May 2016 is closing rapidly, anti CCSS/Fed Ed Warriors. While some of us dream of a lazy summer, I hope you will NOT let your voices be muted. The CCSS Machine will NOT be taking the summer off. In fact, the Machine will use the times we are distracted to do the most damage. How do I know this? Look back at the track record.
A great example is the announcement just a few days ago, and ‘oh-so-strategically-planned-to-happen-while-we-were-gearing-up-for-the-Memorial-Day-Weekend’ move the U.S. Dept .of Ed made. What was the big news? It concerns public comments to be taken for State Accountability measures as per the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act).
Hot on the heels of the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s announcement , came the pro CCSS, Gates Foundation-backed, ASCD to the ‘rescue’ with their own announcement. ASCD’s was full of ‘helpful’ tips amounting to we will guide you through this; keep you informed…you know, the kind of ‘trust us’ attitude the CCSS Machine loves to dish out, but never means.
Rather than give you the ASCD, pro CCSS/ESSA rhetoric to the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s Accountability Public Comment Period, I am including the information straight from the Ed. Why? The proposed regulations/mandates/expectations for each of the States per the ESSA is 192 pages long. IF we are to make ANY sort of valid, truth filled comment to the U.S. Dept. of Ed, we have to have their words…and use them against themselves.
Note that by making 192 pages of regulations, mandates, and/or expectations, the goal of truly State-led educational choices will be very hard to come by. As we have seen in the past from the U.S. Dept. of Ed; as well as others in the CCSS Machine, while public comments are taken, it is suspect what truly happens to them.
However, we, as the Warriors, HAVE made a big difference when we are united in our message. Case in point? The nomination of Dr. John King was narrowly won..that my fellow Warriors, is because WE made so much noise!!! We used truth, we used fact-based evidence. Our dissent was publicly noted..That is WHY we MUST respond to the Accountability Portions of the ESSA! To remain silent, is to condone the ESSA’s mandates and regulations.
So, here is the 192 page document: nprmaccountabilitystateplans52016
Below, please find what we Warriors need to know from just the first few pages of the document!!
1) Title One funding is the main portal of ESSA changes, even in accountability (aka: measuring student outcomes/performances/competencies via assessments. This is turn will impact teachers as well.)
2) SEAs and LEAs (State Education Agencies and Local Education Agencies) will receive more grant money. With more grant money, will be more strings.)
3) Federal budget money for education will be involved. If you don’t know the CCSS/CTE/CCR/ESSA/WIOA/HEA* strings in the Fiscal Year 2017 Federal Education Budget Requests, I have a series of researched, fact based articles detailing how accountability and loss of state control is already in the works.
(*Common Core State Standards/Career Tech Education/College and Career Readiness/Every Student Succeeds Act/Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act/Higher Education Act)
4) While each and every ESSA accountability measure needs commenting on, the Dept. of Ed, especially needs our help (lucky us, we have been invited to comment) with:
a) Meaningful identification of consistently under-performing groups of students.
b) Addressing the low attendance of nationally based assessments; assessments must be a part of every State’s educational plan and meet 95% so teachers and parents can use the data for student successes.
c) Ambitious English Language Learning (ELL) goals and timeline for maximum proficiency.
d) Shifting special needs kids from Title One funding/IDEA funds to a subgroup for Academic Achievement Indicator calculations.
e) Standardizing special needs, homeless students, ELL students, and foster care children to fit graduation rate criteria.
*You can find these 5 points in the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s words on Pages 4 and 5.
If you missed the first U.S. Dept. of Education’s Public Comment period, the results of it are included in this documented report. Those begin on Page 5 and continue to Page 7. They are worth reading, Warriors.
Required ESSA ‘State Goals’ begin on Page 9. State Goals include assessments, accountability, ELLs success, student outcomes of achievement, data mining/sharing, reforming low-performing schools, and more. The Goals appear to end on Page 13. How these Goals are to be carried out, however, takes from Page 13 to well pass Page 70. Among them are 3 types of Indices to be used: a) Academic Progress, b) School Quality, and c) Student Success (Page 18). That stated, go back up near Pages 14 – 16 to see how each of these will include post-secondary readiness, educator engagement, etc.; careful wording for ‘all schools’ and then ‘public schools’ when accountability is being measured.
Warriors, this should be more than enough to get us started on digging in and fighting back. Stay tuned for more on this whopper of aligned document!