New Law, Same Story: Fed Ed Tyranny Continues Under ESSA

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed Congress in 2015 despite the strong protests of more than 200 organizations and leaders after claims by leadership about the legislation: “Prohibiting the Secretary of Education from forcing, coercing, or incentivizing states into adopting Common Core” “Ending the era of federally mandated high-stakes tests” “Eliminating the federally mandated one-size-fits-all accountability system” All of these claims were false then and continue to show themselves false now. Even though ESSA prohibits the secretary of education from incentivizing or coercing Common Core, that is closing the barn door after the horse is already gone. There is

2018 Midterms Could Have Wide Impact on Education Issues

The 2018 midterm elections are (almost) now in the books. Here is a brief review of the education outcomes relating to Common Core, Congress and FedEd, school funding, and school choice: Common Core There is much new data and analysis coming out about falling ACT scores under Common Core, the twin dangers of Common Core and school choice, and Joy Pullman’s excellent piece on the overall failure of Common Core: Common Core sucked all the energy, money, and motivation right out of desperately needed potential reforms to U.S. public schools for a decade, and for nothing. As discussed in September,

Government Preschool Doesn’t Work — And Here’s the Proof

This article was originally posted at The American Spectator and co-authored by Dr. Karen Effrem, president of Education Liberty Watch. On the theory that more government programs can solve any public-education problem, bipartisan policymakers have embraced government-funded pre-K programs as the current fix. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act dangles multiple incentives, including new Preschool Development Grants, to coax states into taking more young children from their families and enrolling them in government preschool. Advocates claim the $7.6 billion spent on state pre-K programs will result in improved academic achievement and a multitude of societal benefits. But a new study from the center-left think tank Brookings douses these

Feds Preparing to Expand Influence over Nation’s Preschools

Last week, Politico’s Morning Education discussed how the Preschool Development Grants started under the Obama administration for four-year-olds were adding thousands of new early childhood slots around the nation. The report also mentioned, “States also used funding from the program to align roughly 25,000 preschool slots to federal early learning standards.” Politico based their reporting on a progress report from the U.S. Departments of Education (USED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) that is administering the old grants as they are about to be continued under the new program as codified in the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). States

Congress Keeps Adding to the Education Swamp with Budget Increases

Although not surprising in an election year, congressional appropriators — who are generally not known for their political courage — are not doing anything to drain the putrid, unconstitutional swamp that is the U.S. Department of Education and its related programs. Both the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees have completed their Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 that will begin October 1st. As we described a few months ago, the omnibus budget bill for FY 2018 exploded deficits and significantly enlarged the federal education footprint. Although there are some places where there are no new increases, the

It’s Time for Congress to End These Federal Intrusions into Preschool

Last Thursday’s edition of Politico’s Morning Education had a short blurb on the status of the preschool development grants, yet another ill-considered federal preschool program imposed by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Here is part of what was written: WHAT’S UP WITH PRESCHOOL DEVELOPMENT GRANTS? Like many other programs waiting on Congress’ fiscal 2018 budget, the Preschool Development Grant program created by the Every Student Succeeds Act has yet to hit the stage. The grant program, modeled after an Obama-era initiative by the same name, authorizes funding for state-level preschool efforts for 3- and 4-year-olds to the tune of $250

Parents Win a Victory over SEL Educrats, But the War Isn’t Finished Yet

There is mixed news on the battle against efforts to impose the latest progressive fad of social emotional learning (SEL) on our children. First, the great news: On October 5th, Education Week noticed “No State Will Measure Social-Emotional Learning Under ESSA.” While the author attributes this development to heeding the advice of researchers who have long and correctly argued that SEL assessments should not be used for accountability purposes, she completely ignores the huge groundswell of parent and citizen opposition to this Orwellian idea. I have been honored to work with many education experts, researchers, and activists who have provided

“PBIS”: Behind the Feds’ Wacky Scheme to Modify Children’s Behavior

Jane Robbins recently did an excellent job of describing the “government-sponsored personality manipulation” likely coming to a school near you. It is now time to look at the details of the federally-funded means for accomplishing this Orwellian effort. The program is called PBIS, Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports. This benignly named program has been used since 1997 for children with special education needs under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), but now thanks to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which requires compliance with eleven different federal laws including IDEA, it is being expanded to include: …implementation of schoolwide

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