By Lazarevsky - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7655497By Lazarevsky - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7655497Posted by Mary Grabar, June 23, 2017: Is waiting for local control like waiting for Godot? It's looking that way. Barack Obama and the Big Government Republicans made sure that things were set in place so that states are mired in federal regulations with the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA). (Does the name remind you of anything? Like, "No Child Left Behind"? It's not only in Lake Wobegon that all children are gifted.) The bill was sold with the false promise of granting control back to the states, but as Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project warned, it actually gave MORE power to the feds.

The first sentence on the Department of Education's ESSA site says it all: "The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, and represents good news for our nation’s schools." (I recommend signing up for every newsletter at the Department of Education website; I've found that little has changed since "good news" President Obama.)

 

Not good news so far for Alabama, Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico: Jane Robbins and Emmet McGroarty describe the frustrations these states are experiencing in trying to comply with the ESSA regulations in their recent article at The Hill, "Republicans and the lost promise of local control in education." What these states are experiencing gives the lie to the promise of "local control." New Mexico is facing a long list of complaints from the feds who are asking such questions as How much weight are you giving to language arts? How will “closing opportunity gaps” work? How, exactly, will you move teachers around to ensure “equity”? And how will New Mexico ensure all students have the opportunity to be ready for advanced math in eighth grade? Emmett and Jane reply, "The best answer to that question would be to ditch the Common Core standards, but that’s probably not the option the department is looking for, or would accept."

Georgia is now facing similar challenges, because as Jane explains,

The new fed-ed law, which is called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), mandates that each state submit a statewide education plan for approval or disapproval by the US Dept. of Education. (Yes, our senators and all but two of our reps -- Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk -- fell for the propaganda that ESSA restores local control over education, but the joke's on them, and us, and our children.)

Georgia has just released its draft plan for comment, but the plan doesn't propose getting rid of Common Core or doing anything else that would actually have a shot at major improvement of education.

Still, Jane offers the comments she is making and shared them with Dissident Prof. You may find them helpful in Georgia, as well as other states facing the prospect of local control dictated by the feds. (Maybe it will get through. Comments can't hurt. Too many of my friends who are Trump supporters think that worries over education are over.) The link is

http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/ESSA.aspx

Here are Jane's comments:

 If requested by parents, GA Milestones and any other assessments should be administered in paper-and-pencil format. Many children don't perform as well on computerized tests.

 

I saw no mention of replacing the Common Core standards (now renamed the GA Standards of Excellence) with good standards, such as the pre-Common Core standards of Massachusetts, Indiana, or California. Have we given up on truly educating our children because it's just too much trouble to fundamentally change things?

 

See above comment about the desirability of transitioning to proven, effective standards in ELA and math. Also, if GA really wants to improve education, it should replace progressive-education pedagogy with proven, traditional, direct-instruction techniques. Such techniques have been proven superior, especially with respect to teaching minority or low-income students (see Project Follow-Through, a huge study in which Head Start participants were studied for years; https://www.nifdi.org/what-is-di/project-follow-through). I also suggest that everyone at GaDOE read Daisy Christodoulou's book, Seven Myths About Education, for an overview of why the "student-centered," "project-based," "fact-lite" pedagogies don't work.


The Brookings Institute has shown that these "parent-replacement centers" are either ineffective or actually harmful to student achievement. https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-1-2-billion-afterschool-program-that-doesnt-work/

 

Let parents raise their own children after school without government interference. Also, the proposed U.S. Department of Education budget defunds this harmful program. I hope that means GA will as well.

What an idea! Drain the swamp!

UPDATE: As Ed Week reports, "Trump Administration Wants Advice on Cutting Back Regulations." They want it to be as specific as possible with citations to regulations and guidance. They want it within 60 days. The article seems to indicate that the advice is being sought from bureaucrats, but citizens should flood the site with comments. This would be a good opportunity to inform the feds about what ESSA does to local control and how it contradicts President Trump's Executive Order Calling for Local Control of K-12. And all of Jane's information will help!

 

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