U.S. Senate Passes Every Child Achieves Act...Common Core Embedded
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. | July 30, 2015 Education Views
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) was reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act 2001, all of which is unconstitutional. NCLB was to be reauthorized in 2007 but was not until now.
The House version, Student Success Act (SSA - HR 5), was passed on July 8th with 218 Republican votes and no Democrat votes. In spite of warnings and protests from parents, teachers, policy experts, and activists, on July 16th the U.S. Senate passed its own version, Every Child Achieves Act (ECCA - S.1177) which was obviously driven by colluding big government and big business. The public’s concerns were overall ignored.
GOP establishment Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) who co-authored the bill along with Patti Murray (D-WA), lost no time in marginalizing those who refused to vote for ECCA. In beating his chest about the supposed bipartisan consensus, he failed to mention that the 2001 NCLB vote was 91-8 as compared with the 2015 vote of 81-17. Not much over which to gloat there.
While three of the five presidential candidates -- Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Rand Paul (R-KY) – voted no, Lindsay Graham (R-SC) did not vote. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Democrat candidate, voted yes.
Only Senators Cruz, Paul, and Sanders issued statements following the U.S. Senate’s vote on S.1177. Cruz and Paul criticized the legislation for leaving the federal government in charge of education. Rubio and Graham were silent – why?
Cruz stated, “While this bill makes some improvements to the status quo, it ultimately falls short of empowering parents and local school districts. To that end, it is a missed opportunity for meaningful change.”
Paul stated, “I believe education is the great equalizer, but Washington’s intrusion in the classroom leaves most kids behind. This bill is not the solution, as it retains some of No Child Left Behind’s biggest flaws – a lack of adequate parental choice, a federal testing mandate, and continued support for Common Core.”
Here is a list of Senators who dared to vote against this disastrous legislation. Nays 17
In spite of the extremely dangerous federal intrusion into education, there are several positive items.
- Alexander (R-TN) SA2201 reinstated the ban that had been lifted by ECCA on attitudinal testing and publicly disclosing personally identifiable information on federally dictated statewide assessments. However, this does not close other doors in ECCA where federal regulation authorizes the federal government to collect personal information on children, including dispositions, emotions, and attitudes.
- Casey (D-PA) SA2242 - universal preschool program and home visitation program was struck down.
- Markey (D-MA) SA2176 - federal climate change education program failed 44-53.
- Heitkamp (D-ND) SA 2171 – amendment for huge expansion of mental health grants failed.
NOTE: Even so, ECCA does expand mental health programs and psychological profiling of children.
ECCA does nothing to return state and local control; instead, it sets up more federal spending for the near future. The role of the federal government in education is expanded in ECCA, moving the U.S. closer to nationalized education.
Alignment with Federal Standards
- Requires states to have College-and-Career-Ready Standards, a code name for Common core.
- Requires state standards to be aligned with federally approved workforce and early childhood standards.
- No enforcement mechanism to prohibit the feds from interfering with state standards.
- Early Learning Alignment and Improvement Grants (Sec. 5610) are left intact, expanding dangerous federal control over all public school students, including preschool.
- S.1177 requires Head Start programs and all state pre-K programs to fully align to the Head Start Child Outcome Framework, a set of national early childhood standards correlated to Common Core.
NOTE: See “Disastrous Effects of Preschool Programs”
- Cruz (R-TX) SA2180 - amendment to end federal testing mandates failed
- Lee (R-UT) SA2162 - amendment to allow written parental testing opt outs failed
- Tester (D-MT) SA2129 - amendment to reduce testing from annually to three times in grades 3-12 for English and math not allowed to floor.
- Paul (R-KY) SA2218 - amendment to allow parental testing opt out without its being counted against the 95% participation requirement not allowed to floor
- Continues federal annual high-stakes testing and “teach to the test.” States must have a 95% participation rate in the assessments or face penalties.
- Brown (D-OH) SA2100 - amendment for 21st century community school grants passed. Arne Duncan’s dream is now fulfilled with federal grants for longer school days and year round programs. Fosters reliance on government schools. Grants will include school-based mental health services and mental health data gathering.
In a nutshell, this is government surveillance of kids’ attitudes and mindsets. Make no mistake about it -- the federal government is taking over the role of parents and the church in rearing children.
- Blunt (R-MO) SA2195 – amendment to expand school-based mental health services passed. There is an alarming increase in the federal government’s role in promoting indoctrination and assessment of affective attitudes, beliefs, “mindsets,” “non-cognitive skills” and other non-academic traits. ECCA further expands the federal footprint in mental health screening in the schools.
More Federal Data Collection
- Coons (D-DE) / Rubio (R-FL) SA2243 - amendment to establish American Dream Accounts, a trial grant program for college savings, passed. In spite of a friendly sounding title, this is another federal spending program that requires extensive individual data collection to determine if students are “college ready.” This means compliance with Common Core.
S. 1177 will have to be reconciled with HR 5, which is better but still badly flawed. The final version will then be sent to President Obama for his signature. If he signs the bill, we can be certain that it allows for more government control of education and less for parental and local.
Click on Congress for all of the S.1177 amendments and Senate for specific roll call votes on the amendments and S.1177.
Copyright ©2015 Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. All rights reserved.