"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Waiving Parents' and States' Rights: The No Child Left Behind Replacement

HR 5 is the bill in the US House of Representatives to 'reauthorize' No Child Left Behind (NCLB/ESEA).  The vote in the House takes place this TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24!

We've all hated NCLB for more than a decade, so anything would be better than that, right?  WRONG! 

Please contact your Member of Congress ASAP and let them know they need to VOTE NO on HR 5!  (Many will think that anything is better than NCLB, and at 600 pages, what are the odds that they have read it?  Plus the summary sounds so 'fluffy and good'. )

Here are some snippets that every single American, regardless of ideology, should oppose. 

1.) Sec. 6561: States can waive their rights (and the rights of parents) over certain aspects of education that would violate HR5, the "Student Success Act" (SSA), by approving a budget that includes these Federal Funds.

The language in this bill is so disingenuous, it makes me sad to realize that our elected representatives (or their staff) put this together.  It starts out sounding so nice--reducing federal overreach.

No officer, employee, or other authority of the Secretary shall enforce against an authority of a State, nor shall any authority of a State have any obligation to obey, any requirement imposed as a condition of receiving assistance under a grant program established under this Act, nor shall such program operate within a State, ...
Doesn't that sound nice?  We're restraining the power of the Federal government in education....UNLESS....

unless the legislature of that State shall have by law expressly approved that program and, in doing so, have waived the State's rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance. [emphasis mine]
So, really, the state has all its rights in tact, UNLESS it decides to waive them. But, a State really shouldn't be waiving any rights to Congress.  Please see the Tenth Amendment and get back to me on this one.  (Cliff Notes: Education is NOT a power given to Congress, and so it is EXCLUSIVELY the RIGHT of the states and the people.)

And HOW does the State waive these rights? 

This approval may be accomplished by a vote to affirm a State budget that includes the use of such Federal funds...[emphasis mine] 

Translation: if the State Legislature approves a budget that includes Federal Funds granted under this Student Success Act (which will be things like Title 1 funds), then the State WAIVES its rights and authorities to do anything that goes against what the Secretary of Education requires.  (Opting out of SAGE testing? Nope.  The State just waived that right, and it wasn't theirs to grant to begin with.)

Flashback to 1776, "All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..."  unless the State Legislature waives them.  I have rights, but I will give them all up in exchange for federal money. 

There's a word for this: prostitution.   And before you think that too outrageous, let's consider what prostitution really means--To put to use one's talents or abilities [or rights?] in a base or unworthy way, usually for money.  We will give up our virtue (root word: latin virtus meaning strength), our capacity to act, on behalf of our children's education in exchange for money. 

2.) By waiving the rights of the state, the legislature also waives your rights as parents.

Again, nice sounding language about our rights as parents...except for those rights that your State Legislature waived for you in their budget proposals. 

It is the intent of Congress that other than the terms and conditions expressly approved by State law under the terms of this subpart, control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone of independent authority reserved to the States and individual Americans [emphasis mine] (Sec. 6564)

So, the Tenth Amendment and the Constitution apply to all rights and privileges except those that States waive to get this Federal education money.

Cue Mr. Jefferson again: "That to secure these rights [life, liberty, pursuit of happiness...and anything else left to the states or the people via the Tenth Amendment and Natural Law], governments are instituted among Men..." unless we waive those rights for more money.

One can buy anything in this world for money, I guess, including the right to direct the upbringing of your child's education, as long as the State gets paid enough for it. 

3.) Other disturbing things contained in this bill are:
  • State-appointed ombudsman to oversee PRIVATE (yes, private) schools because kids will receive Title 1 vouchers for private schools. (Sec. 1120)
  • Private schools must provide secular and neutral materials for students, e.g. "Such educational services or other benefits, including materials and equipment, shall be secular, neutral, and nonideological." (Because a private, religious school shouldn't be able to use religious ideology anymore, right? Right, because they are now required to accept federal monies!)
  • Educational (and other) services in private schools will be essentially equivalent to local public schools. "Educational services and other benefits for such private school children shall be equitable in comparison to services and other benefits for public school children participating under this subpart, and shall be provided in a timely manner. (So, why choose a private school anymore, if they will all be the same? 'Equitable', in what way? In their secular, neutral and non-ideological educational services? In their standards and curriculum?)
  • Essentially a requirement that all states adopt the Common Core standards, not by that name, of course.  In true form, it starts by bad-mouthing the coercion to adopt CCSS that occurred during Race to the Top.  And then it goes on to say the same thing: "The purpose of this title is to provide all children the opportunity to graduate high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce." (Sec. 1001)  Just watch and see: If you want to get to college, you have to pass by the 'college and career' gateway, i.e. Common Core or whatever the euphemism du jour is. 
  • The SSA will be effective 5 years from its adoption.  This will allow bureaucrats time to put off any legitimate concerns about what is currently going on--Common Core, testing, 100% proficiency requirements, tying teacher pay to test scores--with the statement that "we've fixed it already".  It also will allow them time to wait for any immediate opposition to die down, and when we're all boiled frogs, then they can implement whatever they want.  No one will be paying attention five years from now.
"That when any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [protecting the rights of the individuals], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it."

Contact your Members of Congress, your state legislators, and your State Board of Education.  Let them know that any federal law that includes the waiving of your rights as a parent or the state's rights as a 'sovereign state' needs to be vigorously opposed.  Let's not sell our virtue, our power, our strength to act and oversee the education of our children....

for money. 

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