U. S. House To Stop Federal Takeover of Public Schools

Jan 18, 2012 by

by Donna Garner –

I can hardly contain my excitement! Finally Congress has listened to us grassroots citizens who have been agonizing for more than two years about the Obama administration’s takeover of the public schools through Common Core Standards and Race to the Top.

On 12.28.11, I wrote an article entitled “ Feds To Be Able To Track Your School Children’s Personal Information” ( http://educationviews.org/2011/12/28/feds-to-be-able-to-track-your-school-childrens-personal-information/ ) in which I stated:

The Obama administration’s federal takeover of the public schools is finally beginning to resonate across this country. The New York Post article dated 12.27.11 and entitled “How the Feds Are Tracking Your Kid” (posted at the bottom of this page) should make every parent in America furious.  “As of Jan. 3, 2012, interstate and intergovernmental access to your child’s personal information will be practically unlimited. The federal government will have a de facto nationwide database of supposedly confidential student information.

The national database is a part of the Common Core Standards (and Race to the Top).  The Common Core Standards initiative includes national standards, national assessments, national curriculum, teachers’ salaries tied to students’ test scores, teachers teaching to the test each and every day, national indoctrination of public school children, and a national database of intrusive information on all public school students and teachers.   

Today, 1.17.12, the House Education and Workforce Committee, chaired by U. S. Congressman John Kline, announced their intent to pass two new draft proposals that will streamline federal bureaucracy and reduce the federal footprint in K-12 education.

These two pieces of legislation are called “The Student Success Act” and the “Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act.” (To read these two draft proposals and the five-part document, please click on the links further on down this page.)

To learn more about the Obama administration’s takeover of the public schools, please read “Let’s Get Off the National Standards Train” published on 2.24.11 by Henry W. Burke and Donna Garner —  http://alicelinahan.net/2011/05/11/lets-get-off-the-national-standards-train-2/

E-mailed today, 1.17.12, by Congressman John Kline, Chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee:


Part 4: Ten Years Later, A Better Way Forward for K-12 Schools
Ending the Education Secretary’s Overreach


Late last year, the U.S. Secretary of Education took unprecedented action and announced a plan that would allow the administration to unilaterally dictate federal education policy without Congressional input.

Secretary Arne Duncan’s plan to grant waivers for certain requirements under No Child Left Behind in exchange for states adopting the administration’s preferred education agenda has been called “the most sweeping use of executive authority to rewrite federal education law since Washington expanded its involvement in education in the 1960s” by the New York Times.

In the Washington Post, George Will likened the plan to “coercive federalism”:

George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation was the eighth reauthorization of the [Elementary and Secondary Education Act]. It is due for a ninth, but the Obama administration considers the Republican-controlled House of Representatives icky and the separation of powers tiresome, so it is dispensing with legislation in favor of coercion — what has been called “coercive federalism.”

Already, this conditional waivers plan has generated great uncertainty for state and local education officials. States that opt in to the plan will be forced to dedicate time and limited resources to implement a host of new federal regulations. However, the requirements could be easily changed by Congress, Secretary Duncan, or the next administration, potentially rendering a state’s investment in changing its education system meaningless.

Montana’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau told Education Week the secretary’s waiver proposal fails to fix “the biggest broken pieces of No Child Left Behind,” adding, “Taking on additional requirements to get a waiver that isn’t really a waiver doesn’t seem smart.”

Making matters worse, the secretary’s waiver plan – similar to his ill-fated Race to the Top program – pressures states to adopt common academic standards and tests in reading and math, creating de facto national standards and national tests. This one-size-fits-all approach usurps the power of local superintendents, school boards, and parents who know more about what kids need to learn than bureaucrats in Washington.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) has said the secretary’s actions are “a temporary band-aid on a problem that must be resolved through legislation – not executive fiat.”

House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans are determined to fix current education law the right way – with smart legislative policies that will have a lasting impact. Toward that effort, Republicans recently released two pieces of draft legislation to overhaul No Child Left Behind. In addition to provisions that support state-developed accountability systems and a smaller federal footprint in education, the legislation includes four provisions that rein in the authority of the Secretary of Education and preserve state and local control. The legislation:

  1. 1.     Prohibits the secretary from imposing conditions on states and school districts in exchange for a waiver of federal K-12 education law; this includes any condition affecting academic standards and assessments, accountability systems, or teacher and principal evaluations;
  2. 2.     Prohibits the secretary from demanding changes to state standards or influencing and coercing states into entering partnerships with other states;
  3. 3.     Removes the secretary’s authority to add new, open-ended requirements to federal programs, preventing the secretary from burdening states and districts through the regulatory process; and
  4. 4.     Sets specific procedures the secretary must follow when issuing federal regulations and conducting peer review processes for grant applications, including publicly releasing the identity of peer reviewers, thereby ensuring greater transparency.

We cannot allow the Obama administration to implement a backdoor education agenda. It’s time to advance real change in our nation’s education system. The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act provide states and school districts with a clear path forward that will help get more effective teachers in the classroom, enhance accountability, and raise the bar on student achievement.

Last week, House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans put out a series of documents outlining how the new proposals benefit children and families, protect schools from overly prescriptive federal mandates, and encourage innovation in the classroom. To see these documents in the series, click here:

Part 1: New Republican Proposals Advance Education Reform — http://edworkforce.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=274227

Part 2: Returning Responsibility for Student Achievement to State and Local Leaders — http://edworkforce.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=274311

Part 3: Supporting Effective Teachers in Every Classroom — http://edworkforce.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=274637

Part 4: Ending the Education Secretary’s Overreach — http://edworkforce.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=274738

Part 5: Reviewing the Facts — http://edworkforce.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=274871

To read the two draft proposals, please go to:

Student Success Act:  http://edworkforce.house.gov/UploadedFiles/The_Student_Success_Act.pdf

Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Acthttp://edworkforce.house.gov/UploadedFiles/The_Encouraging_Innovation_and_Effective_Teachers_Act.pdf

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