News from DC

  • The US House of Representatives has at least temporarily suspended consideration of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) replacement,  The Student Success Act (HR 5) due in significant part to a huge outcry from parents and activists across the nation about the continuation of federally mandated statewide standards and tests. There are rumors that they plan to take it up on Monday March 2 so the public needs to stay engaged.


  • The US Senate has indefinitely postponed voting on S 227, the Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA) in response to a nationwide backlash over psychological profiling and data privacy and security concerns.

SETRA was first enacted in 2002. The goal was to look at the effectiveness of the various education programs that were federally funded. Not a bad idea. However, that purpose is changing with certain provisions in S227. Look what else was in that Act.

SEC. 203. COMPREHENSIVE CENTERS   Section 203 (20 U.S.C. 9602)

This is a new section which redefines the role of these Comprehensive Centers which have been in existence since 2002.

(2) MISSION.—The mission of the comprehensive centers is to provide State educational agencies 
and local educational agencies technical assistance, 
 analysis, and training to build their capacity in implementing the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) and other Federal education laws, and research-based practices.

So now we have federally funded and managed centers whose mission is to help states implement federal programs. In other words, you WILL comply with federal intrusion into education!

‘‘(3) REGIONS.—In awarding grants, contracts,  or cooperative agreements under paragraph (1), the Secretary—

‘‘(A) shall establish at least one comprehensive center for each of the 10 geographic regions served by the regional educational laboratories established under section 941(h) of the Educational Research, Development, Dissemination, and Improvement Act of 1994 (as such provision existed on the day before the date of enactment of this Act); and

‘‘(B) may establish additional comprehensive centers—

‘‘(i) for one or more of the regions described in subparagraph (A); or

‘‘(ii) to serve the Nation as a whole by providing technical assistance on a particular content area of importance to the Nation, as determined by the Secretary with the advice of the regional advisory committees established under section  206(a).

See, the Secretary of Education, and some federally defined regional board which may cross state boundaries, now determines which content areas are important locally. And you thought Congress was trying to return local control.

Now check out the definition of “the Nation.

‘‘(4) NATION.—In the case of a comprehensive center established to serve the Nation as described  in paragraph (3)(B)(ii), the Nation shall be considered to be a region served by such Center.

Are we officially breaking apart the country now into 10 regions, where your state sovereignty is surrendered to the will of a regional directorship? Remember the progressive plan is to make changes slowly, little by little, until one day  you wake up and realize  you have lost all control.

Then the bill gets into these public private partnerships, or at least drawing private money into this system.  This first section is a description of who can receive federal monies for research conducted by these comprehensive centers.

(6)(A) (ii) by striking ‘‘research organizations, institutions, agencies, institutions of higher education,’’ and inserting ‘‘public or private, nonprofit or for-profit research organizations, other organizations, or institutions of higher education,’’;

Then we see who will get priority in the awarding of federal research dollars.

‘(3) NON-FEDERAL SUPPORT.—In conducting a competition for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements under subsection (a), the Secretary shall give priority to eligible applicants that will provide a portion of non-Federal funds to maximize support for activities of the comprehensive centers to be established under this section.’’;

Government doesn’t have to foot the whole bill because private industry will help them out. Private industry doesn’t have to pay for all their own market research. They can get a federal grant, that comes with free data, to help them out.  Note that these regional centers will get our assessment data. So the federal government in the form of the USDoED is not getting the data, but this center, also not controlled by your state, is.

p. 82  (2) PLAN ‘(ii) the needs of State educational agencies and local educational agencies, on an ongoing basis, using available State and local data, including the relevant results of the regional assessments under section 206(e);

Regional centers being partially funded by private organizations, who may be for profit entities, will get your child’s assessment data on regional assessments. What happened to our state determined assessments in HR5?  Is this a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, or an attempt at misdirection. Notice that they were trying to quietly pass S227 without any public hearings while everyone was supposedly watching the debate on HR5.

This means that publishers can get this data and use it for product development. In fact the bill talks about product development as one of the reportable outcomes from these evaluations. It’s not a happy side effect, it is the intent in this legislation.

Do the people in DC need a little refresher course on Fascism 101?

Stay tuned for more news from DC as it happens.

Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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