Warriors Against Common Core, how well do you know your local school board? Are you a school board member? If so, how well do you know the State laws for your important position in the community? If you are a school board member, read what I’ve found and ask yourself, ‘Am I okay with this?’
These questions and more await us in today’s in-depth article.
The Search Began:
I was recently contacted by a concerned NC citizen. She needed help in figuring out what is State law for school boards, does local policy adhere to State law, and, is there any policy which side-steps the State, and goes to a federal level of compliance. All excellent questions.
I shared with her I’d already found one NC county school board with a local policy which, from all appearances, seems to side-step the State of NC and pledge compliance to the federal level. (See below)
Warriors, I profess that I am not a lawyer, but with a policy which reads like this, it certainly calls into question, why is a county school board appearing to go around the State law to pledge adherence at the federal level?
FYI: The ‘NC Standard Course of Study’, aka, ‘Essential Standards’ (Common Core rebrand) are written into State law. Look for NC General Statute 115C, Article 8.
While I didn’t find a similar policy for the county I was contacted about, what I found in our State law is worth sharing. It also gives us some BIG questions to have answered!
The School Board Laws In NC General Statute 115C, Article 5:
1) Access the Statute here. You’ll notice that the specific legislation is 22 pages. One of the most immediate concerns we should all be thinking ahead about: Will school boards across America change much under the ESSA mandates?
1’s Reality: Here in NC, our school boards are locally elected. However, not every State is the same. Elected or not, what does it mean locally? ESSA increases power, both at federal and State levels.
2) In the paragraph marked 115C-36 (Page 1), “Said boards of education shall have general control and supervision of all matters pertaining to the public schools in their respective administrative units and they shall enforce the school law in their respective units.”
The big questions: What is ‘school law’? Does the ‘enforcement’ mean ‘any and all measures’? What group holds the school board in check to ensure local citizens there’s no manipulation of the assigned power?
2’s Reality: Under ESSA, all education MUST be aligned to post-secondary readiness as defined by WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act). WIOA is not a specific ‘school law’. It DOES encompass education, but it is, after all, a U.S. Dept. of Labor law. How will NC, or, for that matter, ANY State, fare locally with their school boards when a workforce based law dictates education?!
3) Near the bottom of Page 2 and continuing on Page 3, “The local board of education shall revise electoral district boundaries from time to time as provided by this subsection.”
Wait, What?! Yes, according to NC Law, local boards can adjust districts. BUT these are depedent on federal Census information. Supposedly, the benefit is financial, BUT, consider these realities, Warriors:
a) The Census is being used by the CCSS Machine to orchestrate neighborhoods, manhandle museums and libraries, and more. From right here, in the town I live in, an excerpt from this article about local control and federal overreach.
“* You will see lots of data (includes the U.S. Census) and graphs used to support the moves; you’ll see the increased push for social and economic equality;”
b) ESSA’s codification of Promise Neighborhoods, as well as the continued creation of 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
c) Does your State have ‘Prosperity Zones’? NC does. There’s even another State Statute in place to streamline jobs and their training. By now, we know that ESSA is the ‘missing link’ between jobs and training. While the article about the Zones is from 2015, you can see just how overreaching the federal government is and how State districts will directly play into the overreaches.
4) Page 4, under the paragraph 115C-40, this excerpt, “Local boards of education, subject to any paramount powers vested by law in the State Board of Education or any other authorized agency shall have general control and supervision of all matters pertaining to the public schools in their respective local school administrative units;”
Your big question here should be, does my State have similar language? If so, what other agencies in addition to the SBE, have control over my school board? What about heavy influence over the school board, is there a tie to the CCSS Machine?
5) Pages 9-21 spell out the 63 responsibilites and powers local school boards in NC have, as well as are authorized to carry out. I won’t list all 63, but, I will point to the ones we should all be looking at, regardless of where you live. Each will be followed by a question to consider.
5’s Realities: a) “To Provide the Opportunity to Receive a Sound Basic Education”, page 9.
Who decides the soundness of a basic education? ESSA says the States must have the Secretary of Education’s approval for what’s taught. Where’s the local control there?
b) “To Regulate Extracurricular Activities”. With ESSA’s 24/7/365 mandate for anytime, anywhere learning (you can’t have student achievement without being hooked to a computer device), this is going to be almost impossible for local school boards to carry out.
(Refer back to the embedded articles above about wrap around services in the community.)
c) “To Accept and Administer Federal or Private Funds”, page 10. Warriors, this is huge!
ESSA increases the amount of P3s in our schools. P3s are public-private partnerships. We have seen the damage of P3s in our educational systems across America. One of the biggest supporters for interferring business with education is Business Roundtable. BR was big on Common Core; they are also behind CC’s other names: CCR (College and Career Ready) and CTE (Career Tech Education). Let’s not forget some other big names in creating P3 overload in our local schools: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, your State Chambers, and Bill Gates. (*Note: Items 32, 32a, 34, and, 34a on Page 15 are directly related to MORE P3 education through Career Tech Education, Community Colleges, or School-to-Work.)
d) “To Sponsor or Conduct Educational Research”, bottom of Page 10. ESSA’s ‘educational research’ includes an in-home assessment for how well connected to the internet everyone is America is. See my article.Also, Warriors, any time you see ‘educational research’, think of what the underlying activity: data mining. Then, the big question: What group or groups did my local school board hire?
e) “To Adopt Rules and Policies Limiting the Noninstructional Duties of Teachers”, Page 13.
ESSA’s not kind to teachers at all. They are expected to teach to post-secondary readiness, regardless of age or grade, their pay will be factored by overall student success and engagement, AND, they will become quasi-doctors via the social emotional learning and behavior interventions. (*Notes: Look directly below the ‘teachers’ on Page 13 and you’ll see their training, as well as principals. Use all 3 embedded links directly above and apply. Then, refer to Page 18, Items 43 and 46) Our big question here: What pro CCSS/CCR/CTE/STEM groups is my school using at their discretion OR the State’s bidding which train, incentivize, or other wise reward for aligning teachers to ESSA?
f) Page 15, “To Appoint Advisory Councils”. This is legalized in yet another NC State General Statute. Appointing key positions is dangerous. No vote means no voice. This, in the long run, mutes the taxpayer’s and parent’s voices. Big question: Are these ‘advisors’ local or are they somehow connected to the educational reform?
I noticed in searching some of the NC local school board policy pages, that more than 1 have not only our State Board of Ed to satisfy, but AdvancED, too. What is AdvancED? A sold out CCSS Machine member organization. In my County, the exact words are:
“Maintain accreditation of its schools by AdvancED and/or the State Board of Education.”
We’ll pick this up in my next article, Warriors. We’ll also address how city school boards, private schools, home education, and, charters authorities will be treated in the ‘ESSA Era’.