Kline, Alexandar & Rokita Try To Get Lemonade Out Of A Turnip With John King

Well that didn’t take long.  United States Secretary of Education John King has been the official Secretary of Education for not even three months and he is already under the Education and the Workforce Committee’s microscope.  The United States Senate should have never confirmed him in the first place.  Why are we dealing with this so soon?  Because John King thinks he is invulnerable based on the arrogant and cocky mindset of those in corporate education reform who think they are perfect and everyone else is scum.  Remember after 9/11, when President Bush said you can’t negotiate with terrorists?  It is the same with corporate education reformers.  You can’t try to get lemonade out of a turnip.  You will only get a headache.

The Every Student Succeeds Act regulation process has begun, but like most of us, we have no clue what is really going on with it.  I have the same problem in Delaware when our “stakeholders” convene on some task force, working group, or committee.  There is no true representation.  It is who they want on these groups.  They want an outcome so they will stack the deck to make sure they get it.  Nothing but smoke and mirrors here folks!  So why are Kline, Alexander, and Rokita having a hissy fit because King did what is in his very nature to do?  Even if you give a snake legs,  it’s still a snake.  You can’t change the character of a person by giving them a title.  If anything, that character becomes a part of the title.

Read the letter below.  King has until June 7th to respond.  Will he?  Even if he does will it change anything?  This is exactly what I predicted would happen.  For some inexplicable reason, the Every Student Succeeds Act was rushed through the US House and Senate with a quick signature by Barack Obama.  It was, as explained in the letter, heavily lobbied… probably too much.  This bill wasn’t about students, it was about corporations.  There is very little in this act that actually helps students.  It may look that way, but far too many states invested the past seven years on Common Core and the state assessments.  They aren’t going to change course now.  Not during an election year.  Kline should have known better, but no, he acted with haste to get King nominated.  What about this clown’s history ever said that was a good idea?

And from the official press release on this:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2016 CONTACT: Press Office
(202) 226-9440

Congressional Leaders Raise Concerns with Integrity of ESSA Negotiated Rulemaking

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN)—along with Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN)—today wrote to the Department of Education to express “serious concerns about the integrity” of the department’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) negotiated rulemaking process. Among other concerns, the letter raises questions related to the makeup of the rulemaking panel, a lack of rural and student representation in the process, and the accuracy of statements made by the department’s negotiators.

First established in 1990, the negotiated rulemaking process was created to bring federal agencies and interested stakeholders together to develop certain new regulations through a framework designed to promote consensus among diverse groups. The Every Student Succeeds Act requires the department to use this process, at a minimum, for regulations on standards, assessments, and the requirement that federal funds supplement, rather than supplant, state and local funds.

To “evaluate the Department’s compliance with negotiated rulemaking requirements and the integrity of the ESSA negotiated rulemaking process,” the chairmen’s letter requests information related to a number of questions, including:

•How the department met a requirement that individuals on the negotiated panel shall include “representation from all geographic regions of the United States, in such numbers as will provide equitable balance between representatives of parents and students and representatives of educators and education officials.”

•Whether the department’s actions in naming panel participants biased the panel’s deliberations.

•Protocols and/or criteria used to determine when a secretary or other high ranking department official will speak to a panel or otherwise participate in a panel’s work, as Secretary King did during the rulemaking process.

•Steps taken to ensure statements made by the department’s negotiators accurately reflect the statute and their role in the negotiated rulemaking process.

•The participation of three outside experts and the process for choosing those experts.

•How the department determined which provisions related to assessments would be included in the process.

Additionally, the letter requests “all documents and communications related to the department’s determination of its legal authority for all regulatory language proposed to the negotiated rulemaking panel.” The chairmen are requesting a response by June 7, 2016.

Federal Role In Opt-Out Will Be The Same, John King Ignores The Intent Of ESSA

The United States Department of Education will continue to exert authority in regards to parents opting their child out of state assessments through regulations.

Congressman Jared Polis from Colorado asked Acting Secretary of Education John King, during the “Next Steps for K-12 Education: Upholding the Letter and Intent of the Every Student Succeeds Act” hearing, about opt-out and participation rates.

By stating “we all know states have a historically checkered record of making sure all vulnerable sub-groups are served,”  Polis referenced Oklahoma’s State Superintendent as saying “While a state is  welcome to pass bad laws as relating to opt-outs, we have Section 4-C-E of ESSA that says states must assess 95% of students.  That means all means all.”

Polis quoted US DOE as responding “While it is up to states to determine the consequences of failing to assess students, the Department will provide oversight and enforcement to ensure that states are assessing all students, regardless of what the states laws are and how opt-outs occur.”  He then asked John King what steps he plans to take to make sure “all means all” with participation rates.

King responded: “I take that responsibility quite seriously to ensure that all means all.  This implementation of the law advances equity in excellence.  I think we have an opportunity in the regulations and guidance that we help to provide guardrails that will ensure that states use their new flexibility around accountability and interventions to advance equity.  For example, as we begin the negotiated rule-making process around assessments, the kind of questions we’ve been getting have been questions around the participation of students with disabilities, the participation of English learners, the implementation of computer adaptive assessment, in a way that protects equity.  And so as we move forward, that negotiated rule-making, a central question will be how do we ensure that regulations we do on assessment protect civil rights of students.  And we’ll take a similar approach to the work on the on our negotiated rule-making for supplemented non-supplant and we continue to review, comment, and feedback from stakeholders to define other areas where we need to move forward with regs and guidance.”

Polis went on…. “And while the consequences of meeting the requirements are left up to state law, do you feel that you have sufficient leverage to ensure that those consequences are meaningful and not meaningless?”

King replied: “We do, and I will say it will require vigilance from the part of the Department, especially as states implement their first round of interventions and identify whether or not those interventions are helping to achieve progress, particularly for at-risk sub-groups.  We’re gonna have to be vigilant to ensure that states continue to move forward to shift strategy, if a strategy is not working for the highest-need students.”

Define vigilance John King!  This violates parental rights at a massive scale.  Opt-out is an individual parent choice for their child, not a school’s responsibility to make sure it does or does not happen.  It is our right that we choose to exercise.  This law gives parents, teachers, and schools absolutely no protection from the iron fist of the federal government.  We are back to square one…