Jumping off the Federal Education Train

Nobody wants to contemplate jumping off a moving train, but the federal government’s takeover of education is driving state and local control right off a cliff.  In several past articles on this site I’ve tried to detail the grab of power the federal government is making. This article (https://www.utahsrepublic.org/dropping-the-common-core-state-standards/) is perhaps the best summary article I can refer to which links to the components of this takeover involving standards, assessments, curriculum, database tracking, and changing of national laws on control of education.

In the past few days, I’ve received articles and insight from a few people that show the feds have become brazenly open in preparing to force states onto its plan.

From an article in the Orange County Register newspaper:

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/schools-318629-states-obama.html

President Barrack Obama on Friday announced that states can opt out of the much-maligned federal accountability system if they agree to implement reforms that include tying teacher and principal evaluations to student test scores, enacting standards to prepare students for college and careers, and adopting national common education standards.

“The federal government really did not cut us a break with this waiver plan. All these reforms will cost schools money they just don’t have,” county Superintendent William Habermehl said. “The better solution would have been for Obama just to give states unconditional relief from NCLB for two or three years while they figure out how to fix the law.”

California’s willingness to even apply for the waivers also remains unclear. State Superintendent Tom Torlakson has already expressed concern over the ability of the cash-strapped state to enact such sweeping reforms.

In other words, if you don’t want to deal with No Child Left Behind Annual Yearly Progress issues, just agree to sign onto the national plan to prepare our children for college and careers which includes CCSS, assessments, and tying school teacher and principal evaluations to those assessments.

The national database will naturally have to be part of this package to track teacher performance and it appears from this article in the NY Post that it was funded in the 2009 stimulus bill.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/how_the_feds_are_tracking_your_kid_xC6wecT8ZidCAzfqegB6hL#ixzz1htUXiCRd

Under regulations the Obama Department of Education released this month, these scenarios could become reality. The department has taken a giant step toward creating a de facto national student database that will track students by their personal information from preschool through career. Although current federal law prohibits this, the department decided to ignore Congress and, in effect, rewrite the law. Student privacy and parental authority will suffer.

How did it happen? Buried within the enormous 2009 stimulus bill were provisions encouraging states to develop data systems for collecting copious information on public-school kids. To qualify for stimulus money, states had to agree to build such systems according to federally dictated standards. So all 50 states either now maintain or are capable of maintaining extensive databases on public-school students.

The administration wants this data to include much more than name, address and test scores. According to the National Data Collection Model, the government should collect information on health-care history, family income and family voting status. In its view, public schools offer a golden opportunity to mine reams of data from a captive audience.

The feds are putting states on the ropes. If you want federal funding, you either comply with AYP and impossible growth targets, or they’ll grant you a waiver for NCLB if you adopt the Common Core package which includes everything including assessments and database tracking of our children.

There is only one solution I see. Utah needs to save about 10% of its education spending and get off the federal train. Without pretty drastic action, we’re going to have state and local educators whose sole function is an administrative check to make sure everyone is complying with federal mandates on curriculum, standards, assessments, and database reporting. Don’t worry, Washington D.C. is full of people who are confident in their ability to tell you what your child needs in the way of education.

Here’s a great little analogy on the benefits of local control.

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