Feb 28, 2019 by

2.28.19 – “Federalizing School Choice Could Be Trump’s Common Core” – by Inez Feltscher Stepman – The Federalist

[COMMENTS FROM DONNA GARNER: This is a very good article up to a point; but I wish the author had stressed the all-important issues of discipline and curriculum more

I agree that parents should have the right to decide what kind of educational environment in which to place their children. However, if everything is Type #2/Common Core with its indoctrination of children’s minds into the social justice agenda (e.g., LGBTQ, gender identity, sexual diversity, anti-American exceptionalism, White privilege, Black bondage, victimization, redistribution of wealth, political correctness, global warming/climate change fanaticism, anti-capitalism/pro-socialism, process more important than the right answer, emphasis on relativism/emotions/feelings/opinions, etc.), then parents actually have no choice at all. 

It is the 24/7 Common Core dogma pounding on students in their public schools/charter schools/private schools/homeschools through David Coleman’s Type #2 College Board products (SAT, Pre-SAT, Advanced Placement) that should be the most pressing concern of every parent in America.

There are two things in any school setting that count the most:  (1) consistent discipline and (2) quality Type #1 curriculum.  

FACT:  If any school takes a penny of public dollars, then that school is bound by the strings attached. This means that any school that takes public dollars is tied to all of the federal regulations such as those surrounding Special Education and disabilities, Section 504, equity and discrimination, student rights and discipline, health and nutrition, religion, technology, and many more.  

I believe the Trump administration is well-meaning in trying to guarantee school choice; but knowing the type of people who are now in control of our U. S. House, I do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that before any federal choice tax credit plan would be allowed to pass, many federal strings would be attached at the last minute.  

Also, we must keep in mind that Obama and his administration were vastly successful in inundating our country with Type #2/Common Core without one single vote ever being taken in Congress. It is those devious strategies that take place behind the scenes that we must battle against, and I believe we have a better chance of countering those if school choice issues are handled as far away from D. C. as possible.

The best answer for our entire nation is to move all of our various teaching environments into Type #1 curriculum so that students gain those skills which will make them independent thinkers, basing their logical conclusions on facts and upon strong foundational knowledge.

It is the curriculum in each and every classroom setting that must emphasize: phonics; classical literature; cursive handwriting; grammar; usage; correct spelling; expository, persuasive, research writing; “Drill and Skill,” four math functions learned to automaticity; scientific method; our American heritage, national sovereignty, Founding documents, etc.  

11.4.13 — Type #1 vs. Type #2 Chart —

I well remember when a certain President was criticized with this phrase: “It is the economy, stupid.”  In discussions on education issues, we must use this phrase: “It is discipline and the curriculum, stupid.”]


2.28.19 – The Federalist

“Federalizing School Choice Could Be Trump’s Common Core”

By Inez Feltscher Stepman

Excerpts from this article:

In coordination with a bill to be sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has announced the administration’s support for a federal school choice tax credit, touting it as proof of President Trump’s commitment to opportunities for students.

While school choice is critical and often undervalued, a federal school choice program reaches beyond the constitutional mandate of the federal government, and presents a real danger to private education in the future. If it passes, this latest example of federal overreach could be the Trump administration’s equivalent to the Common Core debacle, and worse, could taint one of the most important reforms advanced by conservatives in the states.

The word “education” appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution, but federal involvement with teaching and learning began in earnest in the 1960s, with President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Seventy years later, poverty has not been vanquished and math and reading scores are largely flat, but the federal Department of Education does spend$80 billion a year and pays an average six-figure salary to its staff.

In the meantime, the department’s power has been wielded to encourage and enforce bipartisan, but unpopular, top-down education reform fads like No Child Left Behind and Common Core. If Thursday’s announcement is any indication, the Trump administration now wants to take a successful, conservative idea—school choice—and make it susceptible to getting strangled in federal red tape.

Education Freedom Is Key

U.S. education absolutely deserves attention from conservative reformers. Our public schools have failed to produce students competent in basic reading, mathematics, and civic knowledge. Instead, thanks to schools of education that churn out teachers steeped in left-wing ideology and textbooks that unfairly focus on America’s worst moments to the detriment of her triumphs, half of my generation chooses socialismover capitalism and a third think George W. Bush murdered more people than Joseph Stalin did.

…Meanwhile, the progressive agenda in public schools suffers from no similar media backlash. Multiple-choice questions requiring students to demean the president raised barely a peep, and ongoing parent concern about trans policies in schools, including locker rooms and bathrooms, has been largely ignored

Handing the Left a New Weapon

It is exactly because school choice is so important that we should be loathe to expose it to the heavy hands of federal regulators. Even if Republicans get a perfectly clean version of the tax credit through Congress—a tall order given the composition of the House—the door would be open for future Democratic administrations to extend a regulatory toehold into every private school that accepted students on scholarship.

Is anyone naïve enough to believe that a Kamala Harris presidential administration would not apply civil rights statutes newly interpreted to encompass sexual orientation and trans identity—an idea already well underway during the Obama administration—to these education funds because the language of the bill doesn’t support that regulation? Pesky things like the explicit text of the laws and standing regulatory interpretation didn’t stop Obama from creating legally untethered regulations DeVos has spent her entire tenure so far trying to talk back. It wouldn’t stop an Obama-esque successor either.

It is exactly to avoid these kinds of national battles that the Founders rightfully left education in the hands of the states, closer to parents and citizens. The notion of constitutional authority might be quaint in Washington, but the wisdom of federalism endures despite the “sophisticated” opinions of the Swamp.

If President Trump wants to promote school choice—and he is absolutely to be commended for that impulse—he should harness his amazing media power to call for educational freedom in the states most receptive to his message…

President Trump’s instinct that school choice is critical to our future is dead on. Instead of pouring that energy into federal overreach with potentially dangerous unintended consequences, the president should use the bully pulpit to bolster the movement for education freedom where it has been most successful to date: in the states.

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