Americans United for Education, a non-partisan coalition of parents and teachers, is holding a nationwide Twitter Rally on Wednesday, February 25, to protest proposed US House Resolution 5 (HR 5). This legislation is also known as the Student Success Act of 2015, a 600-plus page bill that would change the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2000 in ways that are of grave concern to parents and teachers — including cementing Common Core in place.
The Twitter Rally is being hosted online until 9 PM (ET) through the Patriot Journalist Network. Tweeters can convene, share thoughts and interact in a site chat room.
Rally organizers are asking participants to tweet #StopHR5 to their respective US House Representatives to nix the legislation. Informal tweeting is encouraged throughout the day. Twitter Rally organizers intend to send a strong message to their elected officials and hope to convince HR 5 sponsors John Kline (R-MN) and Todd Rokita (R-IN) to withdraw the proposed NCLB replacement bill.
The Student Success Act would make Common Core the law of the land for a period of seven years, beginning in 2020, according to anti-Common Core activist site, Education without Representation.
Americans United for Education as well as other HR 5 critics fear that the legislation is being fast-tracked into law. Kline is the House Education and the Workforce Committee chairman while Rokita heads up the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education.
HR 5 was proposed as an alternative to the equally flawed legislation Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015 from Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Neither bill does anything to rein in or curtail Big Education or disband the Common Core State Standards, as Breitbart News reported.
Kline’s resolution purports to fix all the ills of public education. In a recent press release, Kline called HR 5 “responsible legislation (that) will repair the nation’s broken K-12 education system by reducing the federal footprint, restoring local control, and empowering parents and education leaders to hold schools accountable for effectively teaching students.”
Education without Representation broke down the monster-sized bill and found that despite altruistic claims, HR 5 is poised to pump billions of dollars in federal funding into the schools in exchange for a full federal takeover of education — and that is not just for public school. This applies to the private sector, too. There is no telling what this would mean to homeschooling.
Under HR 5, parental rights to “direct the education of a child” would be trounced by the US Department of Education (USDE) if state legislatures approve taking the federal grant money — like Race to the Top on steroids.
Education without Representation underscored that HR 5 breaks three federal laws and “violates states’ rights under the United States Constitution.” They noted that in the bill’s language, HR 5 ends religious freedom in private schools where religious counseling, mentoring and/or technologies would not be permitted and “government-appointed ombudsman” would monitor federal compliance to HR5 regulations. Private school funding also would hinge on consulting with public school district guardians who would oversee “equality” enforcement.
Truth in American Education sourced a quick hit list of how HR 5 decimates freedoms and liberties, in general, writing, “Federal requirements will trump the rights ‘reserved to the States and individual Americans by the United States Constitution’ to lead in the education of their child (Sec. 6564).” States would also have to change laws and regulations to ‘conform’ to HR 5.
Additionally, HR5 does not end high-stakes testing and maintains the top-down one-size-fits all classroom model already in place. It would increase federal data collection while trashing the Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA). The legislation “Empowers the Department of Education to request individual student and teacher data from state and Local Education Agencies (LEA),” according to Truth in American Education.
Other troubling findings included that “HR 5 will destroy all private education in America, as well, as legislating Title I ‘choice’ vouchers that will ‘follow the child,’ enforcing HR 5 compliance in every religious school.”
Title I, as Breitbart Texas reported, is among the largest areas of federal education spending. Already, it encompasses low-income, at-risk and special education areas of public sector schooling. A rebranded NCLB as HR 5 would signal a monumental Title I expansion.
The five organizers who created Americans United for Education hail from around the country and include Jenni White, President of Restore Oklahoma Public Education, Stop Common Core in Georgia’s Teri Sasseville and Angela Weinzinger, who heads up the 22,000-plus member Facebook group Parents and Educators Against Common Core Standards.
Weinzinger told Breitbart Texas that it is their hope that the twitter rally will be able to reach people nationwide to stop this NCLB redo. “HR5 would be very bad for our kids, our schools and our rights as parents,” she stated.
Breitbart Texas also spoke with rally organizer Linda French Bell. She leads the social media advocacy group, Minnesota Against Common Core. She said that statewide people have been calling Kline urging him to withdraw the bill.
“There is no need to quickly pass a 600-page bill without thoroughly vetting every page,” Bell told Breitbart Texas. Initially, she became concerned when HR 5 was re-introduced, marked up and pushed through into a preliminary vote without any public hearing.
The monstrosity sized legislation has moved swiftly through Kline’s committee. It was approved by a vote of 21 to 16. The US House is set to vote on it before the end of the week. No one knows if House reps have even taken to the time to read all or any of it.
Americans United for Education did not want to see the nation’s children used as pawns to find out that this is another Pelosi styled “we have to pass the bill to see what’s in it” moment.
Gretchen Logue, Missouri Education Watchdog, is also a rally organizer. She voiced similar concerns as Bell. She told Breitbart Texas, “I hope politicians read this 600 page bill to know what’s in it — increased federal spending and control — before they vote on it. They need voters to hold them accountable and to let them know we are watching.”
She called the Twitter Rally a “platform to draw politicians’ attention to a bill that cements federal control in state educational decisions.”
Logue encapsulated the bigger picture of the #StopHR5 rally, pointing out that it will provide Americans with the ability to demonstrate that this is not “just few moms who are ‘worried their kids aren’t as smart as they once thought’ as thousands of tweets are tweeted to politicians.”
As Education Secretary Arne Duncan learned last year, the opposition to Common Core is not just a few ‘white suburban moms’ as Breitbart News reported. The Common Core has uniquely brought conservatives and liberals together against the proposed legislation, albeit for different reasons.
Pro-teacher union groups like the Network for Public Education, whose board of directors president is progressive icon Diane Ravitch and the oft times colorful Bad-Ass Teachers (BATs) were among those who participated in a “twitter storm” to say No on HR 5 on Tuesday.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.