This information provided by The Federal Observer, http://www.federalobserver.com
By Theresa Harmon for The Federal Observer
The new "No Child Left Behind" (HR1) seeks to assure us that it is returning control of public schools to the local level. Not so. If you read the summary issued last Thursday night which was drafted by leaders of the House-Senate conference committee on HR1 (the Conference Committee leaders were Senators Ted Kennedy and Judd Gregg and Representatives John Boehner and George Miller), you will find it consists mainly of disinformation intended to mislead both conferees and the public.
The first item the proposal addresses is National Testing. It states: "Explicitly prohibits federally sponsored national testing." Later in the same report, the summary contradicts this statement by stating, "the proposal would require a small sample of students in each state to participate in the ...NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress)." In case you don't already know, the NAEP is a federally sponsored national test paid for and administered by YOUR tax dollars! The summary goes on to explain that this test is for "verifying the results" of the federally mandated state tests. The NAEP is, in actuality, the primary enforcement mechanism for the national curriculum. Got that? The primary enforcement mechanism for the national curriculum. When students must pass a test containing federally drawn content, the states must TEACH this material in order for their students to pass it (or face losing their federal funding).
This is the SAME propaganda that we were fed when the Goals 2000 Act of 1994 stated unequivocally that the standards were "voluntary". That same year, however, the education funding bill (HR6) directed the federal government to withhold federal money from states that did not comply! Ah, now we get it - the new meaning of "voluntary" - formerly known as "bribery"!
When the NAEP was introduced in 1969, opponents feared that it would ultimately create a national curriculum which all states would be forced to adopt. Advocates, however, insisted that since state could CHOOSE whether or not to use the NAEP, that it would NOT create a national curriculum. Now, according to the leaders of the conference committee, the NAEP MUST be used by the states to "verify" that the state curriculum conforms to the national curriculum. To add insult to injury, the "national curriculum" consists mainly of content that judges attitudes, values and beliefs as opposed to academic achievement. Critics of the NAEP also suspected that rewards and sanctions would follow any national testing, yet, this proposal claims there are no direct federal rewards and sanctions based on the NAEP. The actual bill, however, directs states to enforce rewards and sanctions based on the NAEP and the NAEP-based state assessments. The end result is the same. The summary goes on to claim that states would design their own standards and not have "standards dictated by Washington". Due to Goals 2000, however, there are NO state standards independent of federal standards! ALL state standards now adhere to federal standards which are verified through the NAEP.
Although, the "No Child Left Behind" proposal removes ALL references to Goals 2000 and its companion bill HR6, it does nothing to halt the federal mandates contained in those bills which are already being rapidly implemented in every state as per federal law (for example, see "Assessment and Accountability in the Fifty States: 1999-2000" at LINK TEXT.
Furthermore, this "new" bill does nothing to eliminate funding for the Center for Civic Education (CCE) for continuing to establish the National Standards on Civics and Government.
The same as with the NAEP, the CCE standards deal primarily with attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors - the very things that this bill CLAIMS would be eliminated!
This leadership proposal summary claims to prohibit a national test, but it then goes on to establish a national test. It claims to protect local control, although it ultimately establishes federal control. It claims to prohibit Washington standards from dictating the curriculum, but it solidifies the standards dictated from Washington. It claims that there are no rewards and sanctions associated with the NAEP yet state rewards and sanctions will be based on standards "verified" by the NAEP. It implies that Goals 2000, School-to-Work, outcome-based education, the Workforce Investment Act and higher order thinking skills are eliminated from federal education mandates, yet each of those policies is contained in the bill although under different names.
Once again, the American public is being fed a nice sounding piece of goods by those who would seek to advance the radical system of centralized federal control of schools and curriculum. Not since Jimmy Carter agreed to create the federal level Department of Education in exchange for campaign backing by the NEA (National Education Association) have we seen such a blatant power-grab on the federal level concerning our schools. Certainly, Goals 2000 and School to Work sought more federal control but, if one took the time to read through those bills, they spelled out fairly plainly exactly what they wanted to accomplish.
This new bill, however, states its mandates much more subversively and in more double-speak and will, therefore, pass muster on the parts of many who read it. Don't be fooled by pretty prose. This bill is just one more step toward a complete federal takeover of our public education system. A federal government which, I simply must add, has absolutely NO Constitutional authority to even be involved in matters concerning education to begin with.
"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical. - Thomas Jefferson
Theresa Harmon is a conservative, Christian, southern lady, wife, home-schooling mother of three. Originally from Kentucky. Now resides in Tennessee. She became involved in affairs regarding education three years ago when she began doing research on 'School to Work' and realized where it came from and what repercussions it had for our Nation's freedoms, liberties and way of life. Theresa decided to "fight back" instead of going along to get along - and hasn't looked back. She is the founder of the Wilson County Parents Coalition and a frequent contributor to the Federal Observer.
Contact Theresa Harmon
The Wilson County Parents Coalition