Feb 9, 2018

The National Pulse: Congress Explodes Deficit, Expands Nanny State Programs with Budget Deal


Despite courageous efforts by Senator Rand Paul, other fiscally conservative senators, and the House Freedom Caucus, as well as the objections of pro-amnesty Democrat members in both chambers, Congress passed a two-year budget deal early this morning that ballooned spending by $300 billion over the next two years, significantly enlarging the deficit. The bill also ended the military and domestic sequester and raised the debt ceiling by $1 trillion. The Senate vote was 71-28, while the House vote was 240-186. The government is now funded through March 23rd, which will give the Congress time to write out a detailed budget for the rest of fiscal year 2018.

The full article gives details on the bill’s funding for:

  • Home Visiting
  • Child Care and Development Block Grant
  • Mental Health
  • Higher Education
Feb 2, 2018

The National Pulse: APP’s Jane Robbins Reveals Dangers of Gov’t Data Mining to Congress (VIDEO)

On January 30th, American Principles Project senior fellow Jane Robbins gave outstanding testimony at a U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee hearing titled “Protecting Privacy, Promoting Policy: Evidence-Based Policymaking and the Future of Education.” She spoke eloquently about the critical need for data privacy over data security, the dangers of social emotional learning, and the enormous problems of steering students into certain careers based on predictive algorithms. You can watch her opening statement here.

The video of the whole hearing is available here. Here are some of the strongest points from her opening statement:

  • The Government Has No “Right” to Student Data

  • Citizens’ Data Belongs to Them — Not the Government

  • The Social Emotional “Craze” Is a Problem

  • This Data Could Be Used to Steer Children into Certain Careers

  • There Is No Perfect Way to Secure This Data

  • Data Collection Without Consent Is an Affront to Freedom

  • The Government Ignores the Data It Already Has

  • Allowing Access to Social Emotional Data Is a Serious Risk

Quotes and more details in the full article are available here.

Jan 30, 2018

The National Pulse: It’s Time for Congress to End These Federal Intrusions into Preschool

That this program [Preschool Development Grants] has not received any funding is very good news, and there are several important reasons that Congress should refuse further funding during budget negotiations. The two most important are the federal interference that is very present, despite Politico’s claim and the flowery language in the bill, and the continued ineffectiveness, academic and emotional harm of preschool programs in general, especially Head Start.

As I wrote at the time ESSA was being drafted:

The grants require alignment to Head Start and the Child Development Block Grants that in turn require [in eleven different places in the current Head Start statute, such as Section 642B(a)(2)(B)(iii)] national preschool standards. These standards are being correlated and aligned to the K-12 Common Core by national organizations and states like California.  They include very controversial and subjective psychosocial standards like gender identity (p. 27), creating a “Baby Common Core.” (See more details on the problematic language HERE.)

This alignment language to Head Start completely negates the “no federal interference” for the grant language in ESSA. These federal standards are in large part social emotional, which makes them even more controversial than the K-12 Common Core standards, which are for the academic subjects of reading and math. Having the federal government require a grant program to align to a federal law that imposes content standards on essentially every pre-k program in the country is the epitome of federal interference. Perpetrating this scheme of such overt federal control of K-12 standards would have created an enormous uproar. It is a complete mystery why constitutional conservatives allowed it during the 2007 reauthorization of Head Start.

Read more HERE.

Jan 24, 2018

The National Pulse: Betsy DeVos Just Delivered a Promising Speech. Will Her Actions Back It Up?


Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave an interesting speech to the American Enterprise Institute last week. In some parts, it contained rhetoric that skeptical conservatives have been waiting to hear. Yet, other parts toed the corporate-establishment, ed-tech, education-as-workforce-prep line that previous administrations of both parties have pursued. Here is a brief review.

The Positives

First, we commend Secretary DeVos for unabashedly stating the obvious — that the unconstitutional federal control of education has been an utter failure:

The bottom line is simple: federal education reform efforts have not worked as hoped.

That’s not a point I make lightly or joyfully. Yes, there have been some minor improvements in a few areas. But we’re far from where we need to be.

Secondly, Secretary DeVos accurately describes the appalling federal overreach and the huge failures of both No Child Left Behind (NCLB) under George W. Bush and Race to the Top, Common Core, and the School Improvement Grants under Barack Obama…

Read the full article HERE.