Archive for the ‘constitutional rights’ Tag

No More Opt Out Possible If Test Goes Underground: Update on HB164 (Down for Now) HB264 (Down for Now) SB91 (A Concern)   1 comment

Update on Utah education bills:

The short version and the good news must come first:  HB 164 (a bill about no more opting out of SAGE tests) did not pass.  HB 264 (a bill about common sex ed) did not pass.

Yesterday at the Capitol, the legislative education hearing was cram-packed with standing room only, and an overflow room was available for attendees.  I’m so glad that so many came.

One of the first bills,  HB201 –that would remove the Common Core SAGE test from being tied to teacher evaluations, a common sense bill– was clearly popular.  Three “Teachers of the Year” spoke in favor of it.  They said that it’s not fair to punish a teacher if a student rebels against a test and doesn’t do his/her best work.  Some said that the test itself was not valid.

When the committee chair asked if anyone in the audience wanted to speak against it, parent Jared Carman volunteered, saying that while he definitely agrees with the idea behind the bill, he disagrees with the bigger picture.  Carman pointed out that since, later in this same meeting, this committee would discuss whether to tie student passing or failing of a course to Common Core SAGE testing, the logic was flawed.  If it’s unfair to base a teacher’s grade on this unreliable and unvalidated test, why is it not unfair to base a child’s grade on it?

Amen, Mr. Carman.

Next up was HB 164, the opt out-or-no-opt-out bill.  Sponsor Kraig Powell summarized the three versions of the bill– not in the way I would have– but he did say that there were three different doors and that the committee could choose which door to open.  True.  They were each different, but each called 164.  Someone on the committee pointed out that this is not a game show!

POWELK

Someone else pointed out that the third substitute bill was only posted online a few minutes before the hearing, making it unfair to expect a vote on it, without a reading and without giving notice for people to know about it and to come to the hearing to speak to its (very different) issues.

Still, Representative Powell hoped to pass the bill anyway, saying (amid wild, enthusiastic cheers from the audience) that it’s high time we get rid of the SAGE test altogether.  For your information, he has always fought the pro-liberty, anti-common core crowd, so it was very, very odd to hear him say those words.

And I wasn’t cheering.

I asked to be allowed to give public comment on substitute 3, since I had read it while sitting in the hearing.  (I had noticed that it was utterly, completely different from substitutes one and two.  It was about “backpack” digital data on every child; it was about labeling schools as “turnaround” schools; it was about getting rid of SAGE testing while relying on embedded, curricular [stealth] assessment.)  I didn’t get the opportunity to speak because the committee wisely decided not to hear testimony and not to vote on it, since there had been no time for reading and analysis by the committee.

So why wasn’t I cheering that we’d get rid of SAGE?  Why would I want to testify against the bill that supposedly spelled the end of SAGE/Common Core testing?  Simply this:  substitute 3 of HB164 gets rid of SAGE, but it also gets rid of any possibility for a parent to opt a child out of testing.  And it totally relies on common core and common, SLDS/CEDS, data.

HB 164 sub 3 relies on a digital “backpack,” which is like an ever deepening, longitudinal fingerprint, to assess children constantly.  The child would provide an I.V. drip of continuous data to the State Longitudinal Database System, via stealth assessment, which has been set up to happen by several previous bills, including this one.

See lines 590-591:  “Every school district and public school shall develop and integrate programs integrating technology into the curriculum, instruction, and student assessment.”

That matches, perfectly, ed committee member Marie Poulson’s task force and resolution of last year, which aimed to minimize the negative effects of excessive testing.  It sounds so good.

Yet, there is something even more sinister than excessive testing, using experimental standards and psychometric analysis of student responses.  That is: stealth assessment; that means, using continuous assessment that is embedded in the curriculum so that no parent can opt a child out of the test– BECAUSE THE TEST NEVER ENDS.

I am not against integrating technology into learning.  There is nothing wrong with technology; it’s a blessing!  But there is something wrong with not applying basic principles of liberty and consent to the technology being used by children.  There is something wrong with forcing students to be monitored all of the time, in all of their assignments, and then to be judged thereby.

Dr. Gary Thompson has been warning us for years that the trendy notion of stealth, or embedded, assessment, would show up here; it has.  Jakell Sullivan has been warning us for years that SAGE was a red herring, or not the real point; the real point was controlling the data via the SLDS longitudinal database system; that’s in HB 164 sub 3, too.

So, despite the cheers of the audience members yesterday, when Representative Powell said, “SAGE needs to go!” I am certain sure that Powell has no intention of allowing any sort of parental opt out of testing.  He simply sees that assessment can go underground, far out of the view of parents or teachers, in the form of stealth assessment: “integrating technology [common core standards-based technologies, and SLDS/CEDS data mining] into the curriculum, instruction, and assessment“.

The question at the core of this issue is: Which is worse–  saving children from the wasteful, stressful, data-robbing SAGE tests now, while making their tests stealthy and continuous, with no parental opt out available, or: sticking with statewide SAGE, where at least those who are aware and informed, can opt out?

Both are bad, but one is clearly worse, in terms of parental judgment, control and liberty.  But embedded assessment is what Poulson and Powell and the whole educational establishment appear to be favoring.  Embedded tests certainly get rid of whiny parents and rebellious kids aiming to wreck their test scores with careless bubbling in of answers.  But at what cost?!

(Please contact your legislators and tell them that you are opposed to stealth assessment and digital “backpacks” on children.  This will show up in many bills, now and next year.)

brian king

 

The third bill from yesterday’s hearing that I want to review is Rep. King’s Comprehensive Sexuality Bill, HB 264.  The committee allowed public comment, but only a very few people were given time.  One of the first commenters arguing against passing the bill said that Rep. King’s opening line was false.  (King had said that there was “misinformation” on the internet that said that this bill had something to do with Common Core.)  The commenter said that Rep. King might not be aware of the national, common standards for sexuality education, but the promoters of the common standards sure are aware of Rep. King; just today, SIECUS had posted an article about Rep. King’s Utah bill promoting their standards.

sex standards

I looked at that article.  It was far more revealing about what the bill aimed to do than its testifiers seemed to be:  “House Minority leader Rep. Brian S. King (D-Salt Lake City) is leading efforts to change Utah’s sex ed law… Utah’s current law, passed in 1988, mandates medically-accurate sex education classes in schools but requires the stressing of abstinence-only instruction. The law stipulates that health education teachers cannot discuss intercourse nor positively discuss homosexuality…. This bill removes the instruction prohibitions on homosexuality, sexual intercourse and contraceptive devices”.

Most of the testifiers for the bill who stood to speak overtly appeared to be LGTB, a point that stood out to me.  It was not mentioned by the newspapers today, of course.  But think about it.  If the bill was just about giving additional, medically accurate knowledge, and not about altering “values, attitudes and beliefs” as the national sexuality standards movement requires; if there was no LGTB agenda being pushed on the children through HB 246, why were all the LGTB activists there to testify for it?  Since when do they go out of their way to testify in hearings for the cause of “medically accurate knowledge”?

I am not hostile toward gays.  Live and let live.  But  I am opposed to the LGTB agenda being pushed in public arenas as if it were the new, national religion.  I am opposed to the minimizing of truth about what that lifestyles’ consequences are.  The national common sexuality standards do push that lifestyle and political agenda on children, while calling it education.  Altering beliefs is not what reproductive health classes are supposed to be for.  Altering beliefs and attitudes is the job of the family and the church.

HB 264 did not pass.

The last update that I want to share is about HB 91, Hillyard and Eliason’s bill to change the power levers of the state school board.  I am concerned about the apparent power grab that the state school board is taking in this bill:

“The board may delegate the board’s statutory duties and responsibilities to board employees.”

This is bad because we, the people, cannot elect or fire employees as we can elect and fire the board.

85          (ii) temporarily or permanently withhold state funds from the education entity;
86          (iii) require the education entity to pay a penalty;

This is bad because it overreaches into the localities, pushing the state board’s will onto the local boards, which is not in harmony with the constitution.

There are also audits of localities, new rules about how a local entity interacts with a third party, and other seeming power grabs that need attention from local boards and liberty-minded representatives.  We don’t want to recreate the nightmare of the beastly federal Department of Education within our state, by allowing the State Department of Education to micromanage the localities, using money and unfire-ability as leverage.

Please continue to email, text, call or write to your representatives.

They need to hear what your thoughts and feelings are.  Silence is acquiescence.

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Utah and Oklahoma Moms Chat About Data Mining Children Without Our Consent   2 comments

 

Moms Alyson Williams, Jenni White, Alisa Ellis and Christel Swasey, of Utah and Oklahoma, chat in a Google Hangout about their concerns and experiences with government data mining children without parental consent.

How Feds Are Getting Away With Controlling Public School Curriculum, Competency and Credentialing   4 comments

obama ed

Feds Will Control Curriculum, Competency and Credentialing

Reblogged with permission from Return to Parental Rights on 09/21/15

by Jakell Sullivan

The federal government has absolutely no constitutional right to control curriculum, but they’re doing it anyway. In a 2011 video for the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry, Steve Midgley, the Deputy Director of Education Technology for the US Department of Education, says that the Learning Registry “makes federal learning resources easier to find, easier to access and easier to integrate into learning environments wherever they are stored.” He also admits that the Federal Communications Commission changed broadband internet regulations to get federally-sanctioned curriculum items into every child’s classroom.

Say what? Yes. You heard it right. The Whitehouse is picking winners and losers in curriculum providers. They have created an effective oligarchy over online learning and testing resources in order to make sure that the curriculum coming through your child’s school-issued iPad or computer contains the right worldview.

They funded the creation of Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), gave states federal grants to expand their state longitudinal data system (see Utah’s here and here), got 300 (and counting) online learning and testing groups to create interoperable curriculum and computer-adaptive tests, and created a one-stop-shop called the Learning Registry where every child’s learning data will be tracked. This is information control, folks. And, it’s not just for K-12.

dunc

George Washington University, among many other institutions of higher ed, has jumped on the Learning Registry’s bandwagon. They are helping the federal administration (perhaps unwittingly) succeed at redefining student competencies around student behaviors, as opposed to academics.

When Utahns think of competency-based education, we think of a student mastering something factual and proving competency. That’s not what the federal Learning Registry seeks.  It defines competencies around values, attitudes and beliefs.

In other words, the more a student can think in moral relativist terms, the more “skilled” they are. Students who think “all truth is relative” will be easily malleable workers for a globally managed economy—widgets for crony business leaders.

So, how will the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry work? It will:

  1. Filter the curriculum content that reaches teachers and students
  2. Collect data on how a child thinks and what they believe
  3. Use that data to personalize online learning curriculum and adaptive testing systems (compare this to political campaigns changing the way voters vote by collecting data to create personalized marketing)
  4. Viola! A child will see America in terms of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality—and advocate for big government solutions.

When John Marini talked about the famous movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington written by Frank Capra, he said, “Frank Capra did not see America as many Americans do today, in terms of personal categories of identity…he understood America in terms of its political principles.”

If we want our children to be champions of liberty, including religious liberty, we need to engage our local education leaders in a discussion about who is defining “competency.” And, we cannot be naïve in thinking that we will implement competency-based education differently than the federal administration desires. If we put our plug (technology systems) into their electrical outlet (Learning Registry), we will be giving them all-power over what our children learn—and, we’ve already started plugging in. As one tech-savvy mom recently noted, “Parents need to understand that a unique student ID# will act like a social security number on steroids.”

George Washington University says that they are helping the Whitehouse “create a beta version of a credentialing registry on the existing Learning Registry.” This means that the Feds are positioned, not only to control curriculum, but how colleges rate student credentials—also called “digital badges.” If this sounds like German-style education, that’s because it is.

 

We can’t allow the federal administration to use personally identifiable data to “personalize” learning resources for our children. It’s time for Congressional hearings into the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry—and it’s international data standards-setting partners, IMS Global and the SIF Association.

It’s also time for our local boards of education to take back what it means to have locally controlled education. Local boards should stand with parents by making sure that their district’s online curriculum and test items do not conform to federally-funded data standards.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

For more information on how the federal administration is aligning state and district policies to internationalist goals for competency-based education, see:

obama ed
• Race To The Top for Districts (RTT-D) gave priority funding to districts that would embrace personalized learning and competency-based ed. See: http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition
• Feds Give Nudge to Competency-Based Education https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/03/19/feds-give-nudge-competency-based-education
• Bill Gates’ KnowledgeWorks has published two Policy Briefs with the most extensive information about how the federal administration used Race To The Top to push state and district policies towards implementing personalized-learning and towards the competency-based education that Utah is now embracing.

bill united nations

U.S. Senate bill S1787: Anti-Family Communist Power Grab, No Big Deal   19 comments

 

 

stealth assessment baby

 

 

An anti-family bill, a communist’s dream bill, is sitting in the U.S. Senate right now.  It’s called S1787, The Full Service Community Schools Act (bill’s  full text is here; promoters’ talking points, here.)

To take action to prevent it from becoming law, contact the U.S. Senate: contact information is here.

This bill sounds friendly, but it is not friendly. Any initiative that shifts the center of a child’s universe away from home, church and family to snatch family authority and personal privacy while it strengthens government’s authority over almost every aspect of a life, is communism.  History and religion have repeatedly warned us against communism. But here it is, posing as “social justice” and “community schools”.

 

arne

 

S1787 will grant the wish that  US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan dreamed would come true.  Years ago, Duncan wished to see schools as the center of a child’s life and society, with 14 hour school days and 7 day per week schedules.   Watch this 44 second clip.

 

So what’s the tyrrany of  S1787?  It creates micromanagement of students and intrudes into families.  Powerfully fueled by data mining, including many government agencies outside school agencies,  it will dangle grant money carrots in front of communities in exchange for greater federal power over the local community.  It seeks to take over the local community agenda (not just the school community– the entire community’s agenda) and to absorb family time.

How?  Community schools can control (“assist”) individuals because they are astronomically empowered to know everything about a child, by nonconsensual data collecting and by the wide open data-mashing that has been happening –between state and federal lines (Study the State Longitudinal Database Systems, the Common Core of Data, the SIF interoperability frameworks) –and across state and private lines (Study the private CCSSO’s partnership with the US Department of Education and with State Higher Ed in promoting Common Educational Data Standards and the Data Quality Campaign).

 

ccs

 

With a society  increasingly forgetting the protections of the Constitution and increasingly buying into the nanny-knows-best philosophy of government, few people are standing against the nonconsensual collection of personally identifiable data. Ignorance or tolerance by the people is making individuals’ data-life-takeover possible.

Recall that this communistic, centrally-managed direction is the one in which our US Secretary of Education has been pushing us, unconstitutionally, for years.

nanny

In a December 2012 speech Duncan clearly stated:

“…We have pursued a cradle-to-career agenda, from early childhood programs through postsecondary graduation… [the] final core element in our strategy is promoting a career-to-cradle agenda.” 

He also said: “we have to learn to think very, very differently about time. I think our school day is too short.  I think our school week is too short.  I think our school year is too short.”

Years ago, Duncan wrecked privacy regulations (FERPA) and punched out parental rights by reducing the requirement that agencies get parental consent prior to sharing student data.  He also altered the definition of the term “education program”.  It now “includes, but is not limited to” a long, long list of programs that are to be called education programs “regardless of whether the program is administered by an educational authority.”

Community schools are “social justice” (and communism) in action.  There is no representation of individuals.  There is no privacy. Nobody gets to opt out.  Personal data of a medical, academic, mental, familial, or any other type, belongs to the nanny government. In fact, individuals owe themselves as human capital to the government.  It’s in the language of the bill. In community schools, HIPPA (medical privacy rights) protections do not exist because FERPA (school privacy nonrights) usurps them.  Your child has fewer privacy rights than ever in a community school.

Please don’t think it’s only academic scores that are being collected.  Remember that Comrade Duncan also altered the term “personally identifiable information,” which now includes biometric data —meaning psychological and biological data:  “a record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.”

So how could a student retain private records of a medical, mental health, academic, or family nature, under S1787?  The whole purpose of the community school is to mesh and mash records and services.

Lest there be any confusion or name calling (“conspiracy wacko!”) remember that neither the data grab nor the push toward communism is theoretical or hidden.  It is promoted by notable congressmen and the US Secretary of Education.  Just study the words of Secretary Duncan and Congressman Fattah (PA) and Congressman Honda (CA) who were were the architects  of the education redistribution program known as The Equity and Excellence Commission. Congressman Fattah explained: “The Equity and Excellence Commission…that has been established by Secretary Arne Duncan will begin to close the gap in resource distribution between rich and poor…”

Duncan prefers the term “social justice” over the term “communism.”  But he fights for it!  At a University of Virginia speech, Duncan said:  “Great teaching is about so much more than education; it is a daily fight for social justice.”  At an IES research conference, he said: “The fight for quality education is about so much more than education. It’s a fight for social justice.” 

The truth is that social justice is the opposite of justice.  It is forced financial equality; it means wealth and property theft and redistribution, Animal Farm style. It is communism. And there’s only one way to enforce it: top down, heavy-handed government force.

S1787 means to reassign authority (from families to governments) to crush independent businesses and churches (in favor of government-partnered ones) and to redistribute money and resources –without the consent of the people who owned and earned them.

I’m sure by now you want to see if this is really true.  Time to look at the language of the bill.  I’ll pose questions before each bill citation to help clarify.

 

  • Does the bill turn students into government resources rather than free agents?  Yes.

“engage students as resources to their communities”  -Section 5701, Purposes.

“Students are contributing to their communities.” – Section 5703

  • Does the bill dramatically increase the role of the government school in society?  Yes.

“provides access to such services to students, families, and the community, such as access during the school year (including before- and after-school hours and weekends), as well as during the summer.” – Section 5702

  • Does the bill mesh and other socialist programs, such as ObamaCare, into schools?  Yes.

” …to coordinate and integrate educational, developmental, family, health, and other comprehensive services”-Section 5702

“Access to health care and treatment of illnesses demonstrated to impact academic achievement.”

  • Does the bill integrate families into its programs without their informed consent?  Yes.

” …to coordinate and integrate educational, developmental, family, health, and other comprehensive services”-Section 5702

“Participation rates by parents and family members in school-sanctioned activities” – Section 5703

  • Does the  bill aim to influence or control children’s psychological or behavioral development under government authority?

” …to coordinate and integrate educational, developmental, family, health, and other comprehensive services”-Section 5702

  • Is the federal government to bribe schools to give away data about the students, families, and other residents of the community?  Yes.

To get a financial grant, communities must hand over “A needs assessment that identifies the academic, physical, social, emotional, health, mental health, and other needs of students, families, and community residents.”  -Section 5703

Also, to get and keep federal money, communities must show that “Families are supportive and engaged in their children’s education.” (Section 5703) How does a community measure that metric?  And, if I am an opponent (nonsupporter) of Common Core or other school-adopted programs, am I to be labeled “not supportive and engaged in my child’s education”?  What’s the consequence to me?

  • Does the bill discourage data collection opt-outs by families, by requiring multiple test measure, including inviting stealth (hidden) assessment of students?  Yes.

Multiple objective measures of student achievement, including assessments, classroom grades, and other means of assessing student performance.” – 5703

  • Does the bill encourage state workers to inspect families in their homes?  Yes.

Nurse home visitation services” and  “Teacher home visiting” and “Programs that promote parental involvement” are “qualified services” under this bill.

Remember, a “service” is not necessarily optional in the world of big government (think: compulsory education, nonconsensual data collection).

  • What non-academic or after-academic programs are included?

“expanded learning time,” “summer” learning experiences, “after school” experiences, “early childhood education,” “remedial education activities,”  “expanded learning time,” “programs under the Head Start Act,” “Programs that promote parental involvement,” “mentoring and other youth development programs,” “conflict mediation,” “Parent leadership development activities,” “Parenting education activities,” “Child care services” “Community service and service-learning opportunities,” “nurse home visitation services” and  “teacher home visiting” and “programs that promote parental involvement” “physical education,” “Programs that provide assistance to students who have been truant, suspended, or expelled” (so you can’t get kicked out/freed no matter what you do), “Job training, internship opportunities, and career counseling services,” “Nutrition services,” “Primary health and dental care,” “Mental health counseling services,” “Adult education,” “Juvenile crime prevention and rehabilitation programs,” “Specialized instructional support services,” “Homeless prevention services,” “Other services.”

(Does this sound like a gigantic community prison to anyone?  If American schools become these community schools, and all communities become sucked into this web of “services,” there will be nowhere to run.  If parents aren’t “supportive and engaged” in this paradigm, they will be reeducated in “parenting education activities” or “parent leadership development activities”.  A person can’t even escape by expulsion from school, because rehab and community service hours take place on campus, too.  Nor can anyone escape by running away because they have “homeless prevention services.”)

  •  Is there any local control in these schools?  No.

There is no representation by those governed under the community schools act.  The rulers are to be a five member,  unelected, un-repealable advisory committee, federally appointed, that will call the shots for community schools.  It will include:  “The Secretary of Education (or the Secretary’s delegate) The Attorney General of the United States (or the Attorney General’s delegate) The Secretary of Agriculture (or the Secretary’s delegate) The Secretary of Health and Human Services (or the Secretary’s delegate)  The Secretary of Labor”. – Section 5705

We are living in an upside down, black-is-white, bad-is-good, liars’ world of ed reform.

As Stanley Kurtz wrote, “you’ve got to understand the Orwellian world of Common Core advocacy, where day is night, war is peace…” and realize that “the whole trick of Common Core is to make an end-run around the legal and constitutional barriers… even as you deny that you’re doing it.”  Just as Common Core proponents “concocted a fiction” pretending that “Common Core was state led using the fig leaf of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA)”, and just as the “Student Success Act” and “Every Child Achieves Act” talking points say one thing, but the actual, buried legal language create the opposite: less and less and less and less freedom for the individual student, teacher, or family– so, too, S1787 wears a false mask.

Unlike true benevolence or community care, these ed reform initiatives carry the weight of compliance and are not based in free will or personal agency.  Forcing, even out of care, is still forcing.  And robbing, even if the purpose is to share, is still robbing.

In S1787, proponents have again concocted a fiction that their Full Services Community Schools Act will empower parents, bless children, and benefit communities. Few things could be further from the truth.

 

 

Sen Hatch V. Sen Lee On Fed Ed Over Parental Rights   2 comments

 

hatch

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.

Here’s the link that explains, using the bill’s language itself, why it is clear that people of liberty must vote NO on S1177.

 

amash

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.”

 

lee

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.

 ———————–
Update:  I did hear back from a staffer at Senator Hatch’s office.  I was given talking points and more talking points.  What I want is an actual written conversation using the language of the bill in all its contradictions and oppressions, citing page and section numbers and not avoiding the issues that are uncomfortable, controlling the conversation.  This is what saps constituents of substantive faith in their elected reps:  cut and paste talking points (which sadly, even my own Rep. Jason Chaffetz is handing out on HR5.)  These do not, not impress.

 

 

 

Federal HR5 Down: Ten Things to Watch for in New ESEA Reauthorization Bill and SETRA   1 comment

american mom

 

Last week bipartisan grassroots Americans saw a miracle.

That wolf in sheep’s clothing, the (supposed) shoo-in bill called federal HR5 or The Student Success Act, which was to reauthorize No Child Left Behind/ESEA, was thrown aside  by Congress instead of becoming law.  Thanks to a bipartisan effort by grassroots citizens and vigilant Congressmen who studied the language inside the bill’s 600+ pages –not just buying Speaker Boehner’s gilded talking points— the dangers of HR5 surfaced into Congressional consciousness.

A whirlwind of amendment-writing began on both sides of the aisle.  By the time Congress gave up on trying to pass HR5 last week, there were so many amendments from both Democratic and Republican members of Congress that everybody seemed to dislike the bill and Obama was threatening to veto.

That was a very unexpected turn of events.  –But proper!  Emmett McGroarty of American Principles in Action summarized the problems of NCLB and HR5: “HR5 demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the Constitution and our constitutional structure. Although it relieves the states from some NCLB burdens, it then adds others and overall sets the stage for an expanded federal footprint in our lives.

Additionally, a powerful open letter from a bipartisan group of over 2,000 educational researchers (See letter here) last month informed Congress that  “testing should not be driving reform.

The 2000 educational researchers who signed  last month’s letter saw as harmful the federal aim “to use students’ test scores as a lever to drive educational improvement.” They explained: “This use of testing is ill-advised because… it has demonstrably failed to achieve its intended goal and has potent negative, unintended consequences.”  Under No Child Left Behind/ESEA, they said, the federal government had trusted “an unproven but ambitious belief that if we test children and hold educators responsible for improving test scores we would have almost everyone scoring as “proficient” by 2014.”  The researchers said: “there is no evidence that any test score increases represent the broader learning increases…  While testing advocates proclaim that testing drives student learning, they resist evidence-based explanations for why, after two decades of test-driven accountability, these reforms have yielded such unimpressive results.”

For many, the bottom line problem with both ESEA and HR5 was the ongoing, evidence-less promotion of student high-stakes testing as the solution for education problems.  For others, the bottom line problem (in HR5) was language implying conditionality of parental rights, possible waiving of states’ rights, and federal/state intrusion into private schools, particularly into private schools’ free exercise of religious freedom.  

With so many heavy, bipartisan issues rolled into ESEA, we can expect that the upcoming bipartisan version of the bill will be plagued with the same struggles we saw in last week’s HR5.  These must be identified and fought:

 

 

#1 Clarity problems: deliberately lengthy language that scatters definitions across hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages and convoluted language that confuses most readers;

#2 A continued push for testing and data mining that pushes away from local (school or district) accountability toward centralized power; multi-state alignment (de facto national) high stakes testing and data collection that enriches corporations partnered with or funded by Bill Gates/Microsoft and Pearson.

#3  A push for centralization of power –with the elites comprised of corporate and governmental partnerships to exclude voters, teachers, parents and duly elected representatives;

#4 No privacy protections beyond the lame and wilted FERPA for our children; instead, increased data collecting powers to corporate-governmental partnerships;

#5  A continued push for more unelected boards to have increased control of greater numbers of schools via charter school expansions;

#6 A continued push for federal-corporate intrusion into private schools;

#7 A continued bartering for parental and states’ rights in trade for federal money;

#8 An assumption of federal-corporate “research” authority –devoid of parental consent and devoid of evidence-based, peer-reviewed validity;

#9  Expansion of centralized authority over specified groups, such as “migratory students” or “Alaskan Natives”; in sum:

#10 A continued disregard for Constitutional rights.

 

Please watch not only the ESEA/NCLB reauthorization, but also the S.227 SETRA bill.  They go hand in hand.

Federal SETRA  hurts student data privacy, allows emotional testing in increased student data mining, and reassigns grant-making (funding) control to REL regions, not states.  Read SETRA bill text here.

It appeared to me that HR5 got away with its marketing (saying it was restoring local control) because it transmitted federally-desired, test-driven reforms and other expansions to state authority and to state enforcement, perhaps to appease local control activists.  But this was just passing the abuse baton.  I imagine the corporate-regional power grabbers singing the “Na-nee-na-nee-boo-boo” song:  “You don’t get the steering wheel.  Constitution Constasmooshen. Who’s got your taxes?”

(Important note: in the coming SETRA bill, fund-approving power is siphoned past the states to REL regional authorities, making Constitutional state-rights less and less relevant.)

These power-reassignments are not appealing to those who want true local control.

Pray that our Congressmen find time, energy and wisdom to see through it all and that they will have the courage to protect children’s rights, teacher’s rights, voters’ rights, and parent’s rights.

 

american mom field

 

 

 

Utah Should Vote No on Federal NCLB/ESEA Flexibility Waiver Renewal   1 comment

gulliver

 

Tomorrow morning, the Utah State School Board will vote on whether or not to renew the federal No Child Left Behind ESEA Flexibility Waiver.

Governor Herbert will address the board in person prior to this vote, at the USOE offices at 250 E 500 S in Salt Lake City.

It’s an open meeting.  Many of us will be there, and you are wanted and needed there.  If you can’t come, please write to the board.  Here’s the board’s email address.  Board@schools.utah.gov

Here’s my letter.

 

——————–

Dear Board,
Please vote no on the ESEA/NCLB renewal of waiver tomorrow.
No Child Left Behind was bad; but the waiver from it (meaning that we consent to continue with Common Core) is far worse, because of the suffocating strings attached. A million tiny strings took Gulliver down.
I am referring to:
1- The CCSSO-created CEDS data collection aligned to the Common Core standards.
2- Teacher handcuffing via teacher grading related to Common Core testing.
3-  No amendment process for the Common Core (copyrighted) standards.  (We could alter our previous Utah Core; we can’t alter ELA or Math under Common Core’s copyright.)
Bottom line: we owe no accountability to the federal government Constitutionally and it returns very little money, percentage wise, of our education budget –of which Utah wastes much on bloated administrative salaries and on the common core tech ed sales cartel, not giving much to truly benefit children or teachers.
We have constitutional rights and we are shredding them, voluntarily, by tying our school system down under Common Core and Common Data.
Please vote NO on renewing NCLB.
Christel Swasey
Utah Credentialed Teacher
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