Sunday, March 1, 2015

HR 5: When Fascism Masquerades As School Choice

Dear Alaskans, 

I hope Kline/ Rokita HR5 is dead. However, it may not be. House leadership likes this bill, and things have a way of resurrecting. 

Senator Lisa Murkowski is a ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) where this bill would likely be assigned. Please write her and ask her to stop this bill in the event it rears its ugly head in the Senate or any bill with similar provisions.

Because of character restrictions, I have a tiny URL for this page so you may include a link to it when you write the Senator:   http://tiny.cc/HR5   You may see a copy of my letter to her here

HR5 masquerades as schools choice, but it is not. It is fascism with a government monitor, called an ombudsman who will enforce federal mandates in public, private, and homeschools, even those schools who do not want funds or reforms, but will be compelled to accept funds and reforms. This "ombudsman" gains his authority from the state legislature acceptance of federal funds. Thus, whether a family accepts funds from the state is irrelevant, the critical issue is that the state legislature accepts the funding.

Here are highlights with pages, sections and direct quotes from Kline/ Rokita HR5.

1. FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF STATE AUTHORITIES AND RIGHTS

Subpart 4, Section 6561 (page 564 on the pdf) says:

“STATES TO RETAIN RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES THEY DO NOT EXPRESSLY WAIVE” –

How will a state “expressly waive” its authorities and rights?-- By the state legislature accepting federal money.

A state that acts “inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance” will waive its authority because the legislature of that state would have “expressly approved that [federal] program.” If a state’s or a parent’s rights conflicted with a requirement, too bad: the federal bill claims authority to enforce obedience from states because the states take the money.

Read: “nor shall any authority of a State have any obligation to obey… unless the legislature…. approved that program and in so doing, have waived the state’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary...” So states have no obligation to obey unless they approved federally promoted programs (which the states, including Alaska, have done in multiple ways). Can anyone imagine Alaska Department of Education and Early Development turn down federal funds?  And what of Federal Impact Aid?

Essentially, participating in the program to receive funds requires states to waive their states’ rights and those of  the parent over their child if they conflict with ANY requirements of the program.

2. FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF PARENTAL RIGHTS

On page 567, Section 6564, HR 5 states“Other than the terms and conditions expressly approved by State law under the terms of this subpart, control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone of independent authority reserved to the states and individual Americans by the United States Constitution, other than the Federal Government’s undiminishable obligation to enforce minimum Federal standards of equal protection and due process.”


By tying inalienable parental rights to the receipt of funds and federal “obligations,” the bill just claimed authority to take parental rights away, under conditions it has just defined.

Even in the statement of purpose on page 11, the bill minimizes parents and maximizes itself, by “affording parents substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children”.

In Alaska, that means any homeschool parent through a correspondence program or in public school has lost their parental rights. In fact, it may be that parents who do NOT accept state money will be atrisk because the STATE LEGISLATURE accepted the money. 

3. GOVERNMENT CONTROL IN PRIVATE AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS – NEUTRALIZATION OF RELIGION 

On page 78-82 of HR 5, it states that  “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.”

For those who accept money at present from Alaska for education, this may not be a major issue because it is already in state law. However, it will be for those who currently do not accept money. All homeschools and private schools must must alter its beliefs to match mandates for altered materials, equipment and services? Families who homeschool privately will also have to implement these reforms. This is madness, and would be regarded as intolerable among Alaskans.

How is this choice? It isn't“school choice” and “backpack funding,” but fascism.  

On page 79, there are several definitions of services that go way beyond traditional school functions. The definition of services include: one on one counseling, mentoring, educational television, computer technology and more. The federal government has no right to mandate that private schools must give services that are secular and non-religious.

4. GOVERNMENT APPOINTED MONITORS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS Page 82-86

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 82 the bill states that the LEA (school district) must consult with private school officials and must transmit results of their “agreement” to a state-appointed ombudsman. On page 86 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. They never, ever have had any legal mandate to report to, complain to, speak to, or even think about state or federal governments. These are private schools; private means not public, not under government mandates. This ends private schools as they are currently understood.

The ombudsman will have additional duties, as you will see in the next section. 

5. FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF PRIVATE SCHOOL FUNDING AND BENEFITS-P 535

On page 535, the bill slashes freedom by mandating equity for private and public schools. “Benefits provided under this section for private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel shall be equitable in comparison to services and other benefits for public school children, teachers, and other educational personnel”. The government has no right to command a private school to give more benefits, nor to withhold benefits, from private school teachers, staff or children. The same page states: “Expenditures for educational services and other benefits to eligible private school children, teachers, and other service personnel shall be equal to the expenditures for participating public school children.” The ombudsman’s job, according to page 80, is to “monitor and enforce” such “equity for private school children”

In the event this is not enough to convince you, here are some additional tidbits on HR5. 

HR 5 denies parents their rights over their children. Reference HR5 pages 488; 522-555

HR 5 legislation creates the radical transformation of tax collection through the assigned destruction and hostile takeover of our local neighborhood schools.

HR 5 violates states’ rights under the United States Constitution and is in violation of Federal law.

HR 5 is designed to destroy local, public neighborhood schools through usurpation of elected school boards’ authorities and responsibilities.

HR 5 will destroy all private education in America-- legislating Title I “choice” vouchers that will “follow the child,” enforcing HR 5 compliance in EVERY PRIVATE AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOL.

HR 5 would legislate services to these Title I “choice” children called DIRECT STUDENT SERVICES AS A VOUCHER that must be equitable and comparable to any public school, which is needed to satisfy Common Core.

HR 5 will destroy representative government, all non-governmental schools, and standardize education across this nation. This overreach of the federal government is in direct violation of our United States Constitution which dictates separation of federal jurisdiction vs. State jurisdiction.


Additional References: 

Dr. Sandra Stotsky's Reply to Speaker John Boehner.
  


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