MACC is disappointed to announce that Senate Bill 1777 – Every Child Achieves Act – has passed in the Senate, 81 – 17. This new version of No Child Left Behind, the Senate version of the ESEA – Elementary and Secondary Education Act, sets the tone and mandates for education in the Country. While both parties had the opportunity to return educational control to states, both houses of Congress have chosen to pass their versions of the ESEA rewrite.
Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) goes a long way in continuing the policies of No Child Left Behind under George W. Bush and does not come close to “fixing” this law. ECAA contains the very same federal Common Core aligned testing mandates that have beleaguered children and teachers for 14 years. This mandate requires 95 percent of students take the tests which may encourage schools to disallow parents to opt out. And yet this is a parent’s right to guide their child’s education. (Section 1111) Measurements of accountability must be reported to the federal Dept of Education and with compliance in order to continue receiving Federal funds.
Psychological profiling will be used for our youngest citizens, birth through five. Babies must be College and Career Ready! This is both a health and medical system of accountability. Will teachers be stepping in for psychologists? Will administrators diagnose based on psychological health profiles? Psychologists and neuropsychologists study for years to learn about the delicate nature of the psyche. Federal definitions in mental health will be promoted as well as significant testing in the schools. (Section 4104) ECAA expands data collection via disaggregated information, ie. personally identifiable information.
The ECAA continues and expands its over reach into the total redesign of cities and towns through far-reaching systems of accountability. Community Learning Centers and Promise Neighborhoods are expanded under this version of No Child Left Behind. (Section 4201) The legislation places government as the center of the community not families or faith-based entities. These Centers will keep children busy 6 – 7 days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day and all year. “School becomes the Center of the Community,” as Arne Duncan is quoted in his infamous Charlie Rose interview. https://youtu.be/TLQNFnUhWhw
Minnesota is left with this master-serf relationship between the federal and state government. First and foremost, ECAA is unconstitutional. At one point in testimony yesterday, Sen Alexander stated that a particular amendment was “unconstitutional”. The fact is, the whole bill is unconstitutional. The bill declares, “The state shall submit” and “The Secretary [Fed DOE] shall have power to disapprove a state plan” (Sec. 1111) “If a State makes significant changes to its plan at any time…such information shall be submitted to the Secretary”. (Section 1111) There may be consequences for non-compliance. Parenthetically, Minnesota need only be a “serf” if she chooses to be!
Although the ECAA claims to give local control back to states and schools, it does not and gathers more federal power unto itself. MACC is troubled by the language of these bills, and the additional challenges the bills put on parents, teachers and local school districts in deciding the best for their children’s education. MACC feels that this federal takeover of education is in violation of the 10th Amendment, which mandates the right and ability of states to control their own destiny and, in fact, is in total violation of the Constitution.
If your Congressmen voted as you indicated, please call or write to thank them. However, if they did not vote for you, as your constituent representative, call and write your displeasure. Pull out portions of legislation right before them or by email. If this law passes, America will be stuck with No Child Left Behind all over again and for another seven years.
The process continues as the Senate and House will convene to “marry” the two bills, S. 1177 and HR 5, culminating with a vote of the entire Congress on the newly combined bill. MACC will be following this process. We still have much that we can do as citizens! Don’t allow wealthy lobbyists, like the NGA (National Governors Association), the CCSSO (Chief Council of State School Officers), AFT (American Federation of Teachers) and NEA (National Education Association) to take your voice away. Remind your Congressmen who voted them in and who will vote them out. Know the legislation better than they do. Most have never read these new bills, nor have they read the earlier versions. Talk to your US representatives and senators NOW. Tell them to vote “NO” on the ESEA. Then contact your Minnesota representative and senator and let them know that we do not want this No Child Left Behind rewrite in Minnesota. The last decision will be up to our legislature as they are asked to approve the ESEA on behalf of Minnesotans. We’re not giving up!!!