While this bill is definitely much better than the Senate Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), it still has many fatal flaws. (See also HERE). These include:
- Cementing of Common Core via the requirement in state plans that must be approved by the secretary that states have college and career ready standards
- Continuation of the federal mandate of annual tests with their continued psychological profiling and data mining
- Removal of the prohibition on attitudinal profiling in the mandated statewide tests
- No real enforcement mechanism for states that are bullied by federal interference in standards or tests such as Common Core
|Amash (MI)||Graves (LA)||Meadows (NC)|
|Brooks (AL)||Graves (MO)||Miller (FL)|
|Buck (C0)||Hice (GA)||Rohrbacher (CA)|
|Clawson (FL)||Huelskamp (KS)||Rothfus (PA)|
|DeSantis (FL)||Jones (NC)||Sanford (SC)|
|DesJarlais (TN)||Jordan (OH)||Sensenbrenner (WI)|
|Fleming (LA)||Joyce (OH)||Stutzman (IN)|
|Gibson (NY)||LoBiondo (NJ)||Wenstrup (OH)|
|Gohmert (TX)||Massie (KY)||Yoho (FL)|
There were 139 amendments offered to the Rules Committee for consideration. Leadership allowed 48 of those to come to the floor for consideration. Of those, 25 passed on a voice vote, 5 passed by roll call and the rest failed or were withdrawn. As we did with the Senate NCLB rewrite called The Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), here is a recap of major amendments and their votes based on various topics.
STANDARDS, TESTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY:
Zeldin (R-NY) Standards Opt-Out Amendment 53 "Allows a State to withdraw from the Common Core Standards or any other specific standards." This very bipartisan amendment passed by a vote of 373-57 with only 57 Democrats voting in opposition. The only Florida member to vote against it was Rep. Wasserman Schultz. However, it is largely symbolic, because, as explained by the American Principles in Action document discussing the bill's problems, HR 5 requires the alignment of state standards, assessments, and accountability systems to the Common Core:
b. If the Secretary claims that any part of the plan submitted by the state fails to fulfill the requirements of the Act that is, that in his opinion, it fails "to [prepare students to] graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce without remediation"the Secretary can deny the state plan. Sec. 1111(e)(2).
c. States will be pressured into keeping the Common Core rather than risk having their plans disapproved for using different standards or aligned assessments.
Goodlatte (R-VA) Local Assessments Amendment 28 "Would provide flexibility to localities by providing States with the authority to allow local educational agencies to administer their own, locally designed academic assessment system, in place of the State-designed academic system. The same requirements as laid out by this Act for State-designed academic assessments would also apply to any locally designed academic assessment." This passed by a voice vote. Because it still requires all of the heavy handed federal alignment and control discussed above for the local tests as for the state assessments, it is not very likely to restore any local control over assessments.
Bonamici (D-OR) Assessment Funding Amendment 46 "Amendment allows State educational agencies and eligible entities to use Local Academic Flexible Grant funds to audit and streamline assessment systems; eliminate unnecessary assessments; and improve the use of assessments." This passed by voice vote but as also explained above will not solve the testing control by the federal government nor the problems of psychological profiling, data mining, or over-testing.
Wilson (D-FL) Assessment Transparency Amendment 42 "Requires school districts to be transparent in providing information to parents at the beginning of the school year on mandated assessments the student will have to take during the school year and any school district policy on assessment participation" This somewhat helpful, but largely symbolic language passed on a voice vote. As Lee County, Florida Board of Education found out when they tried to exercise their rights under the Florida Constitution to opt out of the statewide assessments, they were immediately threatened with loss of federal and state funds, recalling of board members, and other sanctions to the point that they had to rescind their vote within a week.
SHORTENING THE REAUTHORIZATION PERIOD
MENTAL HEALTH/PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILING AND MANIPULATION:
The rewrite of the section that discusses state standards, assessments and accountability leaves out the key protection that prohibits the federally mandated state tests that "evaluate or assess personal or family beliefs and attitudes." This was one of the few good pieces of language in No Child Left Behind.
- HR 5 dictates particular types of testing that are extraordinarily expensive, have a history of failure, and are designed to inject more intrusive psychological data-collection and psychological profiling/manipulation into the assessments. Sec. 1111(b)(2)(B)(viii), (xiv).
- HR 5 maintains NCLB's requirement that the state assessment produce not just test scores, but "individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports." Unlike NCLB, HR 5 requires assessment on behavioral/skills-based standards rather than truly academic standards. The data produced under this language could resemble a psychological profile of the student. Sec. 1111(b)(2)(B)(xi). States in the PARCC or Smarter Balanced assessment consortia are obligated to make those profiles available to USED.
- HR 5 does nothing to stop the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) from implementing its planned and unconstitutional affective profiling
- Title I funding includes funding for coordination of all sorts of health and social services, including mental health.
This is starkly unlike the amendments to ECAA in the Senate that added several more mental health provisions on top of too many that were already there. Both NCLB rewrites plus the education research bill, Strengthening Research Through Education (SETRA), plus plans in the NAEP, and the Common Core standards and tests themselves show an enormous need for the language prohibiting psychological profiling that is in Senator David Vitter's Student Privacy Protection Act (SPPA S 1341). Unfortunately, such language is nowhere to be found in the House Student Privacy Protection Act (HR 3157) that was just introduced on July 21st by Reps. Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH).
This issue is critical to be dealt with in the ESEA/NCLB rewrites, in SETRA, and in the modernization of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in this new privacy bill HR 3157. However, given the influence of the corporations that thrive on our students' psychological data or profit from the sale of dangerous and ineffective psychotropic medications, whether that will happen remains to be seen.
Still, it is hoped that these problems can be discussed both for the conference committee for the ESEA/NCLB and for the upcoming reauthorization of Head Start. Unfortunately the president and the Democrats support early childhood programs and that will be an issue in conference discussions.