New Federal Takeover of Education Lauded by the Unsuspecting and Perennially Hopeful

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Congress is working again. Both parties have gotten together to pass another bad bill that puts the wrong people in charge of education – again.

Education has been centralized and nationalized despite our Constitution and both parties are to blame.

“No Child Left Behind” has been a disaster and it’s been replaced with an act of congress. No one will be sorry to see it or “Race to the Top” go their merry obsolete way. “No Child Left Behind” was a federal takeover of education and so was “Race to the Top”.

We now have the “Every Student Succeeds Act” [ESSA]. It’s a federal takeover of education. It gives the states a little more power.

The states can dump the Standards but the Standards were never really the problem. The problem has always been the federal control the Standards helped facilitate.

We test way too much and the ineffective and overly-large federal government has taken over education, which is a constitutional obligation of states and local districts. There is a waiver process but it is unfair and undemocratic, giving some advantages and others none.

This is another 1,000 page bill that was finalized a mere two days before the US House vote. Who knows what is in it. What happened to the mandatory 60 day public posting of these crazy bills? They don’t even give Congress time to read them, not that they would.

States don’t have to use the Common Core standards any longer but most have been relieved of the worst effects of the standards. Choosing something other than the standards requires schools to work their way around a bureaucratic maze of 11 federal statutes. States aren’t going to do it. They will stay with the standards.

It’s just more of the same with a new name. It’s the federal government controlling education.

The testing largely remains in place.

In New York, there is a four-year moratorium on testing and the inane teacher evaluations based on the testing but that’s just meant to end the opt-out movement. They’ll start it up again in four years when the movement is dissipated.

It’s worse than that, however, the new law will push more of this government enforcement.

In her blog, Mercedes Schneider points out that ESSA largely keeps the high-stakes testing regime in place and poses a new threat to parents and communities that want to opt-out of the testing. According to Schneider “ESSA pushes for that 95-percent-test-taker-completion as a condition of Title I funding and leaves states at the mercy of the US secretary of education to not cut Title I funding in the face of parents choosing to refuse the tests.”

The government, politicians, lawyers, businessmen, need to get the hay out of education. They think they know what they don’t know.

How could anyone believe that a bipartisan bill of this size be much more than a bag of pork and pay-offs? Why pretend students are all suddenly going to succeed thanks to this nothing sandwich? How has any of this been a serious and honest discussion of the root causes of failure? Did they all figure out what students need to know?

The unions are happy because they think the teacher evaluations will go away – very naive.

The solution – which this law ignored – is to return control of schools to parents, teachers, and local communities as our Constitution intended. The direct, local control makes people far more accountable.

The big government in power is nothing but a poisonous mixture of compromises by special interests and political parties that agree on nothing.

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