Trump to Sign Executive Order Calling for Local Control of Education

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Wednesday afternoon that directs U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study where the federal government has overstepped its boundaries and infringed upon state and local governments in education matters.

Senior Department of Education official Rob Goad told journalists Trump would sign an order that “delivers on his commitment to ensure education decisions are made by those closest to students.”

“Since our founding, education was intended to be under state and local control,” he continued. “In recent years, however, too many in Washington have advanced topdown mandates that take away autonomy and limit the options available to educators, administrators, and parents.”

Goad said the order would put “an end to this overreach,” and turn education decision-making back to local leaders.

“This EO takes the next needed step toward identifying and eliminating D.C.-driven regulations that attempt to control what students are or aren’t taught,” he said. “Over the next 300 days, this executive order directs Secretary DeVos to review and, if necessary, modify and repeal regulations and guidance issued by the Department of Education with a clear mandate to identify places where D.C. has overstepped its legal authority.”

The federal education department’s regulatory review task force is expected to oversee the process, “and work with the public to help determine which regulations are inconsistent with federal law.” Goad said Bob Eitel, an attorney who was recently hired as senior counsel to DeVos, would lead the regulatory review.

In response to questions from journalists, Goad said after the 300-day period, findings would be reported to the White House, followed by a report made to the public.

“One such study is unlikely to have a dramatic impact on K-12 education policy,” establishment education media Education Week reports about the study directed by the executive order. “But the directive is a way for the Trump administration to make it clear it supports local control of schools.”

The Education Week report further states:

The executive order also seems to be a not-so-veiled shot at the Obama administration, which used $4 billion in Race to the Top funding to entice states to adopt the Common Core State Standards, teacher evaluations using test scores, and more. President Barack Obama’s education department also offered states waivers from many mandates of the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act, in exchange for adopting other policies, such as using dramatic strategies to turnaround low-performing schools.

The executive order comes as many grassroots parent and teacher activists who have been battling Common Core in their states have expressed disappointment at the different messages about the unpopular standards program coming from Trump and DeVos.

On Monday, DeVos said, “There really isn’t any Common Core anymore,” citing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was passed in 2015. ESSA, she claims, “does away with the whole argument about Common Core.”

The secretary’s comments came just several weeks after Trump returned to his oft-repeated campaign statement that he wanted to end Common Core and make education policy once again the domain of state and local governments.

“When I go out to Iowa, when I go out to the different states and I talk, they want to run their school programs locally and they’ll do a much better job,” the president said. “And I like the fact of getting rid of Common Core. You know, Common Core, to me, we have to end it. We have to bring education local, to me. I’ve always said it, I’ve been saying it during the campaign, and we’re doing it.”

In a joint statement to Breitbart News, parent activists Heidi Huber of Ohio and Jenni White of Oklahoma assert, “The very reason blue-collar billionaire Donald Trump appealed to the everyday anti-Common Core mom is because he appeared to understand the kitchen table politics of grassroots America.”

“Common Core is a disaster,” Trump noted time and again. While he provided few details of his education plan, he acknowledged the frustration of parents in their attempt to eradicate the Common Core system of math and English language arts standards and tests, and the accompanying massive student data collection, in their states.

Student data collection, in fact, is a major issue for parents.

A recent report from Electronic Frontier Foundation found that, under the guise of “personalized learning,” school-issued computer devices — now distributed to one-third of K-12 students in schools across the United States — are serving to collect and store an unprecedented amount of personal data on children without their parents’ notice or consent.

Conservative author and CRTV host Michelle Malkin tells Breitbart News that education bureaucrats are looking to transform children’s attitudes.

“The goal of massive government data collection targeting American students is control — over emotions, feelings, and relationships,” she says. “It’s not enough for Fed Ed to shape our kids’ minds. They are mining web browsing activity, collecting sensitive family data, and tracking values and beliefs to shape our kids’ psyches.”

Malkin notes that Big Business has been invested in Common Core because data collected on students bolsters workforce development.

“Big Business isn’t interested in our children’s academic achievement,” she says, adding:

They want cogs in the machine. Republicans pay lip service to “ending Common Core.” Democrats pay lip service to protecting privacy and “fighting for children.” But these politicians then turn around and do the bidding of tech companies and Chamber of Commerce special interests using the Common Core racket to cash in and create their future, pliant workforce.

Grassroots parent activists battling against the Common Core standards in their individual states say the Trump administration would show it stands up for parental rights by reversing the Obama administration’s regulatory gutting of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Colorado parent activist Cheri Kiesecker says Big Data has been given free rein under the guises of both “personalized learning programs” and workforce development, with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers on board with the program.

“The 2011 FERPA gutting should be top on the list,” Kiesecker says. “If we could repeal that Obama/Arne Duncan rule, it would be a monumental step in respecting the constitution and parental rights.”


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