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!