July 25th, 2013
By Pam Wohlschlegel
Last week, the US House of Representatives took a big step to roll back No Child Left Behind and, even more importantly, to cut back the federal government’s stranglehold on the states with regard to Common Core. Common Core is even more dangerous to our country than some of the other legislation and executive decrees that have been a part of our recent history. Not only are there economic ramifications but the day by day indoctrination of our children by progressive and federally mandated curriculums will change our socio-economic environment in our country for decades to come.
Even though this bill, H.R.5, will probably not see the light of day in the US Senate, it made a huge statement about the need to return to self-governance in our country. Florida Congressman Rooney’s explanation of this legislation exemplifies one of our pillars of self-governance: Dispersed Power.
“No bureaucrat in Washington knows as much about what Florida schools need to help our students as our school board members, principals, teachers and parents do,” Rooney said. “If we want to ensure our students have the knowledge and skills to succeed, then it’s time to restore local control, empower parents to make decisions for their children, and support effective teachers.” He went on to say, “No Child Left Behind (NCLB) may have had the best of intentions, but the federal overreach and burdensome mandates in that law hampered innovation, tied teachers’ hands and ultimately hurt our students. . . . Our students and teachers need a permanent fix that rolls back NCLB and prohibits the federal government from coercing states into adopting one-size-fits-all standards like Common Core.”
The bill limits the authority of the Secretary of Education over decisions in the classroom. The legislation:
- Prohibits the secretary from imposing conditions on states and school districts, including the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, in exchange for a waiver of federal elementary and secondary education Law or federal grant funds
- Prevents the secretary from creating additional burdens on states and districts through the regulatory process, particularly in the areas of standards, assessments, and state accountability plans
- Prohibits the secretary from demanding changes to state standards and influencing and coercing states to enter into partnerships with other states
- Outlines specific procedures the secretary must follow when issuing federal regulations and conducting peer review processes for grant applications, including publicly releasing the identity of peer reviewers, that will bring greater transparency.
There are many who believe strongly that this bill did not go far enough and it definitely does not undo what has already been mandated. In addition, some of the inclusions continue to give the federal government too much power over the education of our children. Among these concerns are that the bill:
- Reauthorizes the Charter School Program
- Supports expansion and replication of high quality charter schools to provide additional choices to parents
- Strengthens the Magnet School and Parent Information Resource Center programs
- Strengthens the five existing programs within the Impact Aid Program, including making those provisions that were included in the FY 2013 NDAA permanent
- Moves Impact Aid Programs from Title VIII to Title IV
Please share your thoughts on this bill as we all need to understand the issues. The fact is, the futures of our children are in the hands of governors who must reject Common Core in their states! Georgia and Oklahoma have paved the way.
Common Core is a huge federal government overreach that will impact our children and our nation socially, politically, dogmatically, and economically for years to come. If you can take a few minutes, please watch this video: Common Core Standards – Fact & Fiction.
Each one of us must learn as much as we can about Common Core and put extreme pressure on our US Senators to pass this bill so that we can make “Who decides about what our children are taught in school?” down to the local levels once again.