Karen, R, Effrem, MD – President
The US House Education and Workforce Committee marked up and passed its Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind six hundred plus page reauthorization bill on February 11th. (Video, Bill and amendment language are available here). It passed on a straight party line vote and is scheduled to be debated on the House floor starting on February 25th. The Obama White has already issued a paper criticizing the bill, as well as a veto threat.
Ideally this massive, unconstitutional, ineffective and expensive law would be repealed and the Department of Education would be closed. Sadly, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Dr. Sandra Stotsky and other friends and experts in the movement issued a statement calling for a major elimination of mandates.
The bill, called The Student Success Act (HR5) was described by committee member and former Alabama State School Board member Bradley Byrne as “a step in the right direction, but still has far to go,” because the federal government “needs a large dose of humility” when it comes to education. We agree!
However, while we oppose this bill as a whole, before discussing the significant issues of concern, it is important to congratulate and thank Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and the committee members that supported good language and fought off bad amendments. Here are the highlights:
- The bill contains language found in an anti-Common Core, anti-Federal interference bill call the Local Control of Education Act, HR 524 by committee member Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and co-sponsored by Florida Republican Reps. Curt Clawson, Tom Rooney, Ron DeSantis, and Ted Yoho, as well as 43 others. This language prevents the Secretary of Education from “incentivizing” or “coercing” national standards like Common Core or and national test like SBAC or PARCC in any federal law or program like waivers. It is important for preventing future disasters like Common Core.
- Rep. Steve Russell’s amendment to prevent the transfer of individually identifiable student data to the federal government passed and was added to the bill. That amendment states that “All personal, private student data shall be prohibited from use beyond assessing student performance as provided for in subparagraph (C). The State’s annual report shall only use such data as sufficient to yield statistically reliable information, and does not reveal personally identifiable information about individual students.”
- The Committee fought off efforts to amend in a requirement for “college and career ready standards for all students,” i.e. Common Core. Although the Student Success Act does not go far enough, at least the national standards would not imposed for everyone by the law.
- All of Title IV of NCLB was repealed. This includes many invasive, ineffective, and expensive education programs that EdWatch/Education Liberty Watch have been warning about since NCLB passed in 2001. These include early childhood mental health programs; federally run civic and community service programs; Ready to Learn Television, which basically contains money for propaganda in PBS children’s programs like Sesame Street; and the full service schools idea of Arne Duncan and Lamar Alexander. An effort to put a lot of these back in the bill was defeated.
- The majority also defeated an effort to put in universal preschool language. Education Liberty Watch has chronicled the lack of effectiveness; academic and emotional harm; and high cost of these programs for a very long time, including Head Start and the Race to the Top Early learning Challenge. We are appreciative to the committee for their work on this.
- Eliminates unworkable Adequate Yearly Progress provisions These requirements would have made nearly 100% of schools failures. These provisions were the impetus behind the federal waivers that coerced Common Core. Continue reading »
The Minnesota Child Protection League has developed a Toolkit to help parents and the public understand the dangers to the hearts and minds of women and young girls from the dangers of the erotic book and film 50 Shades of Gray. The Toolkit, available for free consists of the following:
- A reality-check FACT SHEET: What everyone need to know about the movie;
- LINKS & RESOURCES: A sheet to help understand the dangers and talk to teens;
- The PLEDGE: For all to sign, share, and go viral;
- GRAPHICS: Posters, online and social media-sized graphics, twitter posts, and hash tags to spread the word.
Here is the pledge:
Please help this information to go viral to protect the hearts and minds of our girls and women!
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:
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
Expansion Grants (Year One):
- 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
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
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.
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