"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


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Jan 4, 2016: Deadline to Support the Family vs US Dept of Ed

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable vacation.  My family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and we are looking forward to 2016.  I apologize for interrupting what should be family time, but I felt this information was extremely important.

As many of you know, the replacement law for No Child Left Behind, called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), was passed in December.  As part of that law, the states must come up with a plan for education that includes a 'Family Engagement Plan.'  Also, the US Dept of Education (USED) is supposed to come up with their own Family Engagement Plan that states MAY adopt, if they don't want to do their own homework.  The USED has placed their plan on their website and is inviting comments until JANUARY 4th.  (It's almost as if they didn't want public comments, since they put this out over Christmas break, but I digress.)  Here is the link for comments: http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/earlylearning/families.html#family-engagement-draft-statement

I would especially encourage you to read pages 13 -14. 

Utah State Law says that parents are primarily responsible for the education of their children and that the state's role is to be secondary and SUPPORTIVE to the parents' role.  The Family Engagement piece is anything but supportive to the parents' role.  It does have a lot of nice-sounding stuff to blur the lines of you being allowed to 'partner' with the Feds/State as they raise your children.



I could go on with my own diatribe, but I found this from left-leaning education blogger Peter Greene that accurately assesses what a lot of the problems are with this 'plan'.  http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-federal-family-fixing-plan.html  I appreciate the fact that this plan is so appalling to average, normal people that it is not a left/right issue, it is a parents vs bureaucrats issue.

Please take a few minutes to weigh in.  Once this train is on the track, we will be told it's too late. 

Here are some samples:

Implement a vision for family engagement that begins prenatally and continues across settings and throughout a child’s developmental and educational experiences.

Develop and integrate family engagement indicators into existing data systems 

Local schools and programs should track progress on family engagement goals, as detailed in family engagement plans.

Just remember this when we adopt something egregious as part of our state plan.  The mantra that things like this can't happen in Utah hasn't been applicable for far too many years.

And a public thank you to Reps Chaffetz, Love, Bishop, and Stewart, as well as Sen. Mike Lee for voting against ESSA and it's horrid intrusion into the autonomy of the family!

Happy New Year and thank you for all your support and involvement!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

No Child Left Behind: More of the same, but probably worse

If you hate No Child Left Behind, or Common Core, or Federal Government Expansion, or too much testing, or teachers being held to teach to the test, or government passing bills so you can see what's in them, or...

Call CONGRESS RIGHT NOW, don't even stop  to finish this post, and ask them to VOTE NO on ESEA Reauthorization.  The vote takes place at noon EST or 10am MST.


  • Phone: 202-224-3121, general number: ask for whichever representatives you'd like
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz: (202) 225-7751, (801) 851-2500
  • Rep. Mia Love: (202) 225-3011, 801-996-8729
  • Rep. Rob Bishop: 202-225-0453, 801-625-0107, 435-734-2270
  • Rep. Chris Stewart: 202-225-9730, 801-364-5550, 435-627-1500
  • Sen. Mike Lee: 202-224-5444, 801-524-5933
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch: (202) 224-5251, (801) 375-7881

  • Moms and Dads, everyday Americans, are up against organizations that stand to benefit in some way from this legislation.  There is so much out there, but here are just a few things you should know.

    1. The House Education Committee has put out unsourced talking points as to why this bill is a Republican victory.  Here is the rebuttal.  My read of the legislation supports the rebuttal. http://www.flstopcccoalition.org/blog/rebuttal-us-house-ed-committee-talking-points-essa.htm

    2. The bill language was released on Monday, the vote is today.  It is 1000+ pages.  It is wrong to rush this through in short order.  None of our reps have been able to read and analyze this bill, let alone evaluate it. 

    3. Some of the best information, and also a lot of fun to read, is this analysis of the first handful of pages, detailing the methods to the bill's madness. https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/this-is-the-moment-congress-we-are-watching-you-vote-and-we-know-whats-in-this-bill/

    4.  Summary from some of the moms and dads I've been involved with over the past two days in reading this bill, top 12 problems (some have been discussed briefly, like the process)


    1. PROCESS VIOLATES TENENTS OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT – OF TRANSPARENCY IN THE BILL PROCESS AND DELIBERATIVE DEBATE.

    Process of forwarding conference report echoes the process of (Un) Affordable Care Act “You have to pass it to see what’s in it” – that is. Congress won’t be reading it.

    1. HEAVILY INCENTIVIZES STATES TO MAINTAIN COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS: As a requirement of the Act, states must “demonstrate” to the Secretary that they have adopted standards that are aligned to the same definition of “college and career” standards used to force states into adopting Common Core under NCLB waivers.
    2. ASSESSSMENT OF NON-COGNITIVE ATTITUDES, BEHAVIORS, and MINDSETS: Bill will maintain momentum for increasing non-academic data collection of student and family information into statewide longitudinal data systems.
    3. PARENT RIGHTS: The Salmon Amendment in HR5 that allowed parents to opt out of high-stakes state assessments is no longer included. Students whose parents opt them out of the test, must be included in the 95% participation formula.
    4. EROSION OF STATE POWER OVER EDUCATION: The state accountability system must be structured as per the federal bill.
    5. FEDERAL CONTROL OF STANDARDS CONTENT: Bill language appears to require standards that align with career and technical education standards, indicating that the standards must align to the federally approved Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
    6. NO CHECKS ON FEDERAL POWER, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS JUDGE AND JURY OF ITS OWN ACTIVITY – NO SUNSET OF LAW: The framework would only "authorize" ESEA for four more years, as opposed to the typical five, but, there’s no sunset provision in the bill, so it could go on in perpetuity.
    7. EXPANSION OF GOVERNMENT ROLE IN CHILDCARE/DISINCENTIVE TO ACTIVELY SEEK EMPLOYMENT: Bill is said to expand Head Start to childcare with Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014 so that no work requirements will be expected of low income parents to access grant money to pay for childcare.
    8. ADVANCES PROFITING BY PRIVATE CORPORATIONS USING EDUCATION DOLLARS THAT SHOULD GO TO CLASSROOMS: Increasing the education budget to fund private investors to implement government- selected social goals is outside the scope of improving education, and outside the authority of Congress as described in the U.S. Constitution.
    9. INCREASED ESEA SPENDING: ESSA authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 2017-2020. Spending authority will increase by 2% each year.
    10. EROSION OF LOCAL CONTROL: The conference report language encourages states to form consortia that, without congressional approval, may be determined illegal.
    11. DATA PRIVACY: Language in the conference report appears to rein in the Secretary of Education’s power and protect student data by inserting prohibitions of collecting additional student data, but makes no attempt to reverse the harm already done by Secretary Duncan’s modification of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
    I believe that this quote by C.S. Lewis accurately sums up my thoughts on this legislation.


    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will;”