’s aims into local ed’s reality.

The passage of SB 235 is just one example of this ongoing series of terrible mistakes that cement our actions in line with the federal will.

 

235

The new Utah law calls for “turnaround experts” to improve low labeled schools using one driving method: tests.  Schools will be labeled by student performance on Common Core/SAGE tests as low- or high-performing.  Then some will be assigned a  “turnaround expert” to raise Common Core test scores.

How will Utah, in practice, select the turnaround experts? Will the experts be chosen from Obama’s personal list of school turnaround experts, which you may view, with colorful photos of each person, at  Whitehouse.gov?  Will these experts be taken from Bill Gates’ personal turnaround recommendation list?  Will they be recommended by the Federal Center for School Turnaround (CST)?  –Or by bigtime school turnaround advocates at the Über-progressive Center for American Progress (CAP)?

That famous turnaround group, the Center for American Progress, brazenly “disagrees that school improvement should be left entirely to states” and the Center has written that: “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control… new authority will have to come at the expense of local control…  local control is the source of many of the nation’s problems related to education.”

I am not screaming out loud because I’m saving my screams until this next paragraph:

This week, the Tribune reported that longtime Utah State School Board member Leslie Castle “expressed frustration with the political rhetoric that pits states’ rights against the federal government. She…  urged her colleagues to refrain from statements critical of federal overreach.

‘I am not going to be voting in favor of anything that plays to this nonsense that somehow our relationship with the federal government is crazy and something we’re trying to get out of,’  she said.”  -Read the rest here.

In the Utah turnaround law, the phrase “credible track record” is used to establish the person who will “fix” Utah’s low-labeled schools.  “Credible track record” is an odd choice of words because in the post-2010 altered education world of Common Core, there has been no track record required of education reformers.  There were exactly  zero validity studies and no empirical evidence to accompany the Common Core standards and tests.  If you didn’t know that validity and piloting were missing, read what academics and scientists have been shouting from the rooftops about the nonvalid, utterly empty track record of Common Core tests and standards: Dr. Christopher Tienken‘s and Dr. Sandra Stotsky’s and  Dr. Gary Thompson‘s and Dr. Yong Zhao’s writings are good places to start.

Utah’s new law on school turnaround says that the experts who will turn around low-labeled schools must be:  “experts identified by the board under Section 53A-1-1206“. They must  “have a credible track record of improving student academic achievement… as measured by statewide assessments; (b) have experience designing, implementing, and evaluating data-driven instructional  systems…  have experience coaching public school administrators and teachers on designing data-driven school improvement plans…”

Translation:  the expert  solves problems by defining problems as test-centric.   The expert is solely devoted to test-focused, test-and-data-centric methods and will likely be devotees of Sir Michael Barber’s “Deliverology” method.  (“Deliverology,” written for American education reformers by a Brit, the CEA of Pearson, Inc., (the world’s largest education sales company) is a book/philosophy that  emphasizes results to the point that it’s called “merciless… imposing arbitrary targets and damaging morale” in its “top down method by which you undermine achievement of purpose and demoralize people.”)   Deliverology is popular because it works– but only when ruthlessly applied.

FYI, our U.S. Secretary of Education has long touted Barber’s books and robotic methods.

But I have veered off topic.  And Utah’s legislative session is past.

Better luck next year.

 

 

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