Karen R. Effrem, MD – President
The Republican Party Platform was released on July 18th. The battle between grassroots parent activists and the corporate/foundation/bureaucratic establishment is evident, but the preponderance of the education platform is a testament to the hard work and dedication of parents all over the country including those on the Platform Committee. Here is my list of the most important quotes from both perspectives and a bit of analysis of important issues fought to a draw.
Grassroots Parent Wins
- The primacy of the parental role in education –
“Parents are a child’s first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children. Parents have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing. We support a constitutional amendment to protect that right from interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations.”
- The critical need for two parent families –
“It is also why everyone should be concerned about the state of the American family today, not because of ideology or doctrine, but because of the overwhelming evidence of experience, social science, and common sense. All of which give us these truths about traditional marriage: Children raised in a two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage. We oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation. (Emphasis added)
- Affirming the need to eliminate or greatly reduce the federal role in education –
“Education is much more than schooling. It is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions. It is the handing over of a cultural identity. That is why American education has, for the last several decades, been the focus of constant controversy, as centralizing forces from outside the family and community have sought to remake education in order to remake America. They have done immense damage. The federal government should not be a partner in that effort, as the Constitution gives it no role in education.”
“Since 1965, the federal government, through more than 100 programs in the Department of Education, has spent $2 trillion on elementary and secondary education with little substantial improvement in academic achievement or high school graduation rates.”
- Opposition to national standards –
“We reject a one-size-fits-all approach to education and support a broad range of choices for parents and children at the state and local level. We likewise repeat our long-standing opposition to the imposition of national standards and assessments, encourage the parents and educators who are implementing alternatives to Common Core…” (Emphasis added).
- Opposing out of control test-based accountability –
“It rejects excessive testing and ‘teaching to the test’ and supports the need for strong assessments to serve as a tool so teachers can tailor teaching to meet student needs.”
- Protecting student privacy and freedom of conscience –
“The federal government has pushed states to collect and share vast amounts of personal student and family data, including the collection of social and emotional data. Much of this data is collected without parental consent or notice. This is wholly incompatible with the American Experiment and our inalienable rights.”
“…and believe that federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs.”
- Local control –
“…parent-driven accountability at every stage of schooling”
“…classroom discipline; parental involvement; and strong leadership by principals, superintendents, and locally elected school boards”
- Affirming academic basics and other important foundations –
“We strongly encourage instruction in American history and civics by using the original documents of our founding fathers.”
“A good understanding of the Bible being indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry, we encourage state legislatures to offer the Bible in a literature curriculum as an elective in America’s high schools.”
“To ensure that all students have access to the mainstream of American life, we support the English First approach and oppose divisive programs that limit students’ ability to advance in American society.”
“…STEM subjects and phonics”
- Affirming the view of students as individuals, not products or “human capital”
“At the heart of the American Experiment lies the greatest political expression of human dignity: The self-evident truth that ‘all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ That truth rejects the dark view of the individual as human capital — a possession for the creation of another’s wealth.”
- Safety, privacy, and health –
“Their agenda has nothing to do with individual rights; it has everything to do with power. They are determined to reshape our schools — and our entire society — to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions. Their [Title IX] edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities is at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues. We salute the several states which have filed suit against it.”
“We renew our call for replacing ‘family planning’ programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. That approach — the only one always effective against premarital pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease — empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception.”
“All personnel who interact with school children should pass background checks and be held to the highest standards of personal conduct.”
Fought to a Draw:
There was no mention of Hillary-style universal early childhood programs despite early reports that they might be rejected by the committee and $250 million was spent on them in the statist and tyrannical Every Student Succeeds Act. There was also no mention of ESSA itself, despite desperate attempts of the Republican congressional leadership to portray it as a conservative win, even during convention speeches.
- Portability and Universal School Choice – Federal Title I and IDEA portability will clearly bring federal mandates, regulations, national standards like Common Core that were so sadly cemented into place by the passage of the ESSA, tests and data collection into the private schools. That is what is happened with the voucher bill in Indiana under Governor Mike Pence. That danger is also ever present to home schooling autonomy under the guise of “universal school choice options,” so in favor with Jeb Bush and his foundation. When government school mandates are imposed on home and private schools, these will be eliminated as real alternatives to the FedEd Leviathan. It is also inconsistent with the other plank in the platform of reducing or eliminating the unconstitutional federal role in education.
“We propose that the bulk of federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for children with special needs should follow the child to whatever school the family thinks will work best for them.”
“We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools. We especially support the innovative financing mechanisms that make options available to all children: education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits.”
- Misuse of test scores for every kind of accountability – The platform mentions a concept very near and dear to the Jeb Bush faction of the GOP – “ending social promotions.” However, much research shows that third grade retention is not helpful and in many cases, harmful. Even worse, numerous Florida school districts are using this ineffective practice to punish parents that opt their children out of the validity challenged tests and retaining the students with no documented reading deficiency just because they have no test score. Parents are readying a lawsuit.
“More money alone does not necessarily equal better performance. After years of trial and error, we know the policies and methods that have actually made a difference in student advancement: …career and technical education; ending social promotions; merit pay for good teachers…”
- No acknowledgement of state Common Core rebrands – Despite the language congratulating “the states which have successfully repealed it,” thanks to the efforts of Common Core proponent organizations, no state has successfully repealed and replaced the Common Core with any standards that are not just deceptive rebrands. This includes Indiana under Mike Pence, Florida under Rick Scott with guidance from Jeb Bush, and the Bill Gates funded legal effort to block the Massachusetts ballot initiative.
“…and congratulate the states which have successfully repealed it.”
- Portrayal of education as skills-based workforce training – Per Jane Robbins’ excellent analysis, this legislation is a “Soviet-style monstrosity that divides states into regions and sets up crony-populated labor boards to control training and workforce-development for politically connected industries. This concept is not just anti-conservative; it’s anti-American. Republican members of Congress should be begging forgiveness, not blowing their horns.”
“Their Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act — modernizing workforce programs, repealing mandates, and advancing employment for persons with disabilities — is now law.”
- Emphasis on technology in education – This is the establishment effort to support teacher replacing, data mining, expensive and ineffective competency based education.
“Because technology has become an essential tool of learning, it must be a key element in our efforts to provide every child equal access and opportunity.”
Karen R. Effrem, MD – President
Anti-Common Core Senator Ted Cruz suspended his presidential campaign yesterday evening. With pro-Common Core John Kasich mathematically out of the race, Republicans are left with Donald Trump who has called education a core function of the federal government while stating he opposes Common Core.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton supports the standards, voted for No Child Left Behind and Bernie Sanders supported ESSA.
As with everything else, we will need to stay tuned to see what happens with education in this, our beleaguered republic. In the mean time, please help us continue to fight SETRA and the assessment of mindsets in the NAEP.
Thanks to the Pulse 2016 that published Dr. Effrem’s latest article, a review of Jeb Bush’s education plan titled: Six Reasons Jeb’s Plan Fails to End Federal Tyranny in Education. Here is the introduction and list of concerns:
Former Florida Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush released his education plan on January 18th. In it, he tries hard to sound like he cares about and supports local control and parental autonomy. In fact, the document, on pre-K through grade 12 issues, is merely a kinder, gentler form of federal tyranny that continues unconstitutional government involvement in pre-K, high stakes testing, data mining, and K-12 education in general. The plan fails on multiple important fronts:
Federal Involvement in Education
Title I and IDEA Portability
Data Collection and Data Privacy
Promotion of Charter Schools
Continued Dependence on a Flawed High Stakes System
Please read and share!
Karen R. Effrem, MD – President
Former governor and potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush held a closed fundraiser and an open education forum in Tallahassee, Florida on February 11th. Many on both sides of the aisle have concerns about that candidacy. He has been protested by anti-Common Core groups and Republican activists. The Florida Bad Ass Teachers (BATs) and the Democrat Party will be protesting the event tomorrow.
Other potential Republican presidential candidates are criticizing Bush’s support for Common Core:
- Ted Cruz was on ABC’s This Week and said:
…”Trust these moms,” Jindal said. “I have more confidence in the moms in this room than I do in any collection of bureaucrats.”
Multiple exposes have been published in recent weeks discussing his questionable education and business dealings. During that time, Bush dismissed the conservatives in Iowa, the first caucus state in the nation skipping a major gathering of potential presidential candidates. Several 2016 polls have come out in in the last few weeks since that Iowa Freedom Summit showing that Jeb Bush is having major problems. Here are some examples:
- Bloomberg – 2/3 of likely Iowa Caucus goers think Common Core and immigration are deal breakers or would have to think about about those issues when considering Jeb Bush
- Drudge Among over 440,000 online votes on the Drudge Report website, Bush only managed to garner 4% of the vote, with anti-Common Core potential candidates Governor Scott Walker with 44%, Senator Ted Cruz at 13%, and Senator Rand Paul at 12% dominating the field. Governor Chris Christie, also pro-Common Core only received 1% of that vote.
- Public Policy Polling – Jeb Bush is tied for the lead in North Carolina with Scott Walker and Ben Carson, but the polling firm notes a strong rise in Bush negatives since his announcement in December:
- Assessments + Testing (16)
- Bullying/Sex Education (5)
- Calendar/Announcements (4)
- Common Core Standards (66)
- Curriculum + Standards (53)
- Data Collection and Data Privacy (28)
- Early Education/Nanny State (64)
- Federal Education (94)
- International Education (3)
- LGBT Issues in Education (4)
- Media Appearances (4)
- Mental Health (25)
- Planned Economy (5)
- Politics of Education (11)
- State Education (81)
- Testimony/Presentations (15)
- Uncategorized (4)
- Unions (10)
Education Liberty Watch Projects
- American Principles Project
- Cato Institute
- Conservative Teachers of America
- Constitutional Coalition
- Eagle Forum
- Minnesota Advocates and Champions for Children
- Missouri Education Watchdog
- Restore Oklahoma Parent Empowerment
- Stop Common Core
- The Pioneer Institute
- Truth in American Education
- What is Common Core – Education Without Representation