Archive for the ‘#STOPESEA’ Tag

This Is The Moment, Congress: We Are Watching You Vote (What This Bill is Really About)   4 comments

obama ed

The Every Student Succeeds Act

(ESEA or No Child Left Behind Reauthorization)

 

 

To read and expose the inevitable underbelly of the latest 1061-page fed-ed bill in the time between yesterday, when the bill slimed its way out of the dark, until tomorrow, when the bill is set up for its Congressional vote (without debate, without reading) is, of course, an impossible task.  We have done impossible tasks before, but I have never read 1,061 pages and analyzed it, overnight.

I’m going to post as much as I have energy for tonight.  In the morning, I’ll add what my smarty pants reader friends have found, as well.  So come back and scroll down.  🙂  If you are reading the bill, please make comments and point out page numbers below.  (FYI I am comparing this bill to its predecessors and you can do the same if you like.)

For those just catching up, know this:  the secret committee released the over 1,000 pages long bill to the rest of Congress  Monday, Nov. 30th,  for Congress to make its reasoned vote TWO DAYS LATER but then they changed the bill–again– and re-released it today, Dec. 1st.  So technically, your reps had one day to read, digest, and debate.

 

mike lee

Only Senator Lee has stood up to this procedural injustice.  Only he is a clear “NO” vote, that I know of.  Other Utahns: Senator Hatch, Representative Chaffetz and Representative Love, for example, are reading the bill today before they commit to a yes or a no vote this week, say their staffers.

This lack of commitment is something that I cannot understand.

Why wouldn’t Congressmen’s default vote be a “no,” based on the fact that the process has veered far from honest and proper procedural protocol?  Why not fight for the right to take a reasonable approach to actually study and debate the bill openly?

Congress is on the verge of passing this bill dishonorably while the only ones very excited about the bill (besides the Secretary of Education) are the bling-bling bipartisan lobbyists working for gold-rushing tech companies wishing to drain tax dollars into their pockets. These tech companies and ed sales corporations advise or partner up with the feds, saying smooth sounding stuff that poses as education — but education, the word itself, has been hijacked.

Corporate-partnered fed ed, served by this bill, is a top-down, one-sized, freedom-constricting, teacher-controlling, student data-stalking Frankenstein.  I don’t care if it’s left or right wing spawned.  It is wrong.

It is not education.

Any Representative or Senator who votes to pass this nation-binding law in such blind circumstances better prepare. There will be political careers lost– that will trace their demise back to this moment.  This is the moment, Congress.

 

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Hold Congress accountable.  Call and tweet.  Call 202-224-3121 to tell Congress: vote no.    We, the people, are watching this vote.

Now, to business of this bill.

I’ll post the page number or section, the direct quote from the bill, and why it’s a concern. (There is no way this will be thoroughly done in so little time.  Not a chance. But it will give you the gist of the bill.  And you will understand why pushers have gotten into the habit of putting out lying talking points –“reduce the federal footprint”; “restore power to states”– to get the darn bills passed.)

 

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“EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT OF 2015”  aka ESEA  link here)

My friend Karen Bracken, a patriot warrior mom, wrote, “Even the title concerns me.  How do you ensure that Every Student Will Succeed?  The only way you can do that is by dumbing-down education to the point in which even a cat could graduate.”  Does that make you laugh or cry?

If you read the title and the table of contents, you will see the micromanagement right away.  But let’s start with section 1003.  It deals with money and how states will be micromanaged if they want to see any of it.  The bill calls it “School Improvement.”  I’ve renamed it “How States Can Beg for A Piece of Their Own Tax Dollars Back“.

Here, the feds dictate (page 24) what percentage of funds the state will use and for what purpose.  (7 percent for this, not less than 95 percent for that, 3 percent for this… on and on through page 32).

The feds dictate that the states then must turn around and inflict fed-like micromanagement on localities; they must be “monitoring and evaluating the use of funds by local education agencies” (page 26) and must give out monies to localities only if they “demonstrate the strongest commitment to using funds…[as feds see fit] and states must “align other Federal, State and local resources“.

(There’s that word “align” that we have read ten billion times in the past four years as we read official documents implementing Common Core and Common Data Standards.  The word pops up again on page 33:  “coursework that is aligned with the challenging State academic standards“.  They’ve now dropped  references to Common Core State Standards as well as any reference to College and Career Ready Standards.  But the word “aligned” they have not dropped.  It’s in the document 72 times, and,  notably, the word “standards” is in the document 269 times and “challenging state academic standards” is repeated 24 times; just not “Common Core” labeled anymore.  To me, “align” in ed reform now means to superglue to a global sameness; it means forget about scholastic creativity or imagination; it means forget about originality or home-grown ideas and powers.  It means that you are not represented; you are assimilated.   But I am off on a tangent.)

Pages 34 and 35 repeat the mantra that funds must be prioritized to low-achievers.  (First of all, how dare you tell a state how to prioritize its funds?  Secondly, how are the feds so sure that mid and high achievers won’t mind losing funding for their misdeed of having achieved?  Are mid or high achievers’ needs not all that important, anyway?)  Harrison Bergeron comes to mind; this is the Handicapper General at work.

Page 36 promises “a sufficient number of options to provide a meaningful choice for parents” which is a lie, of course; think about it.  Federal laws and conditional monies mean using federally approved standards and tests and CURRICULUM in every school receiving federal funds.  This is far from meaningful and it represents an extremely narrowed and controlled set of choices.  Meaningful does not happen in an atmosphere of standardized everything, just as wonderous meals do not bloom in the kitchens of McDonald’s.

Page 37 dictates that American tax dollars may only “provide instruction and content that is secular“.  This is old news.  But it is not old news that federal funds are increasingly being offered to private schools.  Does this mean that the feds are softening and will share taxpayers’ dollars with those who choose to attend private religious schools?  No.  It means that private schools are being coerced to secularize their core curricula and services so that they may receive federal money.

Page 38 is Section 1111:  STATE PLANS.

We’ll rename this one “Mother May I?”  (Thanks, Wendy Hart.)

States say:  “Mother, May I adopt these standards?”  Secretary of Education or his appointees say “no”.  Rinse and repeat until states eventually ask to adopt what the Secretary has already settled upon.  Here’s how it works:

Page 38:  “…State educational agency shall file will the Secretary a plan” which must meet, among other things, “Secretarial Approval” (page 39 line 23) and must be approved by a review team appointed by the federal Secretary of Education. (page 39-40)  That team (page 42) will have the authority to disapprove a state plan.  The state may revise its plan, appeal for a hearing (page 43) but ultimately, the process will “promote effective implementation of the challenging State academic standards [aka Common Core]” (page 43).

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If ANYONE tries to tell you that this bill gives power to the States, point to these pages.  With such huge veto-wielding power, and review team appointing power, the Secretary becomes king over anything any state wants to do.  This is not good.  You can stop here.  That’s enough ammo.  VOTE NO.

I have to point out some sickening hypocrisy on page 44.  The review team must provide “objective feedback to the States” with “respect for State and local judgments with the goal of supporting State and local-led innovation“.  If your goal is to support State innovation, why not return to the Constitution which gives exactly ZERO authority to the feds in anything relating to education, tests, standards, or teachers!?

More hypocrisy on the same page: “Neither the Secretary nor the political appointees of the Department may attempt to participate in or influence the peer review process”.

On page 45:  “If a state makes significant changes to its plan at any time, such as the adoption of new challenging State academic standards or new academic assessments or changes to its accountability system… such information shall be submitted to the Secretary…”

Same page:  “If a State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section, the Secretary may withhold funds…” MICROMANAGEMENT HEAVEN.

A bit of a toothless joke on page 47:  “The State, in the plan it files… shall provide an assurance that public comments were taken into account”.

Page 47 also gives us this sobering mouthful:  “Each state, in the plan it files… shall provide an assurance that the State has adopted challenging academic content standards and aligned academic achievement standards (referred to in this Act as ‘challenging State academic standards’), which achievement standards shall include not  less than 3 levels of achievement…”  If you have studied how children are assessed, tracked and predestined to relegated top, middle, or bottom schools and careers in nations shackled by communism and socialism, this will make you very unhappy.

Page 48 says the state MUST align its standards to colleges and to tech-ed schools.

Page 49 says that only a small percentage of special education students– those with “the most significant cognitive disabilities” may be excused, and may use alternate standards, and only then if those alternate standards are “aligned with the challenging State academic content standards”.  On page 50 it adds that that severely disabled person must be “on track to pursue postsecondary education or employment” whether they want to or not.  The feds are not kind to special education students.  And they won’t let states determine these matters anymore.  Sadly, we already knew all of this was coming.

Page 51 offers us another blistering contradiction:  “The Secretary shall not have the authority to mandate, direct, control, coerce, or exercise any direction or supervision over any of the challenging State academic standards…”  Tell me how that works with page 45.   He can withhold funds and disapprove plans if the state files a plan that he doesn’t like for a slew of reasons that could include using curriculum, tests or standards that aren’t aligned to his vision of fed ed and he can mandate that the state has to use the exact same standards in every one of its schools (page 52 line 21) — but he in no way supervises the State’s standards?

Page 52 deals with “Academic Assessments”.  Feds dictate to states that the tests shall be the same in every school in the state (line 23) and that they will be “administered to all public elementary and secondary school students in the State” (page 53).  Does this end –or aim to end– the parental right to opt out of testing?  (See page 76 below)

Page  53 is an admission.  The bill says that the tests may not be used to “publically disclose personally identifiable information”.   They can’t disclose it publicly, but they can sure store it indefinitely.

Subtly, page 53 forces Common Educational Data Standards because the feds dictate that state tests must be:  “consistent with relevant, nationally recognized professional and technical testing standards”.

Next, the dictators tell states when and how much to test children:

page 54:  in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (every year) for math and language arts

in grades 9, 10, 11, 12 (at least once)

in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 for science (at least three times in those years)

On page 55, the dictators bring down the hammer:  “the participation in such assessments of all students”.  ALL.

On page 58 we see the racism and other -isms of the Department of Education: States are told that they must disaggregate test data by ethnicity, race, economics, disability, English proficiency, gender, and migrant status. 

On page 59 we see the toxic term “universal design for learning“.  Tests are to be developed using IMS Global education standards.  This means not just state or national, but global sameness and tracking.  Is that a good idea or a bad one?  Is that something that we ought to have Congress think about for more than one day prior to a vote?

On page 61 the feds are dictating to states that no more than one percent of students may be considered so disabled that they may take alternate-standards-based tests.  “The total number of students assessed… using alternate assessments does  not exceed 1 percent of the total number of all students in the State”.  Later, on page 65, the bill says that there is no cap; but that schools must submit information “justifying the need to exceed such a cap”.  It also notes that the State shall provide “oversight” of any school required to submit justifying information.  In other words, States must show that they are monitoring schools’ decision making.

How would the federal government ever know whether a state happened to have fewer, or a greater number of students who needed and deserved something other than what the highest achieving students can and should do?  On what basis does it dictate one percent?  What if my child is severely disabled and is forced to take the common tests and to be taught to common standards inappropriate for him or her, because of the high number of students with disabilties?  How does that bless my child?

On page 62 they’re dictating “universal design for learning” again; this time, for severely disabled special education testing.

Page 66 is literally jaw-dropping to me.  It says that if the state “provides evidence which is satisfactory to the Secretary that neither the State Educational Agency nor any other State government official… has sufficient authority under State law to adopt challenging State academic standards and academic assessments aligned with such standards [aka Common Core standards and tests] which will be applicable to all students enrolled in the State’s public elementary schools and secondary schools, then the State educational agency may meet the requirements…”  by aligning unofficially anyway, by meeting “all of the criteria…and any regulations… that the Secretary may publish”.  (page 67)   If your state law doesn’t allow for one size fits all, then adopt and implement policies that ensure that you are aligned anyway, or lose funding.  Talk about kicking Constitutional rights in the teeth.  This is dictatorship.

On page 69, states are told to dictate to schools again.  They must filter tests through the filter of “already been approved” (line 18) or they must “conduct a review of the assessment to determine if such assessment meets or exceeds the technical criteria” that has to be “established” (line 9) by the state.  This sounds to me like more herding of everybody into IMS Global’s universal design for learning.

On page 73, it almost sounds good until you finish the sentence.  It begins, “a State retains the right to develop and administer computer adaptive assessments, provided that….” and then we lose all the rights again, because they have to be aligned, aligned, aligned.

On page 76, it says that States can still decide whether or not to allow parents to opt out of testing but limits that concept to one paragraph:  “nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preempting State” law.  So, in the rest of the over-1000-page bill, something might.  This is not making me feel better.

How many dictatorial mandates, contradictions, hypocrises, manipulations and usurpations of local control have I related in this first tiny section of this bill?

Now, it is 1:30 a.m.   I have to go to sleep.

There are 985 pages that I (and probably my congressional reps) are leaving unread.  

–In a few short hours, Congress votes anyway.  Watch it here.

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Today ESEA Finally Released; Congress to Vote in Two Days Without Reading or Debating It   9 comments

crying stopesea

 

Over a thousand pages long, the ESEA bill is now online for all to see.  [UPDATE:  another new version was re-released on Tuesday, a day after the first version, a day before the vote.]

You can divide it up among your friends and read it.  [Newest version here] Or you can call Congress (202-224-3121) and tell them that this is a familiar (Obamacare) recipe for disaster:   A thousand pages.  No debate.  Vote in two days. Strike that; vote in one day.

Did you know that the average reader can read nontechnical information at about two minutes per page?  (This bill is highly technical, legalistic, ed reform language)  So it will take a genius  reader at least 2118 minutes (over 35 hours) to read the bill.

That’s without stopping for a meal or a potty break, without having his or her mind wander from the sheer absurdity of the reading marathon– reading this breathtaking page-turner straight for about nine hours.  That’s without stopping to define terms, research context, look at background on policies and initiatives and programs that a reader will come across.

Next, that genius Congressman or woman who will read the ESEA bill without pause, without proper sleep or food, in 48 hours, will have analyzed it thoroughly, from Constitutional, pedagogical, technological, logistical, financial and moral angles; not missing any key clause that could alter the meaning of a section; and then collect constituent (teacher) input, while finding time to discuss this with fellow members of Congress– which will at best happen at Burger King or on the phone, because there’s no time being put aside for a real debate on the actual floor of the House.  Simultanesously, he or she is responsible for other issues and other bills.

Ridiculous is not a strong enough word.

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And valiant is not a strong enough word for the Indiana moms who, on their own dime, have flown to Washington D.C. this week to plead for sanity from Congressmen in this ESEA reauthorization process.  God bless them.

Something is rotten in the state of the Republican party when such disgraceful processes and policies are presented as good and right.

Call their bluff.  Let them know that we are onto them.

It’s so obvious!  It’s all about top down, centralized control, and the crony partnerships and so-called philanthropies and chambers of commerce that make so much money standardizing our educational universe— without a thought for the effect on actual knowledge, actual education; children, teachers, and American liberty.

CALL THEM.  202-224-3121.  Hold them accountable.  Tweet them.  Call again.  Call again.  Tweet and Tweet.

If this bill passes, I predict that there will be political careers lost that will trace their demise back to this moment.

This is the moment, Congress.  We are watching you.

 

 

Join Us – How to Reach Out in Twitter Rally or Video to #STOPESEA   2 comments

Missouri Education Watchdog, Patriot Journalist Network (PJN) and other groups are leading a #STOPESEA rally tonight (all day, too, and all weekend).  Please join.  There are so many Congressmen to contact.  Click here to join.

Twitter is easy, for those who’ve never tweeted.  Click here for a free account.  https://twitter.com   Here’s a link to all of the twitter addresses of the U.S. Congress, or see the list below.: https://www.thomasmore.org/us-senate-twitter-account-list/

Use the hashtag #STOPESEA in every tweet.  Even if you have zero followers, you can still tweet to anyone with an account.  You just say “at” someone to tag them.  For example, tag Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan by writing @PRyan or @RepPaulRyanVP.

Patriot Journalism Network has the twitter addresses for all the House reps:  https://twitter.com/DataGenesis/lists/us-house-r/members

… and here’s their directory, so you can click on each name and get information on each individual rep: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

If you upload a video version of your #STOPESEA message to YouTube or a blog, it may be even better.  I love each of the #STOPESEA videos that are circulating right now, but this one is especially effective because it is directed specifically at those who will vote in a few days on ESEA.

In the video, Utah mom Laureen Simper says to  her D.C. representatives:

Utah Representatives, should you be asked to vote for any legislation which you haven’t read? Your default setting should be no.  As our representatives, representing us, these bills affect the lives of people, real people– real children, real families.  You have no business voting for something that you haven’t had a chance to read. The purpose of law is not to abolish or to restrain freedom but to enlarge and preserve it… You have no business voting on something that you haven’t read, that hasn’t been open to public scrutiny, and you certainly have no business impacting our lives by voting  yes to something that has been rushed through with an air and a shroud of secrecy….Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and instead of preparing dinner for the sixteen people I have coming, I am trying to figure out to post a video of myself, to take time to plead with my representatives… Please stop listening to the so-called experts and listen to the families who you represent.”

 

Look Who’s Making #STOPESEA Videos   5 comments

#STOPESEA VIDEOS – More have been added each day, and more will be added as they are made.

If you have made, or are willing to make, a #STOPESEA video, please post a link to it in the comments section below so I can repost it, or you can post it to the YouTube playlist linked here with the hashtag #STOPESEA.

Thank you to all those who are beginning to post their #STOPESEA videos. I know that there will be more.

My husband, a computer guy, used one of his programming metaphors on me when I was remarking to him that I wish I was pro, that I wish I had at least had the time to practice.

He said, “It’s better to make bridge just two lanes wide that actually goes all the way across than an eight lane bridge that only goes a quarter of the way.”  In other words, I (and all of you) are right to post our message before we’ve polished the presentation.

Just do it.

–And please keep calling!  202-224-3121

 

Michelle Malkin’s video is at her facebook page and linked with written highlights here: https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/michelle-malkins-stopesea-video/

#STOPESEA News:

You now have to wait on hold as often as not when you call the D.C. capital switchboard to leave a message for your Congressional reps (202-224-3121) and I’m hopeful, so I think that many of those calls are about #STOPESEA.

My rep Senator Chaffetz’ voice mailbox is full and cannot accept any more messages.

I’m not calling Sen. Lee (except to thank him) since I know where he stands on ESEA– with unclouded dedication to principles of liberty, proper representation and due process.

(I like to leave messages for other Congressmen that are out of my state, both the ones I like (Amash) and the ones I half mistrust (Ryan).)

And more people are making #STOPESEA videos.  This means that not only is there a greater possibility that we might impact this vote by pushing this bill out of its secretive, speed-without-debate path (what one videomaker, Jenny Hatch, called adding “the sunshine, the absolute disinfectant of debate“) that this bill so desperately lacks– but it also means that all of our friends are learning why we do what we do, and why they might want to join us.  Think about it:  Every day, big corporations and wealthy factions pay full time lobbyists big bucks to make sure politicians see these bills their way.  We, on the other hand, have nothing.  We are mothers.  We are teachers.  We do not have time or money or connections like the monied lobbies do.

But we have two things they don’t have, things more powerful by far.  One is the mother (or father) bear instinct.  The parental passion is unstoppable.  We love our kids.

The other is dedication that springs from the love we have for American liberty.  That dedication comes from appreciating the freedoms that we, as Year 2015 Americans, can still enjoy– freedoms that millennia of humans through history have not experienced because they were subject to the whims of kings, and not the rule of law like the incomparable U.S. Constitution, which acknowledges God, which acknowledges that we human beings do tend to control, dominate, bully and rob from one another, but by separating the powers of government, by providing representation and rule of law, by using due process of thoughtful debate, and checks and balances– in this way, we leash that dangerous tendency and that is why America has created unparalleled prosperity and peace in this freedom under God.

 

 

VIDEO: Why the American People Must #STOPESEA   17 comments

ESEA, a huge bill about data and federal roles in local education, is being rammed through in the dark.  The vote is in a week and there’s no access to the final bill yet.  Senator Lee is right.  This process is wrong.

Don’t let a handful of people decide for the entire elected Congress and the entire population of the US what education, testing, standards, and data privacy should be, without debate, and without reading the bill.  The political careers of those who are ramming through this anti-freedom legislation in the dark without debate are going to be over once America wakes up and figures out what they have done to us.

I sat down and wrote out what I wanted to say this blog-video.  It’s posted here, for those who don’t want to sit through twenty minutes of talking.  Sorry  that I had to read much of it rather than  making eye contact all of the time.  I just needed to get it said right.)

VIDEO CONTENT:

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

My name is Christel Swasey, and I am a teacher and a mother living in Pleasant Grove, Utah.   Today is November 24, 2015.  In less than one week a handful of secretive congressmen are expecting to pass a bill called ESEA, or the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, without our informed consent or the informed consent of our elected representatives.

The final bill has not even been released yet but the vote is in a week.  It won’t be read by turkey-gobbling Congressmen when it is released in a few days.  But they’ll be forced to vote on Tuesday, uninformed or misinformed because all they’ll read is a sheet of talking points put out by the bill’s lobbyists.  This will have a disasterous, long term effect on liberty in America.

I am asking you to help #STOPESEA by calling Congress at 202-224-3121. Tell Congress to vote NO on ESEA based on what’s slated to be in it, and maybe more importantly, based on the corrupt, un-American process of passing it without giving time to read and debate about it.

I’m a big fan of a phrase in the Declaration of Independence: THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED”.

The Declaration explains that to secure our God-given rights, we the people instituted government:  “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

So government has no just powers outside of consent by the governed, and so my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and yours, are not secure when government is operating outside the informed consent of the governed.  I am telling you that it is happening right now.

My own Senator, Mike Lee,  has been an inspiration this week as he’s spoken out about this corrupt process and explained how it’s operating.  He said that how the conference process is supposed to work is not how is has been conducted. Quote: “from the surface it will still look like the conference process is happening the way it’s supposed to, but beneath the surface, we know that all of this has already been prearranged, precooked, predetermined by a select few members of Congress working behind closed doors, free from scrutiny. And we know that this vote was scheduled on extremely short notice, so that it would be difficult if not impossible for the rest of us to influence the substance of the conference report through motions to instruct.”  Senator Lee said, “Because process influences policy… the process expedites the passage of policies that we know don’t work—policies to which the American people are strongly opposed.”  Then Senator Lee named a few of those bad policies, such as “the discredited common core approach” and the centrally planned, failed model of federal preschool which the bill will use $250 million to promote.  There are many more terrible policies that ESEA will cement.  I will list more later on in this video.

My own representative, Jason Chaffetz, has also been in the Congressional spotlight this week, shedding light on what the federal government, via the Dept. of Education, is doing to American privacy. I watched him in a video leading a congressional hearing on the improper practices of the Dept of Education in its student data collection and data mining programs.  The hearing revealed that the federal Dept of Education has somewhere between one and two hundred ways that it collects data about your child and mine, but the Department only admits to having three because it contracts out the rest of the systems.  As if that’s better.  The hearing revealed that the Dept of Education received negative scores across every category of data security, and Rep Chaffetz gave the Dept. an “F”—calling it “a monster, an absolute monster”.

This is the same federal Dept of Education that is pushing, through the current ESEA bill, additional methods of mining student data.

But the things that Sen. Lee and Rep. Chaffetz oppose are not the only things that the ESEA bill will foist on us.  I predict that the final version of the ESEA bill will contain many more grants to promote more “voluntary” data mining in addition to the compulsory data collection that’s already taking place;  more federal preschools, more psychological profiling of teachers, students and families inside and outside of public schools under the banner of the kindly nanny state’s data-driven decision making, more career tracking, more longitudinal citizen stalking via college student and graduate reporting, more assessments or more deeply embedded forms of stealth assessments, and a subtle undermining of parental authority, teacher creativity and student autonomy from the community-centric, workforce-focused, data-focused initiatives in this bill. (We’ll see this week, won’t we?)

A group of over two hundred grassroots organizations representing most of the states in the United States signed an open letter to Congress opposing this ESEA bill.  The letter outlines four things that are strong reasons to oppose ESEA.  I’m summarizing.  The first is–

  1. COMMON CORE – the letter calls common core “academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate, psychologically manipulative and privately copyrighted Common Core Standards…” End quote.  Now, in my opinion, the talking points that will be used to promote the bill will likely say that it’s common-core free, or at least, the bill will avoid using the phrases “common core” or “common data standards”.  The bill will rely very deceptively on the fact that most people don’t know that there is an official federal definition of common core.  That other phrase that the bill WILL include, repeatedly, is: “career and college ready standards” or “career and college readiness”.  Do an internet search for the federal definition of “college and career ready”.  You’ll find that the phrase is officially defined by the federal Dept. of Education as “standards common to a significant number of states” which can only be the common core.

The second reason that the grassroots letter asks Congress to oppose ESEA is its push for:

  1. ASSESSMENTS THAT PROFILE CITIZENS – the letter calls an over-reliance on tests never independently validated, high-stakes standardized tests supervised by the federal government , tests that are psychologically profiling our children more than assessing their academic knowledge…a problem. The third reason to oppose ESEA is:
  2. SLDS – State Longitudinal Database Systems (stalking of kids by the government) and the massive increase in state and federal gathering of private family, education and psychological data … without consent. The fourth reason:
  3. CAREER TRACKING – Career tracking, which undermines self-determination by means of unconstitutional profiling…”

Some people don’t understand why it’s a bad thing for the government to centrally manage and guide (or control) citizens into different career tracks; some think that’s helpful for the individual and good for the collective economy.

But I think of a quote from my favorite Disney movie, “Prince of Egypt” where Moses says, “No kingdom should be made on the backs of slaves”. 

Since student self-determination is undermined by the dictates of the government’s workforce needs, even if it is data-driven dictatorship, and since a student’s interests won’t be judged as equally important to a student’s capabilities when the collective workforce or the government is the main determiner of what that student’s career path should be, we are creating a system for our children where they are not free.  Maybe it is an exaggeration to say that education reforms are aiming to build a global kingdom on the backs of children without their consent;  but I think, in the long run, maybe not.

The four points outlined by the grassroots organizations’ letter, in my  opinion boil, down to this:

Either you believe that parents are the God-given authority over a child, or you believe that children’s lives should be managed by the government and its “data driven decision making,” for the building up of the government’s economy– in the style of countries without freedom, like China.

Either you support the continued tracking and nonconsensual stalking of your child and family, using local schools as the data collection pawns in a federal system that tracks children and families for life,  –or you believe in freedom, self-determination and privacy.

Either you believe that individuals should control their own lives despite the risks that freedom allows, or you believe that the government should control the lives of the people, because of the risks that freedom allows.  If you are getting sucked into believing the latter, please remember this:  we the people created government. We own it;  it did not create us and it does not own us.  It cannot boss us without our consent. Anytime government does a thing without the full, informed consent of the governed, it is unjust and it is dangerous.

But government can and does get away with bossing and bullying –when we let go of our own power.  I am asking you to use your power to call and stop ESEA this week.

Because Congress isn’t being given time to read or debate the bill prior to a vote, the bill’s promoters will pass out a sheet of biased talking points for the rest of Congress to read before they vote (this is how they got the Student Success Act passed) –and these talking points will sound so good.  But they will be full of lies.

I know this because I saw the last set of talking points when they passed the house and senate versions of this monster bill.  They had things that successfully deceived almost all of our elected conservatives, such as: “this bill will reduce the federal footprint” and “this bill restores power to the states and localities”—these things weren’t true.

Rather than restoring power to the localities, the bill assigned enforcement of federal priorities to the localities.  Think about that: there’s a big difference between assigning federal priority enforcement and implementation to states, and actually restoring freedom to states.  The new bill will likely use many phrases conservatives love while it also intrudes on basic rights and institutions, for example, on private schools and home schools by offering them attractive grants or services –in exchange for student, teacher and family data.  It’s all about data—it’s all about reducing citizen privacy, because information is power.

And the bill won’t be written in clear language that is accessible to the average person.   You will have to really study it and find out what its words and phrases mean in definitions outside the bill itself, to understand what is being traded.

The bill and its talking points will likely use language to appeal to the compassionate person, but it will force the federal concept — a parent-replacing definition– of government compassion.  It will promote parent-neutralizing, nanny-state enabling concepts and programs, including increased data mining –to identify (quote) ”academic, physical, social, emotional, health, mental health and other needs of students, families, and community residents.”  The last bill promoted “Full Service Community Schools” and “student needs” and “wraparound services” and extended learning time that make school, not family or church, the central hub of a child’s life.

202-224-3121.  Memorize that number or put it in your speed dial.  Ask Congress to vote NO on ESEA.

It is wrong for you and I to sit by while the partnership of federal and corporate forces take away our authority by changing who gets to define and enforce what learning means and what will be learned –taking this authority from the parent and teacher; and reassigning it to the government;

It is wrong for you and I to sit by while the federal government narrows academic freedom by dicating  a communistic, workforce-centered vision of what academic success is for;

It is wrong for you and I to sit by while the federal government cements into federal law the common core standards.

It is wrong for you and I to sit by while the federal government cements processes built on student-stalking common data standards and interoperable state databases that report to the federal edfacts data exchange, tracking children’s academic and psychological data, without consent;

It is wrong for you and I to allow any kind of assessments to be mandated upon us by federal forces, whether in the form of formal, standardized tests or stealthy, embedded tests that are quietly woven into the daily curriculum and assignments of students.  These tests lock us into a federal definition of what academic excellence looks like and will narrow academic creativity in classrooms that are built on one standard and one set of data tags and tests.  They certainly make things more efficient, but at the expense of a teacher’s professional judgment and her curricular liberty.

It is wrong for you and I to sit by while a few members of Congress ram a bill through, mostly in the dark, without allowing any space for analysis or debate.  It is truly a dark and un-American process.

Fight for freedom with your telephone.

These freedoms, once lost, won’t come back easily: the freedom to define with our own conscience and intellect what education should look like; the freedom from invasion of privacy;  the freedom from being centrally managed and tracked without consent.  These are not small things.

I’m asking you to call 202-224-3121 and tell Congress to vote NO on ESEA.

 

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Update:  Additional #STOPESEA videos here:

 

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