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A Weighty List of Grievances: Will Congress Ever Hold a Hearing Against the Department of Education?   1 comment

const

 

Even though I don’t like bumper stickers, I proudly slapped a U.S. Senator Mike Lee bumper sticker on my car because he’s that rare legislator who honors in actions as well as in talk, that priceless treasure, our freedom-friendly U.S. Constitution.  And this week, I waited on the phone for a long time to ask him a question during his virtual town hall meeting this week.

I never got my chance, and that’s understandable because  I heard the announcer say that 15,000 Utahns were attending, so…  I’ll ask it now.

 

How weighty does the list of grievances need to be for Congress to convene a hearing on the Department of Education? duncan

It seems like any one of the grievances that I’ll list next, would deserve action.  Taken together, these assaults on Constitutional rights of individuals is almost unbelievable.

What are your thoughts on this list:  as a legislator, as a parent, as a teacher (especially if you are a special ed teacher) as a student, as a taxpayer, as a citizen with Constitutionally protected rights?  When should Congress hold the Department of Education accountable for:

 

  1. TAKING AWAY SPECIAL ED  –  The Department of Education has, unbelievably, removed state authority over special education, effective this week.  It used fake research to assume its new position of forcing federally aligned testing –without modifications– on special education students. That fake scholarship was exposed by special education scholar and Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Gary Thompson. The No Child Left Behind “final rule” has supposedly authorized the federal government to “no longer allow” states to call the shots on special education.
  2. ADMITTING IT FORCED STATE ALIGNMENT TO COMMON CORE – Department of Education official Joanne Weiss has just now not only confessed, but boasted, that the federal government deliberately “forced alignment” and “deployed tools” to push states into Race to the Top/Common Core, in this recent report. ( See the Pulse2016 article.)    Important note:   Weiss’ confession starkly contrasts with countless claims  in the past three years from the Department, that Common Core was “state-led” and that any other view was “nonsense”. Duncan then said:

“… a new set of standards—rigorous, high-quality learning standards, developed and led by a group of governors and state education chiefs—are under attack as a federal takeover of the schools. And your role in sorting out truth from nonsense is really important.” – 2013 speech by Sec. Duncan.

 

3.   STALKING CITIZEN DATA – The Department of Education –stunningly–  succeeded in bribing states to build what is essentially each state’s own stalking system, 50  federal/state database systems, called SLDS, that were built to federal specs, with federal interoperability, and with federally aligned data tags, essentially putting 50 state databases on a federal gridwithout a vote and without asking for parental or taxpayer consent to collect personal, behavioral, and academic data about citizens, longitudinally, for life, using schools as a government stalking mechanism.

4.  DELETING PRIVACY LAWS –  The Department of Education altered previously protective federal FERPA laws, altering policy that changed the definition of what IS personally identifiable information (PII). PII can now include biological and behavioral data (biometric data) about children or about any citizen who once was in a publically funded school. The Department also reduced to just a “best practice” –a.k.a. “optional”–  the previously protective FERPA  rule that parental consent had to be received prior to any sharing of student PII. The Department was sued by the Electronic Privacy Information Center for doing this. Read details at that site.

5.  STANDARDIZING  THE P-20 DATA MINE –  The Department of Education partnered with a private, closed-door group called CCSSO (the co-creators, by the way, of Common Core) to co-produce common data standards, called CEDS, which further standardizes the data mining ability of the federal government over American citizens from early childhood through the workforce, in an initiative known as P-20 (or P-20W).

6.   TEACHING AND IMPLEMENTING SOCIALISM, ALMOST AS A NATIONAL RELIGION – The Department of Education’s official blog, as well as Secretary Duncan’s speeches themselves, have unilaterally redefined education– as the teaching of socialism, aka social justice.  Who passed a law that social justice would be the foundation  for student learning? Who was authorized to take the entire population of U.S. school children down that path?  In “Education is Social Justice” and other official articles and speeches, we learn that no longer will our education dollars teach our children to cherish Constitutional ideals like individual rights, property rights, separation of powers, or religious; instead schools will teach social justice, which is, unfortunately, not justice.  It is theft.  It allows the Department of Education (or others) to steal teachers, money, or data from one group to redistribute to another, without consent.  Duncan can’t seem to give a single speech without spreading “social justice” and his Equity and Education Commission‘s publications reveal that the Department is promoting not just the teaching, but the implementation of socialism and forced redistribution, nationally.  Shouldn’t there at least have been a vote?

7.  SUBMITTING TO GATES – The Department of Education worked closely with, and accepted money from, the worlds’ second richest man and implemented nationwide policies based not on voter intent but on Gates’ intent.  As Diane Ravitch wrote: “The idea that the richest man in America can purchase and — working closely with the U.S. Department of Education — impose new and untested academic standards on the nation’s public schools is a national scandal. A congressional investigation is warranted.”

 

dunc

 

In conclusion:

“When the story of the Common Core is finally told, it’s going to be ugly. It’s going to show how the sponsors of the Common Core made a mockery of the Constitution and the democratic process. It’s going to show how the Obama administration pressed a completely untested reform on the states, evading public debate at both the federal and state levels. It’s going to show how a deliberative process that ought to have taken years was compressed into a matter of months. It’s going to show how legitimate philanthropic funding for an experimental education reform morphed into a gross abuse of democracy. It’s going to show how the Obama Education Department intentionally obscured the full extent of its pressure on the states, even as it effectively federalized the nation’s education system. It’s going to show how Common Core is turning the choice of private — especially Catholic — education into no choice at all.”

That quote comes from Stanley Kurtz’s article  for “The Ethics and Policy Center”entitled “Time for Congressional Hearings on Common Core”.

So maybe it’s good that I didn’t get to ask this question on the phone with my senator this week.  I can mail it to him now.  Maybe others will, too.

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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.)

cry

Voting for such a bill is not okay with me.

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