U.S. House of Representatives Speaker, John Boehner, is trying to push an education bill through the house this week that he claims, “…contains a number of conservative reforms to reduce the federal footprint, restore local control, and empower parents and local leaders to hold schools accountable.” Sounds great right up until one actually reads the 600+ page bill that was only introduced February 3, 2015.
How is “local control” restored by creating “Ombudsmen” whose job it is to enforce education “equality” plans implemented by local public schools over neighboring private schools? Christel Lane Swasey, who wrote an excellent summary of the bill’s worst provisions on her blog, Common Core: Education Without Representation, talks about the bill’s proposed enforcers.
“An ombudsman, if you haven’t heard the term, is a paid position, a role in which a person investigates and mediates official complaints for a living. This bill mandates that private schools will be assigned a state-appointed ombudsman to monitor private schools: ‘The State educational agency involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements.’ On page 86 [of the PDF version of the bill] the federal bill allows a private school to complain to the government: ‘private school official shall have the right to file a complaint with the State educational agency that the local educational agency did not engage in consultation that was meaningful and timely’…. These are private schools; private means not public, not under government mandates.”
Folks, this provision will kill private education of all types: Evangelical Christian, Catholic, Jewish, et cetera. Government will finally become the sole authority over what your child learns.
But H.R. 5’s assault on private education doesn’t end there. As Swasey notes,
“Read pages 78-82 [pdf version]. It mandates that private schools: ‘ensure that teachers and families of the children participate, on an equitable basis, in services and activities… SECULAR, NEUTRAL, NONIDEOLOGICAL.— Such educational services or other benefits, including materials and equipment, shall be secular, neutral and nonideological.’ ”
But how will the federal government dictate the terms of education when 3 federal laws prohibit establishment of a national curriculum? The bill specifies that a state waives its rights and authorities over the means of education if it accepts federal money for education [Subpart 4, Section 6561 (page 564 on the pdf)].
The bill establishes the Department of Education Secretary as the final authority over education in America.
I highly recommend you read Christel Lane Swasey’s summary of the bill’s most draconian provisions (including parental rights, data collection on your student and your household, etc.) on her blog. Better yet, read the bill for yourself. Ask your elected representative if he or she has actually taken the time to read ALL of it. Quote some of its provisions and ask, “You’re not even thinking about supporting this bill, are you?”
Call your elected representative, and Speaker Boehner, and urge them to VOTE NO ON H.R. 5. You may call your representative at 202-224-3121 or look up your representative’s contact information via your zip-code.
Note: This post was updated at 8:42 p.m., Feb. 25, 2015, to correct the bill’s name to H.R. 5 (I had previously incorrectly referred to it as H.B 5).