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

New Report: 50 Years of ‘Fed Ed’ Has Failed to Close Achievement Gap

New data continues to confirm what has been obvious for decades: federal interference in education since 1965 has failed to improve the academic achievement of poor children. This difference between students from higher and lower income families, dubbed “the achievement gap” by experts and policy makers, has remained stubbornly persistent for fifty years. A History of Fed Ed: From ESEA to Common Core That federal interference started with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which began compensatory grants for poor children in K-12, and Head Start, the federal preschool program, both passed in 1965. Both laws, plus the General

President Trump’s 2020 Budget: The Good and Bad News for Education

As discussed for the last two budget cycles (here and here) President Trump is working to keep his 2016 campaign promise to cut the size and scope of the U.S. Department of Education (USED). Here is some of the good, bad and ugly of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget: The Good News The 2020 budget seeks to cut overall USED spending by $7.1 billion or ten percent. That is consistent with his previous budgets and a good start on what is a big job. Basically level funding is maintained for both Title I, the main federal education program for poor

Invasive International Survey Targeting Pre-K Students Is Coming to U.S.

Not apparently content with the extent of invasive personality profiling discussed last year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is expanding it psychological profiling to 5,000 young children each in the U.S., England, and Estonia. The assessment is titled the International Early Learning Survey (IELS). Dubbed by some as “Baby PISA” (after the Program for International Student Assessment, an international assessment for fifteen-year-olds also conducted by OECD), this assessment is disturbingly comprehensive in the data it seeks to mine from young children and their families. Here is a description of the assessment in 2016 and early 2017 in

Does America Really Want a Federalized School Choice Program?

During last week’s State of the Union speech, President Trump spoke briefly on education by stating, “To help support working parents, the time has come to pass school choice for America’s children.” This may include Senator Ted Cruz’s Student Empowerment Act, which would expand tax-free 529 college savings plans to include K-12 education expenses for public, private, religious, and home education. While appreciating this concern and compassion for poor and underserved children who need a good education, there are many dangers with a school choice program, especially at the federal level. The biggest and most obvious concern is the further

DeVos’ Swiss Agreement Overlooks Deep Problems with School-to-Work Model

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with the Secretaries of Labor and Commerce, recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss government to collaborate in the area of workforce development. Secretary DeVos visited Switzerland in June of this year and was highly complementary of their school-to-work (STW) system, saying that there was much the U.S. could learn from the Swiss. On her U.S. Department of Education blog announcing the agreement, she also listed 15 facts about the Swiss apprenticeship program. The first fact was that these Swiss students are spending a minority of time learning academics: Most Swiss

Congress Deepens the Education Swamp with New Spending Bill

The education swamp-expanding budget process discussed a few weeks ago is now near completion. The table below shows the final levels of difference between this fiscal year and last in the column in bold. Sadly, none of the unconstitutional, wasteful, ineffective programs were cut. The “best” outcome in some cases was that a couple of them were not increased. It is a sad state of affairs, but totally not surprising in an election year. The Senate voted 93-7 to pass the conference report, and the House will vote on it this week. The budget’s education spending is just one of

Opposition Grows to Flawed Obama-Era School Discipline Policies

The debate over what Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos should do about the Obama-era “Dear Colleague Letter” regarding school discipline, especially in light of recent school shootings, rages on. This policy threatens school districts with costly investigations if a disproportionate number of students belonging to a particular racial group are suspended or expelled. Democrat politicians and many groups on the more liberal end of the spectrum continue to demand that the policy be kept in place, believing that much of the disparity is due to discrimination and bias on the part of schools, instead of any outside factors. These groups

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