Browsing articles in "Early Education/Nanny State"
Jul 14, 2015
ELW

Horrific Senate NCLB Rewrite Bill Nearing Final Passage!

There were  rumors that the final votes on amendments and passage for the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) could have been as early as Monday or at the latest by Wednesday (July 15th). Apparently because parents and teachers have seen through the shiny but false promises about how this Senate reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), restores state sovereignty and parental control, is an improvement over NCLB, and supposedly lets states out of Common Core and testing mandates, the plan is to finish the bill before more opposition can be raised by those of us who know the truth and oppose this bill.

Details provided in the list by the American Principles Project show how the prohibition on federal involvement with standards are completely false.  This is especially important because presidential candidate Jeb Bush is perpetuating the falsehood that the prohibitions against federal control of standards are real.  In the following audio clip from a conference call with Alabama Republicans, Bush bragged about how he got his good buddy Senator Lamar Alexander to put this prohibition in the Senate bill (listen starting at 2:32).

The problem is that this type of prohibition was already in federal law in three places.  That did not stop the current administration from bribing and blackmailing states to adopt Common Core via the Race to the Top grant program and No Child Left Behind waivers.  In addition neither the old nor the new language contains any enforcement mechanism for the states that are coerced or bribed.  Either Jeb Bush is ignorant of this situation or he is knowingly participating in the deception.  Neither situation reflects well on him, especially since he is running for president and portrays himself as such an education guru.

As we have  chronicled in detail before, the other problems with and dangers of this bill are almost too numerous to count, especially in the areas of  psychological profiling and expansion of federally controlled invasive early childhood programs.  These other problems include:

  • Cementing in of Common Core under the name of College and Career Ready Standards
  • Continuing federal annual testing mandates
  • Keeping the Secretary of Education in Charge of approving state plans
  • Only sham protection against Common Core because there is no enforcement mechanism for the prohibitions against federal interference with standards
  • No repair for the severely weakened and outdated privacy law (FERPA)

These provisions are further evidence that promised protections for states, districts, family autonomy, teacher control and student privacy are false.
The  House passed their NCLB rewrite by a very narrow margin of  218-213 that required much arm twisting. So if and when this Senate bill passes, the two will have to go to conference committee and we will all have to be alert and do our best to continue to educate members of Congress. Please be aware of these issues as you contact your own Senators this week!

 


Jun 29, 2015
ELW

More Dangerous Federal Control with New Preschool Grants within the Every Child Achieves Act

Karen R. Effrem, MD – President of Education Liberty Watch and Executive Director of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition

The Every Child Achieve Act’s (ECAA) Early Learning Alignment and Improvement Grants (Sec. 5o10)[1] offer new federal funds to “assist states” to “more efficiently using existing Federal resources to improve, strengthen, and expand existing high-quality early childhood education, as  determined by the State.” Despite the benign and pleasant sounding offer of help and resources to be used as states see fit, these grants greatly expand federal control over preschool as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind have done for K-12.  Here are the problems:

There is no evidence of long-term effectiveness of early childhood programs that justify their great cost, but there is evidence of academic and emotional harm.[2]

Each state applying for a grant must promise to and explain how it will use “existing Federal, State, and local resources and programs that the State will coordinate to meet the purposes of this part, including”… “Head Start”[3] and the “Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).[4]” [Sec. 5902]

Analogous to the Common Core standards incentivized by Race to the Top and the federal mandates for statewide standards and tests required by the 1994 version of the ESEA, there is a rapid spread of statewide or federal early learning standards and early childhood assessment incentivized by the 2011 and 2014 Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (ELC) Grants and mandated by the 2007 Head Start and 2014 Child Care and Development Block Grant reauthorizations.

According to the ELC Collaborative analysis of the ELC grants[5], at least 15 states declared openly that they are aligning their early learning standards to Common Core or admitted that they are aligning to the K-3 standards, which is a de facto admission of Common Core alignment.

Mentioning it eleven times in the legislation, Head Start requires not only every Head Start program, but also every other state pre-k program[6] to fully align to the Head Start Child Outcome Framework,[7] a set of national early childhood standards, which is being correlated to Common Core.[8] Most state standards and the Pearson Work Sampling System (WSS) kindergarten readiness assessment contain similar or identical language to the Head Start framework in its various iterations.  Pearson also admits in its advertising video that the WSS is based on “national standards.”[9] The only national preschool standards that are available are the Head Start Child Outcome Framework. This is federal control of academic content that includes the thoughts and attitudes of our youngest children, and should be concerning regardless of one’s views on any particular topic.  The K-12 Common Core standards promote social emotional goals[10] as well, but are much less overt than the Head Start Child Outcome Framework.

The CCDBG strongly incentivizes[11] a “tiered quality rating system (QRS),” to rate programs and providers. Though portrayed as “voluntary,” many programs, including private and religious programs, comply in order to be competitive in a bad economy for funding and referrals.  In most states, eighty per cent of child care is private.  The main requirement for a top rating in the QRS is use of the state early learning standards that are often far more subjective, controversial, and psychosocially based than those in K-12. This is resulting in a state takeover of private and religious childcare, because now these organizations outside of the state system are being bribed or coerced to teach the public program curriculum in order to get a good rating. Minnesota admitted this in its ELC application.[12] The rating systems themselves are subjective and controversial and lack evidence they will improve child outcomes.[13]

Continue reading »

Dec 30, 2014
ELW

Federal Budget Moves Education Control Efforts Down to Pre-K with Race to the Top

 

Karen R. Effrem, MD – President

The good news is that the recently enacted $1.1 trillion federal budget bill does not fund the K-12 Race to the Top education slush fund at all for the next year.  This is a significant improvement over the average $1 billion/year being spent on this program to implement the Common Core Standards and federally controlled, supervised and funded tests.

The bad news is that fed ed control machine is ramping up it efforts in the pre-K realm.  $250 million from the Race to the Top will now be spent on preschool programs via the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grants and Preschool Development Grants for expansion to a total of 18 states with a total of $750 million more federal spending on early childhood programs:

Development Grants (Year One):

  • Alabama, $17,500,000
  • Arizona, $20,000,000
  • Hawaii, $2,074,059
  • Montana, $10,000,000
  • Nevada, $6,405,860

Total: $55,979,919

Expansion Grants (Year One):

RTT-ELC States:

  • Illinois, $20,000,000
  • Maryland, $15,000,000
  • Massachusetts, $15,000,000
  • New Jersey, $17,498,115
  • Rhode Island, $2,290,840
  • Vermont, $7,231,681

Total: $77,020,636

Non RTT-ELC States (Year One):

  • Arkansas, $14,993,000
  • Connecticut, $12,499,000
  • Louisiana, $2,437,982
  • Maine, $3,497,319
  • New York, $24,991,372
  • Tennessee, $17,500,000
  • Virginia, $17,500,000

Total: $93,418,673

The danger, folly, and expense of these programs has long been documented here, including the Obama administration’s efforts to expand the cradle part of the “cradle to career” programs via Race to the Top:

State of the Union Statistics Mislead on Preschool Benefits
Government Preschool Tyranny “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!”

Early Learning Race to the Top Nationalizes Preschool

Preschool is NOT the Panacea Portrayed in Study

Myths and Facts About Early Childhood Education & Quality Rating Systems (QRSs)

Studies on Effectiveness of Early Childhood Programs

Of particular concern are the Common Core style  standards that focus heavily on subjective, controversial social-emotional topics like gender identity, family composition, environmentalism, social activism, and careers that are then enforced even on private and religious providers via required quality rating systems.  These standards are then linked to the K-12 Common Core standards.  Here are a couple of examples:

Minnesota no longer uses the term “gender identity” which has been defined by a homosexual advocacy law firm as a ” person’s internal, deeply felt sense of being either male or female, or something other or in between. Because gender identity is internal and personally defined, it is not visible to others.”  (Emphasis added.) However, the recently updated standards, still requires a young child to “describe or label self a boy or a girl”  What does this have to do with academic learning?

Florida’s Office of Early Learning’;s glossary of terms for their standards defines family as “A group of individuals living together” with no reference to traditional marriage.

This appears to be part of the continued assault on traditional families and parental rights to raise and educate their children.

Early learning programs are part of a comprehensive “Cradle to Career” involvement of the federal government in education via the Race to the Top grants.  Early childhood is definitely the new front in the battle for the hearts and minds of our children and we will need to continue to fight to protect them.  Stay tuned.

Jun 28, 2014
ELW

Rep. Bachmann Stands Against Newborn Genetic Data Collection Starting to be Used in CCSS Databases

Sadly, on June 24th, the US House passed HR 1281, a bill that nationalizes newborn genetic screening without consent on a voice vote without a roll call or amendments. There are many problems with the bill from a health care freedom and privacy standpoint that include as described by great expert on and champion  of medical freedom and privacy, Twila Brase of Citizens Council for Health Freedom in her alert:

1) No Consent Requirement.
2) Long-Term Surveillance.
3) Nationalized Newborn Screening.
4) Intrusive Labeling, Profiling and Sharing.
5) Genetic Research on Newborns.
6) Genetic Testing of Newborns for Conditions Not Yet Determined Appropriate for Newborn Screening.
7) $99.5 Million Price Tag.

The reason that Education Liberty Watch and our project organization, The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition are so concerned is because there is already at least one state program in place that is linking this newborn genetic data to early childhood and K-12 databases being implemented through the Race to the Top and Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge and linked to the Common Core standards and related tests.  Rhode Island said the following in their Early Learning Challenge grant application:

“Rhode Island’s proposed early learning data system will be linked to both the state’s K-12 data system and to the state’s universal newborn screening and health data system, helping to identify children with high needs, track participation in programs, and track children’s development and learning.”
The cradle to grave federal educational control is discussed in an Education Liberty Watch article about the Early Learning Challenge program.  Rhode Island’s program was also discussed and highlighted at the National Center for Education Statistics national data conference in Washington DC last summer detailed in this report.
However, Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-6) showed great courage and grace under fire to bring up the consent and privacy problems even though the bill was going to pass. Hopefully, something can be done to remedy this in the appropriations process and links to Common Core databases can be stopped. Here is the video of  Mrs. Bachmann’s important and courageous speech:

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