|The U. S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote December 2 on the Conference Committee Report to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is known as the No Child Left Behind Act, for another 7 years. According to Education Liberty Watch, the bill entails:
- Sham protection of states from federal interference in standards
- Continued federally mandated tests that psychologically profile our children instead of testing them on academic knowledge
- New and increased federal interference in preschool in the K-12 bill in spite of lots of evidence about the ineffectiveness and harm
- “Parent replacement centers” in the almost year round 21st Century Schools program supported by both Arne Duncan and Lamar Alexander
Please call your Congressman TODAY to urge a NO vote on the ESEA Conference Report. To find your Congressman and contact numbers, go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/, or call the House Switchboard at (202)225-3121.
See below additional reasons that this bill must be stopped NOW from the letter that Eagle Forum sent to each Alabama House member.
We urge you to vote no on the Conference Report on the ESEA for the following reasons:
1. The process precludes informed evaluation of the lengthy document. One week over Thanksgiving holiday is not adequate! We do know that the opt-out amendment that had passed the House has been removed.
2. We cannot trust this President or his administration. Despite existing prohibitions on the federal department’s power, Secretary Duncan effectively coerced states into adopting Common Core. His department continues to churn out extralegal directions to states for his liberal, social agenda. See the linked study showing How the Federal Government Controls Education in Alabama already. http://alabamaeagle.org/2015/04/20/4203 Why would the Republican led Congress negotiate a deal that this President would sign knowing his track record?
3. The price for a signed bill is too high:
a. There is no meaningful measure to dis-incentivize Common Core, the teaching of which is harming our children, as evidenced by the NAEP scores that show Alabama has dropped from about 26th among the states before common core to dead last as of 2015 – reversing a trend of improvement. See http://alabamaeagle.org/2015/11/25/alabama-drops-to-dead-last-reversing-upward-trend.
b. This ESEA will rely on never independently validated, high-staked standardized tests that are psychologically profiling our children more than assessing their academic knowledge or helping inform instruction. Education Week reports 11/23/2015, the new ESEA “may use non-cognitive traits in accountability” and asks “Is this a Good Idea?” Of course not! Parents do not want states measuring their children’s “social and emotional skills” in their accountability models and placing this information into their permanent records!!
c. An ever stronger role for the federal government with increased funds for PreK even though a 2012 Head Start study shows conclusively that any gain is gone by the third grade.
d. State longitudinal data systems and a massive increase in state and federal gathering of private family, education, and psychological data on our children without consent
e. Career-tracking, which undermines self-determination by means of an insistence on student compliance with the very flawed standards and subjective, unconstitutional psychological profiling
f. Again, according to Education Week, the opt-out amendment that passed the House has been removed. There is only lip service to states’ rights and parental control, but centralized control, that has increasingly killed academic achievement while indoctrinating instead of educating, continues virtually unabated.
4. Too little has changed from No Child Left Behind in the two bills that are being combined in conference. States still have to submit their plans to the Secretary of Education, who can reject them after a peer-review process. The federal government would still impose its testing mandate. Instead, states should be encouraged to do what Massachusetts is again doing and determine their own accountability measures. Bit.ly/stop-esea-letter
5. PARENTS DESERVE MORE CONTROL OVER THEIR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION THAN EITHER BILL PROVIDES. Putting this ESEA to rest will go a long way toward parents’ confidence in this Congress and will leave the door open for restoring education to the states and to the people, where it belongs and can thrive, under a new President.
Please see the following commentaries:
http://dailysignal.com/2015/11/20/not-much-for-conservatives-to-love-in-the-no-child-left-behind-rewrite/ (Heritage Foundation)
Best personal regards,
Eunie Smith, President
Eagle Forum of Alabama