You thought No Child Left Behind was bad… Just wait till the feds “fix” the problem they created in the first place. Here comes the 600 page HB 5, the Student Success Act. What a nightmare. The intro to the bill states:
“To support State and local accountability for public education, protect State and local authority, inform parents of the performance of their children’s schools, and for other purposes.”
After you read the information below, you’re going to need to immediately email and call your state representative and urge him/her to oppose this bill. Here are their contact pages (Utah reps only. Other states go here: https://www.congress.gov/contact-us).
Please do this Monday morning. They will most likely be voting on this in the next couple days.
Rob Bishop – http://robbishop.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm 202-225-0453
Chris Stewart – http://stewart.house.gov/contact/email-me 202-225-9730
Jason Chaffetz – https://chaffetz.house.gov/contact-me/email-me 202-225-7751
Mia Love – https://love.house.gov/contact/email 202-225-3011
The below information is pulled from Christel Swasey’s blog, though several other sources are available online. (Anita Hoge’s first exposing of this, Anita Hoge’s large summary on NewsWithViews, Wendy Hart’s blog)
Here are highlights with pages, sections and direct quotes:
1. FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF STATE AUTHORITIES AND RIGHTS
Subpart 4, Section 6561 (page 564 on the pdf) says:
“STATES TO RETAIN RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES THEY DO NOT EXPRESSLY WAIVE” –How will a state “expressly waive” its authorities and rights? –Answer from the bill: simply by having a state legislature accept federal money.
A state that acts “inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance” will waive its authority because the legislature of that state would have “expressly approved that [federal] program”. If a state’s or a parent’s rights conflicted with a requirement, too bad: the federal bill claims authority to enforce obedience from states because the states take the money.
Read: “…nor shall any authority of a State have any obligation to obey… unless the legislature…. approved that program and in so doing, have waived the state’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary...” So states have no obligation to obey unless they approved federally promoted programs (which the states have done in multiple ways).
As Ann Marie Banfield wrote: “What is going on here? The Secretary of Education can’t enforce any requirements under the program that would violate states’ rights UNLESS the state legislature gives its consent to participate in the ESEA, which encompasses around $25 Billion in aid to states. Essentially, participating in the program to receive funds requires states to waive their states’ rights and those of the parent over their child if they conflict with ANY requirements of the program.”
2. FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF PARENTAL RIGHTS
On page 567, Section 6564, we read that “…Other than the terms and conditions expressly approved by State law under the terms of this subpart, control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone of independent authority reserved to the states and individual Americans by the United States Constitution, other than the Federal Government’s undiminishable obligation to enforce minimum Federal standards of equal protection and due process.”
By tying inalienable parental rights to the receipt of funds and federal “obligations,” the bill just claimed authority to take parental rights away, under conditions it has just defined.
Even in the statement of purpose on page 11, the bill minimizes parents and maximizes itself, by “affording parents substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children”.
To reduce parents to a recipient of government-granted “opportunities to participate in” the education of a child is de-parenting. It’s far, far different from Utah’s legal code, which states in multiple places that: “A student’s parent or guardian is the primary person responsible for the education of the student, and the state is in a secondary and supportive role to the parent or guardian.”
3. GOVERNMENT CONTROL IN PRIVATE AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS – NEUTRALIZATION OF RELIGION
Read pages 78-82. It mandates that private schools: “ensure that teachers and families of the children participate, on an equitable basis, in services and activities… SECULAR, NEUTRAL, NONIDEOLOGICAL.— Such educational services or other benefits, including materials and equipment, shall be secular, neutral and nonideological.”
What’s a private Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Baptist, or any other private religious school to do? –Alter its beliefs to match mandates for altered materials, equipment and services?
This is the price we pay for “school choice” and “backpack funding,” folks. It’s not what they make it out to be. Where federal money goes, federal chokeholds follow.
The federal government has no right to mandate that private schools must give services that are secular and non-religious. (See page 79: it includes in its definition of services: one on one counseling, mentoring, educational television, computer technology and more).
4. GOVERNMENT APPOINTED MONITORS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS
An ombudsman, if you haven’t heard the term, is a paid position, a role in which a person investigates and mediates official complaints for a living. This bill mandates that private schools will be assigned a state-appointed ombudsman to monitor private schools: “The State educational agency involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements.”
On page 82 the bill states that the LEA (school district) must consult with private school officials and must transmit results of their “agreement” to a state-appointed ombudsman. On page 86 the federal bill allows a private school to complain to the government: “private school official shall have the right to file a complaint with the State educational agency that the local educational agency did not engage in consultation that was meaningful and timely”. These are private schools. They never, ever have had any legal mandate to report to, complain to, speak to, or even think about state or federal governments. These are private schools; private means not public, not under government mandates.
5. FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF PRIVATE SCHOOL FUNDING AND BENEFITS
On page 535, the bill slashes freedom by mandating equity for private and public schools. “Benefits provided under this section for private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel shall be equitable in comparison to services and other benefits for public school children, teachers, and other educational personnel”. The government has no right to command a private school to give more benefits, nor to withhold benefits, from private school teachers, staff or children. The same page states: “Expenditures for educational services and other benefits to eligible private school children, teachers, and other service personnel shall be equal to the expenditures for participating public school children.” The ombudsman’s job, according to page 80, is to “monitor and enforce” such “equity for private school children”.