Reporting on Current Obama Education Policies

To the Advocates For Choice and Vouchers-
Choice Means Chains

The Accountability That Comes With Private Schools Taking Federal Dollars.

The direction of education is moving toward customized individual plans for all children aligned to Common Core-College and Career Ready Standards. Federal funds in choice vouchers will follow a student to the private school of their choice, with federal strings attached. Don’t be deceived. If your students are granted a stipend of federal dollars from federal ESEA (Title I) or IDEA (special ed) monies under the guise of choice, say good bye to the private, Christian, or Catholic in your name. You will be a public school, just like all charter schools. Beware that HR 5 recently passed in the Republican held House of Representatives will make Obama’s dream of federalizing education come true.

There have been many questions asked about the role of federal money involved in the choice and voucher movement racing across the country. The questions range from:
Are these stipends funded with federal dollars?
Are there strings attached?
What happens when federal dollars “follow” a child, with a choice stipend, to a private school?
What does “accountability” mean when a Catholic or Christian school accepts a Title I child through a choice or voucher stipend?
What if a homeschool takes federal dollars for digital instruction?
Must a homeschooled ‘choice’ child take the state assessment for accountability?
Is a “charter school” a public school that must abide by all regulations but without a locally elected school board?
Will private schools, as well as charter schools, have to align to the Common Core Standards and take the state assessment which is aligned to the federal test, NAEP?
If a private school child is failing Common Core Standards, will the school have to engage in ‘specialized student support’ for accountability aspects and change their curriculum?
If a private school is deemed ” failing” Common Core Standards, will this indicate that they are not teaching to the standards?
Will private school teachers need in-service training when choice students fail?
Can this private school be targeted through “academic bankruptcy” by the government if they fail to meet federal guidelines called assurances?

According to ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, (the NOT conservative think-tank,) in their model “choice” legislation, please read the fine-print in Endnote 5 which states: “Unfortunately, tapping federal dollars may bring some unwanted federal regulations to choice schools.” I agree. Choice means chains.
(See the link below, scroll down to Endnote 5)

http://www.edchoice.org/Documents/SchoolChoice/Parental-Choice-Scholarship-Program-Act-_Universal.aspx

Let’s look at pending federal legislation that sets up a choice/voucher program through legislation. Note: federal money in Title I (your child is disadvantaged if they do not meet standards) and IDEA (special ed) are funding sources to expand choice. Student and curriculum interventions are called ‘specialized student support’ to meet Common Core Standards put in place through HR 5.

HR 5-Federal Legislation Passed in the House

See the NOTES at the end of this article for all of the Republicans that attached amendments to HR 5 to destroy private schools through Choice.
My overview of the Summary of HR 5 follows: my comments are in bold.

HR 5 Under Academic Standards: (emp. Mine)
Achievement standards used for judging student and school performance must align with content standards,

My comment: The end result, achievement, must align to standards. Each student must meet Common Core if those are the standards passed by your state.

HR 5-Under Direct Student Services: The bill requires states to set aside 3 percent of Title I money to provide competitive grants to school districts that wish to offer tutoring or public school choice to their students, including those in poor performing schools. (Notice the name of the stipends are competitive grants. In some states they are called scholarships.)

My comment: Under Title I the definition for disadvantaged changes to students meeting standards and needing “specialized instructional support” for meeting outcomes. This means Title I funds that follow the child. Although its only 3%, this is the start of undermining representative govt. This is federal money going to private schools with Title I. Poor performing schools (your private school) could be targeted for under-performing. Interventions apply.
(Eric Cantor placed an amendment that allows Title I to follow the child.)

HR 5-Under Accountability: The bill eliminates the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) metric and the unrealistic requirement that all students be proficient in reading and math by the end of the next school year. In their place, states are allowed to develop their own accountability systems that must comprise only three broad parameters:
HR 5- Annually measure the academic achievement of all public school students against the state’s academic standards (including growth toward the standards) using the statewide assessments in reading and math and other academic indicators.

My comment: Adequate Yearly Progress was designed for school aggregate data to compare how schools were doing. Eliminating the AYP will set the stage for individual student yearly progress monitoring IEP’s for all students. The new term is “specialized student support,” a special education term. Under State Plans there is a section calling for “individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports regarding achievement on assessments.” Plus, what are other academic indicators? Why not reading & math? If a state has agreed to Common Core, this will mean the exact same agenda as before. This will include the College & Career Outcomes & Common Core Standards that go beyond academics. This is testing in the affective domain. The statewide assessments are aligning to those standards, like PARCC, ACT, & Smarter Balanced using NAEP objectives. If the Feds can blame everything on the states, they get off scott-free. Most states have changed their tests to reflect Common Core already or are in the process. This means federal access to an individual student.

HR 5- Annually evaluate and identify the academic performance of each public school in the state based on student academic achievement, including the achievement of all students and achievement gaps between student subgroups.

My comment: Define academic achievement for all students. On math & reading or other indicators? Does this set up the IEP for each student? College & Career Ready Standards could be used here instead of academics. College & Career standards are work force standards like SCANS, Secretaries Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (affective outcomes).

HR 5-Include a school improvement system implemented by school districts that includes interventions in poor performing Title I schools.

My comment: If a Title I school is identified as failing the Common Core Standards, the school is named a school-wide program. Because individual students are monitored, interventions will be identified for each student. Teachers will be targeted. Individual students will be targeted to improve scores. This is the opening for an IEP or individual learning plan in which the school can use flexibility funds for IEP interventions or ‘specialized student support.’ This could also open the door for private schools having to introduce Common Core and school improvement plans if they accept choice funding.

HR 5-Funding Flexibility: The bill allows states and school districts to use federal funds for special population programs for any activity authorized under any of the other programs. Instead of having to comply with a host of federal program requirements each dictating exactly how funds may be spent, state and local officials will be able to use federal funds to meet their own unique needs. While school districts will not be allowed to use Title I funds outside of those schools, they can move additional funding to low-income schools.

My Comment: This is exactly what the ESEA Flexibility Waiver that Obama gave the states this past year. (Use the money however you want, just meet the Common Core Standards.) Now the waiver will become law so the state can use Title I funds to establish the Common Core. Very clever. Get the states to agree to national Common Core Standards so the feds can identify individual students. Get the federal boot in the door. Then allow the states to use federal funds however they want to meet Common Core, but the feds will monitor individual students and the states in order to achieve compliance. This would eliminate the violation of the federal government supervising and directing curriculum, underhanded as it is. Notice how every thing is being changed to Title I. Schools could be tagged school-wide program under Title I. There is a distinct reason for that. Blanket compliance with percentage of free and reduced lunches. This is complete federal takeover of all states’ rights and all schools. A state accepting Common Core Standards was the first step to federal take-over of all public schools and relinquishing their individual power of states’ rights. Your local neighborhood school is now a federal government school. Your local school board has no authority except to meet Common Core Standards. What happened to states rights? Local control? One more huge erosion of the Constitution. The Republicans are in lock step with Obama.

Indiana “Choice” Application-Please read carefully.

APPLICATION TO BECOME AN ELIGIBLE SCHOOL UNDER INDIANA’S CHOICE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. Please read carefully, private schools!

Assurances (emp. mine)

As a condition of becoming an eligible school, the school makes the following assurances by the representative’s signature:
School will administer accountability assessments including Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) and End of Course Assessments (ECAs) to all students at the testing grade levels and participate in all required training and security measures.
School will not discriminate against any potential students based on race, color or national origin, and will follow the school’s admissions policy in regard to choice scholarship students.
If the number of applicants for enrollment in an eligible school under a Choice scholarship exceeds the number of Choice scholarships available to the eligible school, the school will draw at random in a public meeting the applications of applicants who are entitled to a Choice scholarship from among the applicants who meet the requirements for admission to the eligible school.
School will not transfer or attempt to transfer the choice scholarship to any other student.
School agrees to inform IDOE via a prescribed form within five (5) business days of a choice scholarship student being withdrawn or expelled.
School acknowledges that: 1. retroactive reimbursement to the State of Indiana may be required, or 2. future payments may be adjusted, as a result of the withdrawal or expulsion of a student. (It’s all about federal money.)
School agrees to participate in any data collections required by the department pursuant to IC 20-51-1-4.7, IC 20-51-4-6, IC 20-51-4-7, or IC 20-51-4-10.
School understands and agrees to the requirement that parents must co-sign a claim form provided by the department for the distribution of monies, on a schedule set by the department.
Upon eligibility, school agrees to complete and file a vendor application with the Indiana Auditor of State.
School agrees to provide prospective parents with a statement about any costs beyond the required fees, including whether the school participates in the Free / Reduced Lunch Program. (Title I) School acknowledges that any fees in excess of the amount of the choice scholarship must be funded through other sources.
School agrees to provide prospective parents with information about (free) transportation, including whether it is provided and whether the school is located along any existing bus routes that may be utilized.
School acknowledges that, by July 1, 2013, it will have a staff performance evaluation plan as required by 20-28-11.5-4(a) and (b).
School shall certify to the department annually that the eligible school is complying with the following legal requirements and that the school will cooperate with any visit made to the school by the department to verify compliance with these provisions, including granting the department reasonable access to its premises. School further understands that violation of any of the following requirements under the law or failure to comply with these assurances is grounds for loss of eligibility, and has the right to an administrative hearing upon loss of eligibility.

The federal strings are all attached here: testing, data collection, staff performance, accountability.
http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/school-choice/2013-03-17-choiceschoolapplication.pdf

ALEC Pushes Choice in Colorado
http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2013/03/alec_promotes_vouchers_in_doug.html

Choice Scholarships

Beware of any ” help” from the government.
Acceptance of Common Core means takeover of education by the federal government. No more local control. Charter Schools eliminate representative government with no locally elected boards or taxpayer oversight. Private Schools must say ‘no’ to choice funding.

Accountability=Forced Compliance=Loss of Freedom of Choice

_________________________________________________________________
NOTES-Republicans Put Obama’s Agenda Into Law

HR 5
Republican’s Move to Make Choice Part of Title I federal funding-Strings Attached
Beware Private Schools-The Government Wants to Control You.

ALERT: passed in the House dated 7-19-2013. Please read the amendments that the Republicans have attached to HR 5. This is a total sell-out. Republicans are putting in place Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’ pilot programming from the Innovation Lab Network. One Democrat aligned all rules to charter schools, as well.

Scroll down to the right to see the Republican Amendments at the link below:
http://rules.house.gov/bill/hr-5-0

Cantor (VA), Bishop, Rob (UT) Republican Allows Title I funds to follow students to other public schools or charter schools, upon the state opting to allow it. Made In Order

Bishop, Rob (UT) Republican Makes Title 1 funds portable to public (including charter) schools and private schools. Submitted

Salmon, (AZ) Republican Late Provides States with the flexibility to allocate Title I grant funds in a manner that follows the child. States may allocate these funds based on the number of eligible children enrolled in the public and private schools served.

Tierney (MA) Democrat Late Ensures a state’s accountability system is applied to charter schools in the same manner as to other public schools Submitted

Duncan (SC) Republican SUBSTITUTE Late RevisedSubstitutes the text of the bill with the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act (A-PLUS, which allows states to completely opt out of the programs that fall under NCLB and empower state and local leaders to direct funding to their most pressing education needs. Specifically, A-PLUS sends funding under NCLB back to states in the form of block grants, and states would then be able to direct that funding to any education purpose under state law.