H.R. 5 – Federal Stranglehold on Education (Including Private Schools)

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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).

Tim Keller
About Tim Keller
Tim Keller has taught American History, World History, government, writing, speech and related courses at both the high school and college level since 1997.

4 Comments on H.R. 5 – Federal Stranglehold on Education (Including Private Schools)

  1. Isn’t it amazing that in a nation that prides itself in being the United States created to allow in for individual freedom from government, that We the People are heading pell mell to become a citizenry totally controlled by THE government rather than seeking less control. It is time to tell our politicians to take charge of the bureaucracy or find another job

    • Tim Keller LifeandLiberty76 // February 25, 2015 at 8:46 pm //

      Agreed, Ken. Unless we reverse the course our nation is taking it will be too late to maintain the freedoms our forebears passed on to this generation of Americans. I hope and pray that we are able to do so.

  2. I keep telling people in private conversations that this nation was founded by a bunch of 6th grade level graduates who were largely from farming communities and dirt-poor and often did not spell things properly or understand any of today’s higher math, and somehow we managed to become the greatest nation on Earth. How does it make sense that the exponentially higher number of dollars and years dumped into our public education system is somehow going to better our nation? It’s not rocket science. We need the basic 3R’s and a genuine love of self and country — not this psuedo-communist bullcrap! Thanks for keeping the flame burning. I pray for our nation daily!

  3. Tim Keller LifeandLiberty76 // March 1, 2015 at 6:53 am //

    I agree with your comment, kelliealexander, that we need to get back to the basics. We spend billions of dollars trying to reinvent the educational wheel. The Founding Fathers’ generation did some very basic things regarding the education of nearly every American that we have rejected as a nation.

    When Alexis de Toqueville toured America in first third of the 19th Century he was struck by the level of literacy he found in America, especially the fluency demonstrated by nearly every citizen in both Constitutional and Biblical knowledge. Today, too many Americans are illiterate in both Constitutional and Biblical knowledge. Bear in mind that Biblical literacy was common even among those who were not necessarily “orthodox” believers. We have deviated from the basic knowledge the Founding Fathers’ generation expected every American citizen to acquire.

    No amount of money can buy the principles that are taught in those two documents. And the one proceeded from the basic knowledge the Founding Fathers’ generation had learned from the other. My own state, Michigan, still contains language from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 regarding the Founding Fathers’ concept of education. The Michigan Constitution states in Article VIII, Section 1, “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

    The Founding generation got it. We’ve lost it. We are paying the consequences many of them rightly predicted would follow if and when Americans rejected the basic Principles of Liberty found in the Bible. We can hem and haw all we want about that topic, but the Founders predicted we would reap what we sow.

    We have sown.

    Now we are reaping.

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