Saturday, March 25, 2017

DeVos Attempts to Undermine ESSA Requirements

Betsy DeVos is all about parent power via "choice."  She says this over and over, that the feds should allow parents to have the biggest power over where their child goes to school.

Apparently, that power stops at the schoolhouse door because it seems she doesn't believe in that power as far as what actually happens inside the school.
Basically, she directed that only governors should have input on ESSA accountability plans when the law itself says "the ESSA says that state education agencies (SEAs), when developing their accountability plans, must consult with outside stakeholders, including teachers, principals, parents, administrators and others."

Here's what the ED said on this change:
Q. What voice have outside stakeholders had in revising the template?
A. In developing this new template, the Department of Education (ED) has consulted State educational agencies; governors; organizations representing parents, teachers, and school and district leaders; and advocates for children, including those with disabilities and other students from educationally disadvantaged groups. Even in the very short timeline necessary to provide new information to states, ED invited numerous stakeholders to share their feedback, much of which was incorporated into the final template and other documents.  ED strongly encourages States to consult with these groups.
Okay, but there is still this business of what the LAW actually says.
Strongly encouraging the states isn’t what the actual law says. States are still required to meet ESSA’s statutory requirements even if the Education Department limits the information that they must submit in their consolidated state plans. 
Who's not happy with this (and it includes Senator Patty Murray):

The new template sparked criticism, including from the National Governors Association, which said in a statement:
Governors are concerned that the Department’s revised template fails to prioritize proper stakeholder engagement, even though it is a core requirement within the law. NGA has led national efforts to encourage significant input from classroom teachers, parents, superintendents, principals and school boards. We will not waver as a result of this development.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement:

“One of the problems of education reform over the last two decades was the attempt by billionaires and politicians to impose top-down dictates about what schools should do and how they should do it, and to strip the voices of those closest to kids—their parents and teachers.
That was changed by ESSA through its requirement of ‘stakeholder engagement,’ which brings in parent and teacher voices and reflects America’s deep connection to public education. Betsy DeVos’ action betrays the very intention of this law.”

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