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Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world.”-Vladimir Lenin

 

Spendthrift Congress Expands Federal Control of Education With Omnibus Bill

By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. March 24, 2018

So much for fiscal responsibility, preserving privacy, promoting federal programs that actually work, and decreasing the federal footprint in education. Congress has passed a $1.3 TRILLION spending bill that will fund the government for ONLY SIX MONTHS. The House passed it by a vote of 256-197 and the Senate by a vote of 65-32.

 

Rather than holding the line for fiscal responsibility and reducing federal outlays, Republicans caved to Democrat priorities. Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) warned that this bill “will usher in financial catastrophe via increased interest rates on the federal government’s debt.”

The damage to the nation’s fiscal health is well noted at Townhall and Breitbart. As for reducing the federal footprint in education, once again Congress has exploded that myth just as they did when Republicans joined Democrats to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). With this Omnibus spending bill, Congress has just grown the U.S. Department of Education by $2.6 billion.

Data Privacy

Previous Haynes Reports warned about cradle to grave citizen tracking bills – Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174 - S. 2046)  and College Transparency Act of 2017.

The public has continued to push back against Congressional march to pass laws that shred our Fourth Amendment rights. Yet in the Omnibus bill, Congress has subversively included funding for more government collection of our private information that is being used to monitor the citizens.

President Trump suggested a decrease in the funding for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the data mining arm of the U.S. Department of Education, and eliminating altogether the funding for the State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLD) from the 2002 Education Sciences Reform Act.

Instead Congress increased the IES budget by $8 million and added a proviso for SLDS.

Provided, That funds available to carry out section 208 of the Educational Technical Assistance Act may be used to link Statewide [sic] elementary and secondary data systems with early childhood, postsecondary, and workforce data systems, or to further develop such systems.”

The SLDS – a de facto national database – should be entirely eliminated because they serve as the repository for data collected through Common Core testing, computerized competency-based education programs, and corporate education applications.

Pre-School Programs

The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, passed by the House and awaiting Senate passage, is supposed to determine the effectiveness of federal programs. Yet Congress has increased funding by $610 million for the Head Start program, ignoring the mountains of evidence about the ineffectiveness of the program and even harm caused by it.

Congress also funded $250 million for the left wing Preschool Development Grants.

After School Programs

The Trump budget recommended eliminating the left wing Clinton era 21st Century Community Learning Centers program that relegate the role of parents and church to the back burner. Instead Congress increased funding by $20 million.

Mental Health

The Trump budget requested the decrease or elimination of funding for Title IV in ESSA. Instead Congress increased funding from $400 million to $1.1 billion. Title IV increased school-based mental health screening and cast teachers as untrained therapists.

This is not going to stop school shootings. The problem is far more complex and cannot be changed by mental health programs in schools. Indeed much blame must be placed on the public school culture and curriculum for student violence and hatred.

Competency Based Learning

The Title IV program also provides funds for computer-based training that uses algorithms to constantly assess children through psychological profiling and predictive testing. Schools are using that data to dictate the student’s future, regardless of parental guidance or student desires. This is the education policy followed by Germany and Soviet Union.

Federal School Choice

Congress rejected funding for federal school choice for private and home schools.

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