Saturday, December 12, 2015

Stanford's Robert Sapolsky On Depression

Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky, posits that depression is the most damaging disease that you can experience. Right now it is the number four cause of disability in the US and it is becoming more common.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ESSA - reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Are Private Schools Still Private?

Pages 186-187, 833-840

13 Section 1117, as redesignated by section 1000(3), is
14 amended—
15 (1) in subsection (a)—
16 (A) by striking paragraph (1) and insert-
17 ing the following:
18 ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—To the extent consistent
19 with the number of eligible children identified under
20 section 1115(c) in the school district served by a
21 local educational agency who are enrolled in private
22 elementary schools and secondary schools, a local
23 educational agency shall—
24 ‘‘(A) after timely and meaningful consulta-
25 tion with appropriate private school officials,
1 provide such children, on an equitable basis and
2 individually or in combination, as requested by
3 the officials to best meet the needs of such chil-
4 dren, special educational services, instructional
5 services (including evaluations to determine the
6 progress being made in meeting such students’
7 academic needs), counseling, mentoring, one-on-
8 one tutoring, or other benefits under this part
9 (such as dual or concurrent enrollment, edu-
10 cational radio and television, computer equip-
11 ment and materials, other technology, and mo-
12 bile educational services and equipment) that
13 address their needs; and
14 ‘‘(B) ensure that teachers and families of
15 the children participate, on an equitable basis,
16 in services and activities developed pursuant to
17 section 1116.’’;
18 (B) by striking paragraph (3) and insert-
19 ing the following:
20 ‘‘(3) EQUITY.—
21 ‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—Educational services
22 and other benefits for such private school chil-
23 dren shall be equitable in comparison to serv-
24 ices and other benefits for public school chil
1 dren participating under this part, and shall be
2 provided in a timely manner.
3 ‘‘(B) OMBUDSMAN.—To help ensure such
4 equity for such private school children, teach-
5 ers, and other educational personnel, the State
6 educational agency involved shall designate an
7 ombudsman to monitor and enforce the require-
8 ments of this part.’’;

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dyslexia, self-harm and attempted suicide

"They want to escape a world they feel excluded from, they also see the pain and anguish they are putting their parents through and want to save them from further pain. Sadly many dyslexics do take their lives but such deaths are unrecorded as they haven’t left a suicide note, as that would require writing, a task they feel is very hard and they want an escape from."

Neil Alexander-Passe is the Head of Learning Support (SENCO) at Mill Hill School in London, UK


Dyslexia, self-harm and attempted suicide

The lifelong social and emotional effects of dyslexia

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Case Study of Jemicy School to Determine Practices Conducive to Developing Creative Potential of Dyslexic Children

 by Brenda Sue Graves, East Tennessee State University

"The Society for Neuroscience (2004) pointed out that youth with untreated dyslexia are more likely than their nondyslexic peers are to drop out of high school and become unemployed, underemployed, or incarcerated.
Many social and emotional problems directly relate to dyslexia. Barbara Bush, former first lady and the parent of a child with dyslexia, noted that learning disabilities can destroy lives  (as cited in Audiblox 2000, 2006). Ryan (2004) stated that dyslexia obviously affects self-image  because dyslexic people frequently feel “dumb and less capable than they really are" (p. 1). These feelings of inadequacy begin to develop in students when reading instruction does not match their learning style. Over the years, the frustration builds and centers on their ability to meet the expectations of others; this is only surpassed by their inability to achieve their own goals. According to Ryan:

The development of perfectionist expectations, to deal with anxiety, often stems from this  frustration because dyslexic children grow up believing that it is ‘terrible to make a  mistake,’ yet the nature of dyslexia will cause them to make careless and stupid mistakes which makes them feel chronically inadequate. (p.1)

Although dyslexia certainly causes difficulties for children, many of them are bright and capable. According to Marshall (2004), dyslexia also seems to be associated with many strengths and talents. Dyslexic children tend to be creative thinkers; they are also highly imaginative and frequently excel in art, music, or drama. They are often good problem solvers with a knack for thinking outside the box. Adult dyslexics usually do well in careers like engineering, design, and architecture (Marshall). According to Shaywitz (2003), dyslexics appear to be excessively represented in the upper echelons of creativity. They include people in all career fields who have broken through a boundary to make a real difference in society.

Unfortunately, some people with dyslexia do not have stories of success. The question that needs to be asked is why?
Former vice president of the United States and governor of  the state of New York, Nelson  Rockefeller, recalled his feelings about growing up with dyslexia:

I was dyslexic... and I still have a hard time reading today.   I remember vividly the pain and mortification I felt as a boy of 8 when I was assigned to read a short passage of  scripture at a community vesper service and did a thoroughly  miserable job of it.  I know what a dyslexic child goes through... the frustration of not being able to do what other children can do easily, the humiliation of being thought not too bright when such is not the case at all. 

(as cited in Audiblox 2000, 2006, p. 3)

"I remember I used to never be able to get along at school. I was al ways at the foot of the father thought I was stupid, and I almost decided that I was a dunce" [Thomas Alva Edison, scientist, inventor, and dyslexic] ( as cited in Donnelly, 2000, p. 13).

What ESSA Really Says: Every Student Succeeds Act, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

"Do me a favor, count how many times 

   you read the words "the secretary."

Pg 46 ‘‘(7) FAILURE TO MEET REQUIREMENTS.—If a 21 State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section, the Secretary may withhold funds for State administration under this part until the Secretary determines that the State has fulfilled those requirements.
‘‘(viii) Information submitted by the State educational agency and each local educational agency in the State, in accordance with data collection conducted pursu- ant to section 203(c)(1) of the Department of Education Organization Act (20 U.S.C. 3413(c)(1)), on—
‘‘(I) measures of school quality, climate, and safety, including rates of in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, school-related arrests, referrals to law enforcement, chronic absenteeism (including both excused and unexcused absences), incidences of violence, including bullying and harassment; and
P.85 .Data Tracking of any indicators
‘‘(II) For purposes of subclause (I),the State may include measures of— ‘‘(III) student engagement;‘‘(IV) educator engagement;‘‘(V) student access to and completion of advanced coursework;‘‘(VI) postsecondary readiness;‘‘(VII) school climate and safety; and‘‘(VIII) ANY OTHER INDICATOR the State chooses that meets the requirements of this clause

Does the Government also intend to regulate private schools? See pages 186-187, 833-840

13 Section 1117, as redesignated by section 1000(3), is
14 amended—
15 (1) in subsection (a)—
16 (A) by striking paragraph (1) and insert-
17 ing the following:
18 ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—To the extent consistent
19 with the number of eligible children identified under
20 section 1115(c) in the school district served by a
21 local educational agency who are enrolled in private
22 elementary schools and secondary schools, a local
23 educational agency shall—
24 ‘‘(A) after timely and meaningful consulta-
25 tion with appropriate private school officials,
1 provide such children, on an equitable basis and
2 individually or in combination, as requested by
3 the officials to best meet the needs of such chil-
4 dren, special educational services, instructional
5 services (including evaluations to determine the
6 progress being made in meeting such students’
7 academic needs), counseling, mentoring, one-on-
8 one tutoring, or other benefits under this part
9 (such as dual or concurrent enrollment, edu-
10 cational radio and television, computer equip-
11 ment and materials, other technology, and mo-
12 bile educational services and equipment) that
13 address their needs; and
14 ‘‘(B) ensure that teachers and families of
15 the children participate, on an equitable basis,
16 in services and activities developed pursuant to
17 section 1116.’’;
18 (B) by striking paragraph (3) and insert-
19 ing the following:
20 ‘‘(3) EQUITY.—
21 ‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—Educational services
22 and other benefits for such private school chil-
23 dren shall be equitable in comparison to serv-
24 ices and other benefits for public school chil
1 dren participating under this part, and shall be
2 provided in a timely manner.
3 ‘‘(B) OMBUDSMAN.—To help ensure such
4 equity for such private school children, teach-
5 ers, and other educational personnel, the State
6 educational agency involved shall designate an
7 ombudsman to monitor and enforce the require-
8 ments of this part.’’;


(b) ASSISTANCE TO OUTLYING AREAS.—5 ‘‘(1) FUNDS RESERVED.—From the amount made available for any fiscal year under subsection7 (a)(1), the Secretary shall—8 ‘‘(A) first reserve $1,000,000 for the Republic of Palau, until Palau enters into an agreement for extension of United States educational assistance under the Compact of FreeAssociation, and subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary may establish, except that Public Law 95–134, permitting the consolidation of grants, shall not apply;

States are gathering data and reporting to “the Secretary”

‘(ix) gather data, solicit regular feedback from teachers, principals, other school leaders, and parents, and assess the results of each year of the program of demonstration authority under this section, and respond by making needed changes to the innovative assessment system; and
‘‘(x) report data from the innovative assessment system annually to the Secretary, including—
19 ‘‘(i) a description of the local educational agencies within the State educational agency that will participate, including what criteria the State has for approving any additional local educational agencies to participate during the demonstration authority period;

  1. ‘‘(h) NONCOMPLIANCE.—The Secretary may, after

  2. 15  providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing (includ-
  3. 16  ing the opportunity to provide supporting evidence as pro-
  4. 17  vided for in subsection (i)), terminate a local flexibility
  5. 18  demonstration agreement under this section if there is evi-
  6. 19  dence that the local educational agency has failed to com-
  7. 20  ply with the terms of the agreement and the requirements
  8. 21  under subsections (d) and (e).

Incentivized teaching

to improve within-district equity in the distribution of teachers, consistent with sec- tion 1111(g)(1)(B), such as initiatives that pro- vide—
‘‘(i) expert help in screening can- didates and enabling early hiring;
‘‘(ii) differential and incentive pay for teachers, principals, or other school leaders in high-need academic subject areas and specialty areas, which may include per- formance-based pay systems;
‘‘(iii) teacher, paraprofessional, prin- cipal, or other school leader advancement and professional growth, and an emphasis on leadership opportunities, multiple career paths, and pay differentiation

P348 Human capital

  1. (2) to study and review performance-based
  2. 9  compensation systems or human capital manage-
  3. 10  ment systems for teachers, principals, or other
  4. 11  school leaders to evaluate the effectiveness, fairness,
  5. 12  quality, consistency, and reliability of the systems
3) HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.— The term ‘human capital management system’ means a system—
‘‘(A) by which a local educational agency makes and implements human capital decisions, such as decisions on preparation, recruitment, hiring, placement, retention, dismissal, compensation, professional development, tenure, and promotion; and
‘‘(B) that includes a performance-based compensation system.
‘‘(4) PERFORMANCE-BASED COMPENSATION SYSTEM.—The term ‘performance-based compensation system’ means a system of compensation for teachers, principals, or other school leaders”

Are our students Human Capital or are they children?

Teachers and Administrators See pages p350-359!

1 ‘‘SEC. 2212. TEACHER AND SCHOOL LEADER INCENTIVE 2 FUND GRANTS. 3 ‘‘(a) GRANTS AUTHORIZED.—From the amounts reserved by the Secretary under section 2201(1), the Secretary shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities to enable the eligible entities to develop, implement, improve, or expand performance-based compensation systems or human capital management systems, in schools served by the eligible entity.

‘‘(B) use evidence-based screening assessments for early identification of such students beginning not later than kindergarten;

P 453
23 ‘‘(6) SCHOOL-BASED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES PROVIDER.—The term ‘school-based mental 25 health services provider’ includes a State-licensed or State-certified school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, or other State licensed or certified mental health professional qualified underState law to provide mental health services to children and adolescents
see also p 479

Pages 599-618 are in my opinion the scariest section of the bill. They prescribe expanded learning time, pipeline services, full-service community schools, neighborhoods of promise and ‘‘(B) A needs assessment that identifies the academic, physical, nonacademic, health, mental health, and other needs of students, families, and community residents. This is federal intrusion into the home, the neighborhood and the health records of students.

Also see p 617.

Pgs 599-608
Expanded learning time

‘‘(ii) ensuring appropriate diagnostic assessments and referrals for children with disabilities and children aged 3 through 9 experiencing developmental delays, consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.), where applicable.
‘‘(B) Supporting, enhancing, operating, or expanding rigorous, comprehensive, effective educational improvements, which may include high-quality academic programs, expanded learning time, and programs and activities to prepare students for postsecondary education admissions and success.


Needs assessment for pipeline services

‘‘(B) A needs assessment that identifies
the academic, physical, nonacademic, health, mental health, and other needs of students, families, and community residents

13 ‘‘(22) EXPANDED LEARNING TIME.—The term
14 ‘expanded learning time’ means using a longer
15 school day, week, or year schedule to significantly
16 increase the total number of school hours, in order
17 to include additional time for—‘‘(A) activities and instruction for enrichment as part of a well-rounded education; and ‘‘(B) instructional and support staff to collaborate, plan, and engage in professional development (including professional development on family and community engagement) within and
across grades and subjects. P 783


Starting on Page 784 line 12
Data must be collected annually by State educational agencies for submission to the National Center for Education Statistics under section 153 of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (20 U.S.C. 9543),
p. 793
PROGRAMS NOT PROVIDING CREDIT.—Except as provided in subparagraph (A)(ii)(I)(bb), a student who is retained in grade or who is enrolled in a program leading to a general equivalency diploma, or other alternative educational program that does not issue or provide credit toward the issuance of a regular high school diploma, shall not be considered transferred out and shall remain in the adjusted cohort.


To understand how a poor kid from Coconut Grove grew up to become one of the leading rushers in NFL history, you must first learn about the making of Frank Gore.

"Gore suffered from a severe form of dyslexia and struggled mightily with reading and writing, relegating him to an education curriculum that would earn him only a special education diploma.
"It would have prevented him from going to college," Montoya said.
Montoya helped spearhead an effort to have Gore transferred to a regular curriculum. That would take specialized tutoring. And it would require sustained effort from Gore himself. But it provided a path to his dream, which was all he ever wanted."

"If just one of those twists in his path had not occurred, perhaps he would be slightly less determined. Maybe he'd be more easily satisfied. He could be just a little less driven."

Monday, December 7, 2015

Neuropsychological and Psychological Testing

"Psychological and neuropsychological testing has been used in the educational context in children with suspicion of a learning disorder leading to changes in school performance, so as to differentiate between mental subnormality, emotional disturbance, and the specific learning disabilities in speech and reading (e.g., dyslexia).  Psychological and neuropsychological testing are also used to develop a specialized treatment plan to help the child improve the performance of these cognitive functions leading to a better performance in school, work, and personal relationships.  However, psychological and neuropsychological testing for educational reasons is not covered, as standard Aetna benefit plans exclude educational testing.  In addition, psychological and neuropsychological testing performed for educational reasons is not considered treatment of disease.  This testing is usually provided by school systems under applicable state and federal rules." 


"I Don't Think We Have a Specific Program for Dyslexia" - Secretary Educ...

Cassidy Remarks on Dyslexia Amendment to Every Child Achieves Act of 2015

Dyslexia ESEA NCLB Amendment Defeated in Senate April 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Every Student Succeeds Act: More Programs and Federal Intervention in Pre-K and K–12 Education

By Lindsey Burke

In November 2015, Congress proposed reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) would reauthorize ESEA with high levels of spending and dozens of ineffective programs, while creating additional programs. Any proposal to reauthorize ESEA should include portability for Title I funding—the bulk of spending under the law, designated for low-income school districts—in order to empower poor children to access learning options that work well for them. Proposals should also allow states to completely opt out of the programs under ESEA, through the A-PLUS provision, in order to direct dollars to state and local education priorities and limit federal intervention in education. Any reauthorization should streamline programs and end the federal education spending spree. As proposed, ESSA does not accomplish these critical policy priorities.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Letter to Congress and Compiled Notes from Alyson Williams and 50 Citizen Readers on ESEA “Every Student Succeeds Act”

Dear Representative:
Over the past day and a half, 50 local parents and a number of our friends from other state have pulled themselves away from all our daily responsibilities to divide up and read every page of this monstrosity of a bill, ESSA, that will be voted on today. There isn’t a person alive who can read and fairly understand that much legal language with all the cross-references in such a short period of time and we are very upset about it. This represents the worst of the corruption we’ve come to expect from Congress and are especially disappointed that it is coming at the hands of a conservative leadership and a newly appointed Speaker of the House who spoke so eloquently against this very thing just weeks ago. This is not what self-government looks like.
As a justification for the outrageous timeline, I’ve been reminded that the language in this bill has been available for months in the form of the House and Senate versions that went into the conference, except that it is missing some of the very amendments that were used as justification of your vote back then. I think this is like saying that I saw the recipe book, so I should be happy to eat whatever ends up or doesn’t end up on my plate in some unrecognizable blob.
A yes vote also can’t be justified with arguments about the urgency to incrementally improve the status quo. No Child Left Behind has sat, technically expired since 2007. Why the rush now, less than a year before we have a chance to elect a more conservative President? I know it is because there are many things in this bill that don’t match up with the marketing being used to sell it, and that it cannot stand up to scrutiny.
I have been compiling the notes and concerns of all the parents who have been reading sections of the bill, and the feedback is still coming in. In spite of all this effort, we are out of time, so allow me to summarize just a few of the concerns here.
First, we are being told that this bill gives the Secretary of Education “unprecedented” restrictions and yet every version of ESEA has contained the restriction against the very things specified in this version. Here’s just one example:

ESEA 1965
“Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an officer or employee of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school’s curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of State and local resources, or mandate a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this Act.”

Am I to believe that just because this specifically uses the title of Secretary, instead of “officer or employee of the Federal Government” that this is unprecedented? The truth is, the restrictions have always been there, but have not been enforced. This bill repeats a few of these same kinds of historically unenforced restrictions using new language, but then goes on with pages and pages of allowing the Secretary great discretion to use funding to approve or deny State programs to his satisfaction. The power of the purse, is just that, powerful. That is why it was vested in Congress and not in the Executive branch.
Most of the parents who’ve worked together this week met each other in our activism to oppose Common Core. We’ve been told that this bill pushes back against Common Core. But that claim is also misleading. Starting on page 7, line 18 of the current version for example, we see the termination of “certain” waivers. This section is very specific and blocks or phases out very specific programs for which all the damage has already been done. But, it’s worse than that. Who needs grant competitions to motivate reform when you can put the same reforms you were trying to incentivize into the law itself?
For example, one of the reasons parents oppose Common Core and its linked reforms is because it accelerates the transformation of public education into a workforce planning pipeline complete with government managed data profiles. This bill codifies that, and it extends this pipeline down to toddlers in preschool.
Historically, the purpose of American education was to nurture the development of self-governing citizens, with work being incidental to that development. Our Founding Fathers and other great thinkers were who they were because they studied the great works, not work itself. This nation has uniquely thrived according to the principle that a free market with good people works better than attempts at planned markets with efficiently trained workers. The latter is a socialist concept.
This bill includes one of the latest profiteering scams for well-connected cronies as well, called a social impact bond, in the Pay for Success Initiative on page 797. I did a lot of research on this a few years ago when they were trying to get a new state funded preschool program started in Utah using this. The legislators liked it because of the promise that they would only pay for results, but the specific terms were defined privately, outside the legislation (a benefit to public private partnerships to those who profit from them) as impossible to fail and then be paid the cost of the program, plus interest. It misdiagnosed a problem (equivocation of socioeconomic status with special ed services) created a new government entitlement to supposedly fix it, expanded the collection of data and subjected tiny kids to more assessments in order to justify “results.” It was basically a way to grease the passage of and divert funding to a program that may not exist in the first place if it had to be justified and paid for up front. Buy now, pay later. Goldman seems to have discovered that legislatively guaranteed percentage returns on the backs of the taxpayer are more reliable than the stock market.…/d…/did-goldman-make-the-grade.html…

We’ve been told that this bill returns authority to the states over teacher accountability, but it requires that States set accountability with certain characteristics, like teacher pay tied to assessments. This is not a true shift of control but a shift of enforcement and masks the Federal government’s continuing and expanding role. I’ve read the talking points being handed out to the teachers from their unions and believe they are, once again, being misled on how this will affect their careers.

The truth is as parents we want to support our children’s teachers. We hated the Common Core assessments (I was one of the 15 parents on the Utah parent panel that got to see the actual assessment items) and we worked to get a new law passed in Utah to protect the teachers and schools from the State level impact when we exercised our parental right to refuse these poorly designed tests. We could not affect the federal requirements in the same way and we do want to see that addressed. This bill, however fails as an effective remedy. It does mention on page 76 that these state laws on opting out will be honored, but the bill still requires a 95% participation rate with consequences for Title 1 funding. This puts the teachers in an impossible position between honoring the parent’s stewardship and the pressure to test the kids for accountability and funding purposes. In other words, the bill says that USED honors parents’ and states’ rights, then enables them to hold the teacher and school funding hostage to get the conformity they need.
We are concerned about the school based health centers and services, especially the vague language that provides funding for and grants access to our children in school to “community health centers” and “non-profit health care agencies.” We’re concerned about language encouraging all kinds of assessments that go beyond academic measures. The vague language seems to grant access to groups like Planned Parenthood or mental health assessments and interventions without parental consent or the same ethical restrictions enforced for private medical practice:…/11-year-old-girls-can-get-iuds… and…/a-mental-health-prof…/
We are concerned about all the data being collected by government about our kids, data collection practices that are expanded and encouraged in this bill. It’s not very reassuring to read about how student privacy will be protected under a section heading “Sense of Congress” (page 859), which I learned after looking it up, means it’s like a nonbinding resolution or suggestion. In light of the recent information security review of the Department of Education, in which Representative Chaffetz participated, it is knowingly irresponsible in this environment to fund, encourage, or expand student data collection practices:…/utah-rep-jason-ch…/
I think Representative Chaffetz can understand from his own experience why parents might not be thrilled with the idea of state or federal government amassing life-long data profiles of all the successes and failures, aptitudes and weaknesses of the academic, health, socioeconomic and subjective behavioral assessments of our children.…/jason-chaffetzs-file-lea…/…
We can’t see these profiles or verify their accuracy. We can’t limit their use or the information being shared with a seemingly endless list of stakeholders, and we can’t opt out. When did this become a government of the data, by the data and for the data?
There’s so much more I would like to say if I had the time. (Can you imagine how fun it is to miss sleep and appointments to try to make sense of something that will impact your child’s life so seriously and while digging through hundreds of pages come across stuff like a posthumous pardon of a wronged boxer (page 914)? What a joke! I literally laughed at that through tears of frustration.
The bottom line is this is not an improvement over the last terrible version of the bill. One mom summed it like this, “incredible federal overreach; hands-on, in the classroom micromanagement; hazy definitions of terms; blatantly contradictory policies; and lots of ambiguities. It is the perfect recipe for a complete removal of local (teacher/parent) control.”
Please vote NO.
Alyson Williams
Utahns Against Common Core

From Utah:The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA or No Child Left Behind Reauthorization)

by Christel Lane Swasey

Hold Congress accountable.  Call and tweet.  Call 202-224-3121 to tell Congress: vote no.    We, the people, are watching this vote.
Now, to business of this bill.
I’ll post the page number or section, the direct quote from the bill, and why it’s a concern. (There is no way this will be thoroughly done in so little time.  Not a chance. But it will give you the gist of the bill.  And you will understand why pushers have gotten into the habit of putting out lying talking points –“reduce the federal footprint”; “restore power to states”– to get the darn bills passed.)

“EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT OF 2015”  aka ESEA  link here)

If you read the title and the table of contents, you will see the micromanagement right away.  But let’s start with section 1003.  It deals with money and how states will be micromanaged if they want to see any of it.  The bill calls it “School Improvement.”  I’ve renamed it “How States Can Beg for A Piece of Their Own Tax Dollars Back“.
Here, the feds dictate (page 24) what percentage of funds the state will use and for what purpose.  (7 percent for this, not less than 95 percent for that, 3 percent for this… on and on through page 32).
The feds dictate that the states then must turn around and inflict fed-like micromanagement on localities; they must be “monitoring and evaluating the use of funds by local education agencies” (page 26) and must give out monies to localities only if they “demonstrate the strongest commitment to using funds…[as feds see fit] and states must “align other Federal, State and local resources“.
(There’s that word “align” that we have read ten billion times in the past four years as we read official documents implementing Common Core and Common Data Standards.  The word pops up again on page 33:  “coursework that is aligned with the challenging State academic standards“.  They’ve now dropped  references to Common Core State Standards as well as any reference to College and Career Ready Standards.  But the word “aligned” they have not dropped.  It’s in the document 72 times, and,  notably, the word “standards” is in the document 269 times and “challenging state academic standards” is repeated 24 times; just not “Common Core” labeled anymore.  To me, “align” in ed reform now means to superglue to a global sameness; it means forget about scholastic creativity or imagination; it means forget about originality or home-grown ideas and powers.  It means that you are not represented; you are assimilated.   But I am off on a tangent.)
Pages 34 and 35 repeat the mantra that funds must be prioritized to low-achievers.  (First of all, how dare you tell a state how to prioritize its funds?  Secondly, how are the feds so sure that mid and high achievers won’t mind losing funding for their misdeed of having achieved?  Are mid or high achievers’ needs not all that important, anyway?)  Harrison Bergeron comes to mind; this is the Handicapper General at work.
Page 36 promises “a sufficient number of options to provide a meaningful choice for parents” which is a lie, of course; think about it.  Federal laws and conditional monies mean using federally approved standards and tests and CURRICULUM in every school receiving federal funds.  This is far from meaningful and it represents an extremely narrowed and controlled set of choices.  Meaningful does not happen in an atmosphere of standardized everything, just as wonderous meals do not bloom in the kitchens of McDonald’s.
Page 37 dictates that American tax dollars may only “provide instruction and content that is secular“.  This is old news.  But it is not old news that federal funds are increasingly being offered to private schools.  Does this mean that the feds are softening and will share taxpayers’ dollars with those who choose to attend private religious schools?  No.  It means that private schools are being coerced to secularize their core curricula and services so that they may receive federal money.
Page 38 is Section 1111:  STATE PLANS.
We’ll rename this one “Mother May I?”  (Thanks, Wendy Hart.)
States say:  “Mother, May I adopt these standards?”  Secretary of Education or his appointees say “no”.  Rinse and repeat until states eventually ask to adopt what the Secretary has already settled upon.  Here’s how it works:
Page 38:  “…State educational agency shall file will the Secretary a plan” which must meet, among other things, “Secretarial Approval” (page 39 line 23) and must be approved by a review team appointed by the federal Secretary of Education. (page 39-40)  That team (page 42) will have the authority to disapprove a state plan.  The state may revise its plan, appeal for a hearing (page 43) but ultimately, the process will “promote effective implementation of the challenging State academic standards [aka Common Core]” (page 43).
If ANYONE tries to tell you that this bill gives power to the States, point to these pages.  With such huge veto-wielding power, and review team appointing power, the Secretary becomes king over anything any state wants to do.  This is not good.  You can stop here.  That’s enough ammo.  VOTE NO.
I have to point out some sickening hypocrisy on page 44.  The review team must provide “objective feedback to the States” with “respect for State and local judgments with the goal of supporting State and local-led innovation“.  If your goal is to support State innovation, why not return to the Constitution which gives exactly ZERO authority to the feds in anything relating to education, tests, standards, or teachers!?
More hypocrisy on the same page: “Neither the Secretary nor the political appointees of the Department may attempt to participate in or influence the peer review process”.
On page 45:  “If a state makes significant changes to its plan at any time, such as the adoption of new challenging State academic standards or new academic assessments or changes to its accountability system… such information shall be submitted to the Secretary…”
Same page:  “If a State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section, the Secretary may withhold funds…” MICROMANAGEMENT HEAVEN.

A bit of a toothless joke on page 47:  “The State, in the plan it files… shall provide an assurance that public comments were taken into account”.
Page 47 also gives us this sobering mouthful:  “Each state, in the plan it files… shall provide an assurance that the State has adopted challenging academic content standards and aligned academic achievement standards (referred to in this Act as ‘challenging State academic standards’), which achievement standards shall include not  less than 3 levels of achievement…”  If you have studied how children are assessed, tracked and predestined to relegated top, middle, or bottom schools and careers in nations shackled by communism and socialism, this will make you very unhappy.
Page 48 says the state MUST align its standards to colleges and to tech-ed schools.
Page 49 says that only a small percentage of special education students– those with “the most significant cognitive disabilities” may be excused, and may use alternate standards, and only then if those alternate standards are “aligned with the challenging State academic content standards”.  On page 50 it adds that that severely disabled person must be “on track to pursue postsecondary education or employment” whether they want to or not.  The feds are not kind to special education students.  And they won’t let states determine these matters anymore.  Sadly, we already knew all of this was coming.
Page 51 offers us another blistering contradiction:  “The Secretary shall not have the authority to mandate, direct, control, coerce, or exercise any direction or supervision over any of the challenging State academic standards…”  Tell me how that works with page 45.   He can withhold funds and disapprove plans if the state files a plan that he doesn’t like for a slew of reasons that could include using curriculum, tests or standards that aren’t aligned to his vision of fed ed and he can mandate that the state has to use the exact same standards in every one of its schools (page 52 line 21) — but he in no way supervises the State’s standards?
Page 52 deals with “Academic Assessments”.  Feds dictate to states that the tests shall be the same in every school in the state (line 23) and that they will be “administered to all public elementary and secondary school students in the State” (page 53).  Does this end –or aim to end– the parental right to opt out of testing?  (See page 76 below)
Page  53 is an admission.  The bill says that the tests may not be used to “publically disclose personally identifiable information”.   They can’t disclose it publicly, but they can sure store it indefinitely.
Subtly, page 53 forces Common Educational Data Standards because the feds dictate that state tests must be:  “consistent with relevant, nationally recognized professional and technical testing standards”.
Next, the dictators tell states when and how much to test children:
page 54:  in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (every year) for math and language arts
in grades 9, 10, 11, 12 (at least once)
in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 for science (at least three times in those years)
On page 55, the dictators bring down the hammer:  “the participation in such assessments of all students”.  ALL.
On page 58 we see the racism and other -isms of the Department of Education: States are told that they must disaggregate test data by ethnicity, race, economics, disability, English proficiency, gender, and migrant status. 
On page 59 we see the toxic term “universal design for learning“.  Tests are to be developed using IMS Global education standards.  This means not just state or national, but global sameness and tracking.  Is that a good idea or a bad one?  Is that something that we ought to have Congress think about for more than one day prior to a vote?
On page 61 the feds are dictating to states that no more than one percent of students may be considered so disabled that they may take alternate-standards-based tests.  “The total number of students assessed… using alternate assessments does  not exceed 1 percent of the total number of all students in the State”.  Later, on page 65, the bill says that there is no cap; but that schools must submit information “justifying the need to exceed such a cap”.  It also notes that the State shall provide “oversight” of any school required to submit justifying information.  In other words, States must show that they are monitoring schools’ decision making.
How would the federal government ever know whether a state happened to have fewer, or a greater number of students who needed and deserved something other than what the highest achieving students can and should do?  On what basis does it dictate one percent?  What if my child is severely disabled and is forced to take the common tests and to be taught to common standards inappropriate for him or her, because of the high number of students with disabilties?  How does that bless my child?
On page 62 they’re dictating “universal design for learning” again; this time, for severely disabled special education testing.
Page 66 is literally jaw-dropping to me.  It says that if the state “provides evidence which is satisfactory to the Secretary that neither the State Educational Agency nor any other State government official… has sufficient authority under State law to adopt challenging State academic standards and academic assessments aligned with such standards [aka Common Core standards and tests] which will be applicable to all students enrolled in the State’s public elementary schools and secondary schools, then the State educational agency may meet the requirements…”  by aligning unofficially anyway, by meeting “all of the criteria…and any regulations… that the Secretary may publish”.  (page 67)   If your state law doesn’t allow for one size fits all, then adopt and implement policies that ensure that you are aligned anyway, or lose funding.  Talk about kicking Constitutional rights in the teeth.  This is dictatorship.
On page 69, states are told to dictate to schools again.  They must filter tests through the filter of “already been approved” (line 18) or they must “conduct a review of the assessment to determine if such assessment meets or exceeds the technical criteria” that has to be “established” (line 9) by the state.  This sounds to me like more herding of everybody into IMS Global’s universal design for learning.
On page 73, it almost sounds good until you finish the sentence.  It begins, “a State retains the right to develop and administer computer adaptive assessments, provided that….” and then we lose all the rights again, because they have to be aligned, aligned, aligned.
On page 76, it says that States can still decide whether or not to allow parents to opt out of testing but limits that concept to one paragraph:  “nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preempting State” law.  So, in the rest of the over-1000-page bill, something might.  This is not making me feel better.
How many dictatorial mandates, contradictions, hypocrises, manipulations and usurpations of local control have I related in this first tiny section of this bill?
Now, it is 1:30 a.m.   I have to go to sleep.
There are 985 pages that I (and probably my congressional reps) are leaving unread.  
–In a few short hours, Congress votes anyway.  Watch it here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Conforming Amendments


1 (c) ADULT EDUCATION AND LITERACY ACT.—Paragraph (8) of section 203
14 (d) AGE DISCRIMINATION ACT OF 1975.—Section 309(4)(B)(ii)
20 (e) AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT OF 1967.—Section 4(l)(1)(B)(i)(I)

3 (f) AGRICULTURAL ACT OF 2014.—Section 7606(a)
23 (i) AMERICA COMPETES ACT.—The America COMPETES Act (Public Law 110–69)

20 (k) ANTI-DRUG ABUSE ACT OF 1988.—Section 3521(d)(8)(A)

6  Native Hawaiian Education Act
8 (m) ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY ACT OF 1998.—Section 4(c)(2)(B)(i)(V)



16 (r) CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964.—Section 606(2)(B) 
23 (s) COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934.—Section 254(h) 


6 (w) DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SCIENCE EDUCATION ENHANCEMENT ACT.—Section 3181(a)(1) of the Department of Energy Science Education Enhancement Act (42 U.S.C. 7381l(a)(1)) is amended by striking ‘‘with a high concentration of low-income individuals (as defined in section 1707 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6537))’’ and inserting ‘‘in which 40 percent or more of the students attending the schools are children from low-income families’’.


1 (z) DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SCHOOL REFORM ACT OF 1995.—Section 2210(a) of the District of Columbia School Reform Act of 1995 (sec. 38–1802.10(a), D.C. Official Code) is amended by striking paragraph (6) and inserting the following:
6 ‘‘(6) INAPPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN ESEA PROVISIONS.—The following provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 shall not apply to a public charter school.

18 (aa) EARTHQUAKE HAZARDS.—Section 2(c)(1)(A) of the Act 

3 (bb) EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1972—Section 4 908(2)(B)
11 (cc) EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1978.—Part B of title XI

1 (dd) EDUCATION FOR ECONOMIC SECURITY ACT.—The Education for Economic Security Act (20 U.S.C.
3 3901 et seq.)

16 (ee) EDUCATION OF THE DEAF ACT OF 1986.—Section 104(b)(5) of the Education of the Deaf Act of 1986 (20 U.S.C. 4304(b)(5)) is amended— 

1 (ff) EDUCATION SCIENCES REFORM ACT OF 2002. (20 U.S.C. 9501 et seq.) is amended

1 (gg) EDUCATIONAL TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ACT OF 2002. (20 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.) is amended

16 (hh) FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT OF 1993.—Section 108(a)(1)(A)


1 (ll) FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ACT OF 1977.—Section 1417(j)(1)(B)
7 (mm) GENERAL EDUCATION PROVISIONS ACT (20 U.S.C. 1221 et seq.) (2) Section 426 (20 U.S.C. 1228) is amended by striking ‘‘title VIII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, but not including any portion of such funds as are attributable to children counted under section 8003(d) of such Act or residing on property described in section 8013(10) of such Act.’’

21 (nn) HEAD START ACT.—The Head Start Act (42 U.S.C. 9831 et seq.) is amended 

4 (oo) HIGHER EDUCATION ACT OF 1965.—The Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.) is amended

6 (pp) IMPACT AID IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2012 7 Section 563(c)(1) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Public Law 112–239; 126 Stat. 1748; 20 U.S.C. 7702 note) as amended by section 7001(a), is further amended

3 (qq) INDIAN HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT ACT.— Section 726(b)(3)(D)(iii) of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1667e(b)(3)(D)(iii)) is amended by striking ‘‘a school receiving payments under section 8002 or 8003 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7702, 7703).’’ and inserting ‘‘a school receiving payments under section 7002 or 7003 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.’’
11 (rr) INDIAN SELF-DETERMINATION AND EDUCATION ASSISTANCE ACT.—Section 209 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 458e) is amended

3 (tt) NATIONAL SECURITY ACT OF 1947.—Section 1015(2)(A (505 U.S.C. 441j-4(2)(A)) is amended
10 (uu) INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986.—The Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended

3 (vv) JAMES MADISON MEMORIAL FELLOWSHIP ACT.—Section 815(4) of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Act (20 U.S.C. 4514(4)) is amended
7 (ww) JOHN WARNER NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007.—Section 572(c) 10 2007 (Public Law 109-364; 120 Stat. 2226) is amended
15 (xx) LEGISLATIVE BRANCH APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 1987.—Section 104(3)(B)(ii)

11 (aaa) MUSEUM AND LIBRARY SERVICES ACT.—The Museum and Library Services Act (20 U.S.C. 9161 et 13 seq.)

15 (bbb) NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE ACT OF 1990.—The National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12501 et seq.) is amended 



21 (ggg) NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2002. (Public Law 107–368; 116 Stat. 3034)

23 (hhh) NATIONAL SECURITY ACT OF 1947.—Section 1015(2)(A) 


10 (kkk) PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT.—The Public Health Service Act 

9 (lll) REFUGEE EDUCATION ASSISTANCE ACT OF 1980.—Section 101(1) 
16 (mmm) REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973.—The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 701 et seq.)

6 (nnn) RICHARD B. RUSSELL NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH ACT.—The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) 
13 (ooo) SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT.—Section 1461 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300j–21(3)) 
24 (ppp) SCHOLARSHIPS FOR OPPORTUNITY AND RESULTS ACT. (division C of Public Law 112–10; sec. 38–1853.01 et seq., D.C. Official Code) 

6 (qqq) SOCIAL SECURITY ACT.—The Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) 
21 (rrr) STATE DEPENDENT CARE DEVELOPMENT GRANTS ACT.—Section 670G(6) of the State Dependent Care Development Grants Act (42 U.S.C. 9877(6)) 

23 (ttt) TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996.—Section 706(d)(2) 

4 (uuu) TITLE 10, UNITED STATES CODE.—Title 10 

18 (vvv) TITLE 23, UNITED STATES CODE.—Section 504(d)(4) of title 23, United States Code, is amended 

6 (www) TITLE 40, UNITED STATES CODE.—Section 502(c)(3)(C) of title 40
(xxx) TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL ACT.—The Toxic Substances Control Act (15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.) 

15 (yyy) WORKFORCE INNOVATION AND OPPORTUNITY ACT.—The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) is amended

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Use of the term "Highly Qualified" teacher...

6 (a) REFERENCES.—Beginning on the date of enactment
7 of this Act—
8 (1) any reference in sections 420N, 428J,
9 428K, and 460 of the Higher Education Act of 1965
10 (20 U.S.C. 1070g–2, 1078–10, 1078–11, and 1087j)
11 to the term ‘‘highly qualified’’ as defined in section
12 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education
13 Act of 1965 shall be treated as a reference to such
14 term under such section 9101 as in effect on the day
15 before the date of enactment of this Act; and
16 (2) any reference in section 6112 of the America
17 COMPETES Act (20 U.S.C. 9812), section 553
18 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of
19 2010 (20 U.S.C. 9903), and section 9 of the National
20 Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002
21 (42 U.S.C. 1862n), to ‘‘highly qualified’’, as defined
22 in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary
23 Education Act of 1965, with respect to a teacher,

24 means that the teacher meets applicable State certification
25 and licensure requirements, including any
1 requirements for certification obtained through alternative

2 routes to certification.

11 (2) in section 201(3), by striking ‘‘highly qualified
12 teachers’’ and inserting ‘‘teachers who meet the
13 applicable State certification and licensure require-
14 ments, including any requirements for certification
15 obtained through alternative routes to certification,
16 or, with regard to special education teachers, the
17 qualifications described in section 612(a)(14)(C) of
18 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’’; 

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Striking Charter Schools...

(2) CHARTER SCHOOLS.—Part B of title V (20
12 U.S.C. 7221 et seq.) (as amended by paragraph (1)
13 of this subsection) is—
14 (A) transferred to title IV (as amended by
15 section 2001 of this Act and subsection (a) of
16 this section);
17 (B) inserted so as to appear after part B
18 of such title;
19 (C) redesignated as part C of such title;
20 and
21 (D) further amended—
22 (i) in the part heading, by striking
[pg 446]
3 (ii) by striking the subpart heading
4 for subpart 1; and
5 (iii) by redesignating sections 5201
6 through 5211 as sections 4301 through
7 4311, respectively.
3 (ii) by striking the subpart heading
4 for subpart 1; and
5 (iii) by redesignating sections 5201
6 through 5211 as sections 4301 through
7 4311, respectively.