Common Core: Education Department Tries to Rope Schools into It

Jul 19, 2016 by

The Education Department tries to defeat the purpose of a new law designed to roll back Washington’s role in states’ education policies.

Bureaucrats manipulate a new law that was designed to reduce federal involvement in education.
In December of last year, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which aimed to roll back much of the federal government’s role in education policy, but now the Department of Education has released a lengthy proposal that might impede that goal. School systems are set to begin the transition from the No Child Left Behind Act to ESSA, during the upcoming academic year and put the new program into full effect in 2017–18.

At the end of May, however, the Department of Education, tasked with overseeing the state-education plans developed under ESSA, issued a set of proposed regulations, parts of which assert federal control over state standards. In addition, some measures seem to have been designed to increase student participation in Common Core–aligned testing.

Furthermore, the regulations would establish a mandatory “summative rating system,” requiring each state to develop a comprehensive rating system based primarily on how students score on the federally mandated standardized tests. Each school would be given a grade or rating on a scale developed by the state, and the data informing the rating would have to be publicly available. Grounds for such a rating system cannot be found anywhere in the law, however, according to Senator Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), ESSA’s primary sponsor. In fact, the bill was specifically worded to prevent the Department of Education from imposing such regulations on states’ education plans.

For example, while ESSA requires that each state “assure” the Department of Education that it has some form of curriculum standard, the department’s new proposal requires that states “provide evidence” of such standards. Alexander pointed out at a recent Senate hearing that the “provide evidence” language in the proposed regulations could enable the Obama administration to reject a state’s standards on the pretext that it had no evidence, when in reality its aim would be to reject all guidelines that don’t conform to the preferred federal standards — namely, Common Core. Alexander noted that ESSA explicitly and repeatedly prohibits the department from interfering with state standards.



Source: Common Core: Education Department Tries to Rope Schools into It | National Review

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