ESSA Invades Your Home

Writing this week in the Deseret News, Senator Orrin Hatch and State Superintendent Brad Smith wrote:

No Child Left Behind was a setback for Utah. It subjected our children to excessive testing, stripped our schools of critical decision-making authority and ceded too much power to the federal government. After 13 years of frustration and disappointment, Utah families have rightly been clamoring to leave this law behind.

That’s why we supported the opportunity to scrap No Child Left Behind and give Utahns a fresh start. This week, Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a massive education overhaul that the conservative Wall Street Journal called “the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.”

This is prime evidence of people who:

  1.  Do not read bills before commenting and just rely on others to tell them what a source document says and means.
  2.  Evidence that people read something and attribute good intentions to the federal government and hope for the best.
  3.  Actually just like the feds involved in our lives more and more.

I cannot believe that these two individuals from Utah would actually be in favor of the feds now invading the home as this bill is about to set in motion (see below), so I have to assume that they are part of category 1 or 2 above. Thankfully, 5 of our 6 members of Utah’s delegation actually READ the bill and voted against this abomination. What abomination am I talking about specifically?

Alpine School District board member Wendy Hart posted this article to her blog. I’m reposting with permission.



Jan 4, 2016: Deadline to Support the Family vs US Dept of Ed

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable vacation.  My family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and we are looking forward to 2016.  I apologize for interrupting what should be family time, but I felt this information was extremely important.

As many of you know, the replacement law for No Child Left Behind, called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), was passed in December.  As part of that law, the states must come up with a plan for education that includes a ‘Family Engagement Plan.’  Also, the US Dept of Education (USED) is supposed to come up with their own Family Engagement Plan that states MAY adopt, if they don’t want to do their own homework.  The USED has placed their plan on their website and is inviting comments until JANUARY 4th.  (It’s almost as if they didn’t want public comments, since they put this out over Christmas break, but I digress.)  Here is the link for comments:

I would especially encourage you to read pages 13 -14.

Utah State Law says that parents are primarily responsible for the education of their children and that the state’s role is to be secondary and SUPPORTIVE to the parents’ role.  The Family Engagement piece is anything but supportive to the parents’ role.  It does have a lot of nice-sounding stuff to blur the lines of you being allowed to ‘partner’ with the Feds/State as they raise your children.

I could go on with my own diatribe, but I found this from left-leaning education blogger Peter Greene that accurately assesses what a lot of the problems are with this ‘plan’.  I appreciate the fact that this plan is so appalling to average, normal people that it is not a left/right issue, it is a parents vs bureaucrats issue.

Please take a few minutes to weigh in.  Once this train is on the track, we will be told it’s too late.

Here are some samples:

Implement a vision for family engagement that begins prenatally and continues across settings and throughout a child’s developmental and educational experiences.

Develop and integrate family engagement indicators into existing data systems 

Local schools and programs should track progress on family engagement goals, as detailed in family engagement plans.

Just remember this when we adopt something egregious as part of our state plan.  The mantra that things like this can’t happen in Utah hasn’t been applicable for far too many years.

And a public thank you to Reps Chaffetz, Love, Bishop, and Stewart, as well as Sen. Mike Lee for voting against ESSA and it’s horrid intrusion into the autonomy of the family!

Happy New Year and thank you for all your support and involvement!

Are you KIDDING ME? Parents, please demand your legislators nullify this bill, this session. ESSA and NCLB have no place in Utah schools or homes.  Contact them now at

18 thoughts on “ESSA Invades Your Home”

  1. As a parent and citizen of the US I am deeply conerned over this bill. It is designed to take away more power and freedoms from parents and is truly against the heart of our beloved constitution. Anyone, regardless of home schooled children or not, and everyone should be voting against this bill. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I live in Louisiana but I know that if this passes in Utah irt is going to catch on and go to other states. People stand up for your rights.

    1. I read through this, it seemed to me to say, “teachers, you should care, very deeply, about the insights and wisdom parents have about their own children, and seek out that advice.” That’s how it read to me. It is counsel given to teachers for children enrolled in pubic school, and it comes by way of suggestion and allows that it may not be possible sometimes for a teacher to visit a family. I have really wanted this, myself, a teacher taking the time to come see us at home. I feel very assembly line at parent teacher conference – not always – but there can be that element. I once got a teacher that I really wanted for one of mine, by expressing that I felt he was trying to accomplish in his classroom what we are trying to accomplish at home, and that made him a really good fit for us. That appealed to an administrator. I can see that depending on personalities, sometimes this would feel invasive, you may have a teacher that is overbearing, but right now I’d appreciate the time a teacher took to come to my home. I have been really impressed with the degree to which Bryn, Sophie and Seth’s teachers have listened to me. I went into one conference ready to be told all about my child, and I went in defensive, and there was in fact one individual in the room who really was not listening to me but two were keenly attentive and who followed my suggestions, and they were the ones that were making decisions. You have some great relationships, I imagine, with some members of the homeschooling community, and the network and support there is probably really helpful. I think this new element encourages a more supportive structure for children, it seems to me that this plan acknowledges that a child is part of a family, first and foremost, and no one is more invested than a parent. And I can opt out of, if I wish, and communicate in ways that work better for me. If I am trusting someone with my own for the better part of the day, I would trust them in my home. It is asking a lot of a teacher, whose time is already really consumed, so I hope that part of this plan is better pay, too.

      1. No one is against a more supportive structure for families and children. We all should be very carful though, that We do not give others theright to tell us how we should be “supported”, and tell us that we must “communicate” [report,be accountable] to them for “progress” of our children to make sure it meets up with their standards. We must be able to choose what our children need, and this bill will take that right away and give it to the state. Sure, we will be able to “choose” what option of education, but they will set the options and the parameters we will be able to “choose” from. Then we will be held accountable to them to accomplish it.

      2. You’re asking the fox to raid the hen house! Do you honestly think that once they have big brother’s “encouragement” to go into the students’ home that they’ll wait to be invited or tolerate being refused admittance? Check out your history -especially the history of the USSR!

  2. As a teacher, I am wondering when I will be making home visits? After school perhaps? Will I be paid for this time or is it on “my own dime” like school supplies are?

  3. Um… Hate to tell you but years ago Obama began “encouraging” states to get involved in the education of birth-age 3. It’s been on the TN government website for years. People think I’m crazy when I say it until they read it. Isn’t that how dictators work?

    1. Yes, and we’ve been warning people about this for a long time, but now it’s about to become an actionable policy.

  4. Not a good idea and like said above I would fairly ask are the teachers going to have to pay for it and the families if they don’t want visited at home does that mean they will report them and cause hell grief and worry? I agree parents and teachers need open lines of communication but it should not be forced and homeschool families should not have teachers visiting unless they request it.

  5. I read the draft and feel it is a very frightening intrusion on the free agency of parent’s ability to choose their children’s education , and it will directly affect every other aspect of our lives and that of our children. It’s worded so nicely, one would hardly even notice every paragraph’s goal is to make parents do things how, when, how often, and to what extent “policy and staff” set as acceptable . It will make us, as parents, obligated entirely to the schools, service agents, and policies for everything we do, or choose no to do, with our own children. I AM THE PARENT AND GOD GIVEN GUARDIAN OF MY CHILDREN. THERE IS NO “PARTNERSHIP” in the government dictating how we parents will have “family engagement ” in our children’s education. Another disturbing prerogative they will implement is “rewards and insensitives ” for parents and children who do “family engagement ” satisfactory; and staff, schools, social services, and “education professionals” will “strongly encourage ” [pressure, force?] to “help” families “reach” the desired “goals”. I cannot, in any way, agree with or submit myself and children to this bill. Strong words? Yes! For my children’s sake, and for my sacred right to teach, train, guide, restrain, and nurture my children HOW, WHEN, WHERE, AND WITH WHOM I CHOOSE.

  6. The concern is real. However the call to call their state legislative Rep and Senator to nullify the law is short sighted.

    They should call their state and district school board member who is tasked with executing the law re education and under Utah Art X sec 3 have the general control and supervision of public education in Utah.

    The should call their US Rep and Senator.

    Nulifucation, while taught by founders prior to the civil war and the 13th and 14th amendment has shown limited success. Utah tried to do that with the ACA ObamaCare and we lost at the SCOTUS.

    1. Fred, who is authorized to nullify a federal law? Not the state or district school boards. Only the legislature. General control doesn’t mean the ability to make law or overturn inappropriate law. It means general governance over the law. I don’t think nullification has to result in a lawsuit. It also shouldn’t stop principled people from upholding their oath of office to defend the constitution and our rights. :)

  7. Where in the draft does it say that parents can’t opt their kids out of state assessments anymore and therefore overriding Utah law?

  8. Utah is a very unique state and should stay this way!!! It is great because there are so many parents that do care about their children and the last thing we need is a Dictatorship in our education for our children. These politicians are worthless and everyone of them needs to go… They should be very worried for they are being out numbered by parents…..

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