Anti Fed Ed Warriors, I’ve had a concerned contact from WI (Wisconsin) get in touch with me about CESAs. What are CESAs? That’s short for Co-operative Education Service Agencies.
In ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) we’ve seen LEAs (Local Education Agencies) and SEAs (State Education Agencies). As we’ve seen in real life, these Agencies may be schools or connected entities. They also may be some sort of P3 (public private partnership) connected to any type of educational activity.
So, hearing about CESAs was new to me. Sally (*not my contact’s real name, but I’m protecting her) said she knew there were some questionable activities going on in WI and the CESAs. She provided me with several images and evidence. What follows is, not only what Sally shared, but what other research I was able to locate from around the nation.
What Does A CESA Do, Anyway?
Warriors, in WI, Co-operative Education Services is housed in the WI DPI (WI Dept. of Public Instruction). Dividing the State up into 12 districts (or regions), these districts group all the LEAs and SEAs from all the school systems in each region. This is done to combine resources and services, as well as supposedly saving money.
According the WI DPI’s CESAs website for Region/District #1, these Agencies were created over 50 years ago via State Legislation. (*Note: Each CESA has its own website) The intent was to links school districts to each other as well as the State of Wisconsin for local control. However, Sally has informed me that in her district the Superintendent can easily bypass the State and go directly to the federal level in education funding.
So, what kind of services do each of the CESAs offer? Literally everything from A to Z. Including: CTE (Career Tech Education), SEL (Social Emotional Learning), CCR (College/Career Readiness), Special Education, RtI (Response to Intervention), PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports System), PL (Personalized Learning), PD (Professional Development), Family Engagement, UDL (Universal Design for Learning), and Blended/On-line Learning.
Warriors, think of it as ESSA’s mandates all in one handy dandy location.
Sally also shared with me; the CESA, District One document where the Administration Team was discussing how to steer education.
Warriors, as further proof from Sally, about the questionable handling of education by the CESAs, she sent me this image about Seeds4Schools. From what I have found, the CESA District #6, where Seeds appears to be housed, Seeds4Schools was created in 1996. Where did I find that? In the 2018-19 Annual Report for CESA District #6. (See page 18) That’s right, the CESAs are being run just like big businesses, even down to annual reports.
Warriors, have you heard of GAIN (Global Appraisal of Individual Needs)? It’s a set of biophysical assessment tools. GAIN is housed in the Chestnut Health Care Systems (in their Lighthouse Inst.) based in IL. Wisconsin’s CESAs use GAIN.
From Chestnut Health Systems’ Research Project, you can find out that GAIN is actually an open ended research project. The GCC (Gain Coordinating Center) ‘has over 5,155 licensed GAIN entities in all 50 U.S. states and all 10 provinces of Canada, as well as 10 other countries (Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Mexico, Japan, Great Britain, India, South Africa, Spain).’ One of GAIN’s chief tools in assessing people, especially in schools? CBE (Comptency Based Education).
The next image I’m sharing with you, from Sally, deals with CESA, District #9. Back in 2017, the State of WI was gearing up its CCR (College/Career Readiness). Fast forward to 2020, and the CCR lives on.
To access the AIR information about the 4 States efforts, go here.
The last thing Sally shared with me was the March 2020 information about ESSA, CESAs, and private schools.
Warriors, due to the COVID-19, the meeting was cancelled. However, due to the nature of the meeting, it should be rescheduled.
CESAs In Other States?
Warriors, one of the questions Sally had for me was are there other States with CESAs? The quick answer? Absolutely. I did find in researching this, that not all are known as CESAs. For example, here in NC, they are called “Regional Education Services” or RES. In some regions, they go by “Alliance” (RESAs), in others, “Consortium”(RESCs). You can find the RESAs (as they are officially called) in the NC School Superintendents Association. Among the 2019-2021 Priorties of this NC Association? Increasing student mental health services.
From WV, the MSESC (Mountain State Educational Service Cooperative) combines all kinds of services to meet community needs across the State. Note the governance of the MSESC.
If you’re curious about the (Wrap Around Service Programs) WASPs of MSESC, go here and look at the educational and NON-educational services this co-op offers. Then check out the AEPA of WV. This Educational Services Co-op member has influence in 28 other States.
Warriors, be sure to look into the services of AEPA and look for the cameras for special education classrooms.
From NY, their Educational Services Co-op is at least 70 years old! Unlike the other States, this one is called BOCES or Boards of Cooperative Educational Services. BOCES don’t cover New York City, Rochester, Buffalo, Yonkers, or Syracuse. However, BOCES has 37 Districts, making it one of the largest co-ops in America, that I could find.
BOCES has several efforts they advocate for. The biggest one? Economic growth, NOT education!
In CO, their BOCES take care of student and family needs. They also are a AEPA State. It was on the CO website that I found AEPA stands for Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies. (*Note: Warriors, on the WV website, it stated 28 States, CO’s states 26 other States.) Be sure to look at the CO BOCES Partners. Some big CCSS Machine member groups are there.
Warriors, in Part Two, we’ll look at the other States (I have 5 more to show you) and then we’ll tie all this information back to not only ESSA, but the U. S. Dept. of Education AND the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Rounding out the federal agencies will be the U.S. Dept. of Labor.