A national coalition of parents is releasing a letter to House and Senate education committee leaders urging them to suspend their talks on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal law until a new administration is elected.
The letter, dated October 13, was addressed to U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee chairman Rep. John Kline and ranking member Rep. Robert Scott, and U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander and ranking member Sen. Patty Murray.
Coalition members write they have reviewed both the House and Senate versions of the NCLB rewrite and find that both “would expand the federal footprint in education well beyond the already constitutionally unacceptable and academically unhelpful levels in [NCLB].”
The signers continue:
As leaders of the non-partisan state and national grassroots parent movement, representing millions of parents and students, we have grave concerns about imposition or continuation of (via federal grants, waivers, or legislation) one or all of the following:
1) The academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate, psychologically manipulative, and privately copyrighted Common Core Standards, the teaching of which is harming our children, teachers, families, and future in countless ways;
2) The overuse of and over-reliance on never independently validated high-stakes standardized tests, aligned to Common Core and funded and supervised by the federal government, that are psychologically profiling our children more than assessing their academic knowledge or helping inform instruction;
3) State longitudinal data systems and the massive increase in state and federal gathering of private family, education, and psychological data on our children, much without consent;
4) Career-tracking, which undermines self-determination by means of an insistence on student compliance with the very flawed standards and subjective, unconstitutional psychological profiling.
The parents urge the congressional leaders “to refrain from taking any action until after the presidential and congressional elections, as well as the installation of the new House and Education and Workforce Committee leadership.”
Both chambers passed their respective versions of the reauthorization of NCLB in July, though the House bill barely squeaked by with a vote of 218-213. That measure, dubbed the Student Success Act, was previously pulled from the House floor by GOP leadership in late February after it was determined it lacked sufficient support.
Grassroots parents’ groups – many that have been fighting against the Common Core standards in their states – voiced their concerns that the reauthorization still required excessive federal intrusion into the right of states to set their own education policies.
The Senate passed its version, titled the Every Child Achieves Act, by a vote of 81-17.
When Sen. Alexander took the helm of the Senate education committee once Republicans took back control of that chamber, he said reauthorizing NCLB would be a priority.
“We’ll get right together with Chairman Kline, and I’m in favor of moving pretty rapidly,” Alexander said about conference negotiations after the Senate measure passed. “I’d like to work with the House and come up with something that the president can sign pretty quickly. We want a result, and under our constitutional system that takes a presidential signature, and… we’ve stayed in touch with him.”