States Rights and ESSA

by Ken Derstine
March 3, 2016

President Obama signing the Every Student Succeeds Act

There is an aspect of ESSA that I fear is being overlooked by those examining this complex bill, but is the thief in the night that will advance the corporate reform agenda. That is the aggressive promotion of states rights in ESSA. This is a special project of Senator Lamar Alexander as the article linked below details.
States rights has historically been the most reactionary aspect of the U.S. Constitution. The authors of the Constitution needed the slaveocracy to support the new Constitution, so they instituted the "Three-Fifths Compromise" which gave the slave states the power continue slavery and to count each slave as three-fifths of a person in the census to determine state representation in the U. S. House. This gave the slave states a third more seats in Congress than if slaves had not been counted and resulted in dominance of slavocracy justices on the Supreme Court for a century.

Though the Civil War and the 13th and 14th Amendments ended the slavocracy, states rights was the main method of continuing slavery under another name through the maintaining of Jim Crow segregation and opposing the federal government enforcing civil rights.

So it is disturbing to see states rights as being a central plank of ESSA. Thirty years of neo-liberal federal education policy, especially promoted by Bill Clinton, has made people think that, most recently, the legacy of Arne Duncan, to be continued by John King, means we must return to state control of education. The corporate reform agenda promoted by the federal Department of Education will now be promoted in each states' Department of Education. 

Look at this article in Ed Week from February 25, 2016.

NGA Organizes Coalition of Education Groups to Monitor ESSA Implementation | State EdWatch - Ed Week

The Coalition listed in the article includes:

In addition to the NGA, the network is made up of the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National School Boards Association, AASA, the School Superintendents Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the National PTA. 

 President Obama shaking Randi Weingarten's hand at the ESSA signing.
Lamar Alexander is behind Obama.

Why are the AFT and NEA joining with the National Governors Association and the anti-Opt Out National PTA among others in promoting this reactionary policy? This gives the corporate privatizers unregulated powers within states to privatize public education through such organizations as ALEC. This can be seen in Chicago where the Chicago Public Schools Board is being blocked by the Illinois State Charter School Commission from closing three charter schools.

CPS, CTU unlikely allies against state charter commission | Chicago Sun Times

The abolition of the Department of Education has long been the goal of the extreme right in America precisely over the issue of states rights. What needs to be changed is the political leadership at all levels of government. The neo-liberal agenda has been the wolf in sheep's clothing which has taken us backward.

We need a federal Department of Education free of all corporate interests and headed by experienced educators and academics with knowledge in child psychology and pedagogy which will advance the development of a democratic society.


Also see:

Lamar Alexander's ESSA: Room for John King, but not Opting Out
duetch29 - March 2, 2016 

Warning Connecticut–They are coming for your schools and your democratic rights!
Wait What? | March 6, 2016
If you think states rights means local control, read this! 

My Chief Concerns about ESSA
deutsch29 - March 7, 2016

Cashing in on Kids: 172  ALEC Education Bills Push Privatization in 2015
Truthout - March 9, 2016 

This is where right-wing radicalism is festering: While the nation watches the presidential race, there are scary things happening at state legislatures
Salon - March 13, 2016 

On Line...All the Time?
Educationalalchemy - March 15, 2016
Morna McDermott on how ALEC is promoting CBE in state legislatures. 

Non-Transparent Delaware
Exceptional Delaware - March 17, 2016
Delaware is another example that the states rights provisions of ESSA are a reactionary attack on education.

ESSA is Designed to Quell Opting Out. It Won't Work.
deutsch29 - March 18, 2016

Pearson: ESSA Won't Hurt Us a Bit (But Karma Might): AFT, Pearson, and Karma
Curmudgation - March 21, 2016 

Michelle Rhee's Students First will merge with education advocay group 50Can
Los Angeles Times - March 29, 2015
SF Jim Blew cited the states increased education authority under ESSA as a reason to use 50Cans state lobbying capacity.

Proposed Pennsylvania School Code is Massive Giveaway to Charter Schools
Gadflyonthewall blog -  April 3, 2016

Wondering Where Ed Reform is Headed Next?
Watch this Video.
Save Maine Schools - April 4, 2016
The latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was written to unleash a multi-billion dollar, “personalized” digital learning industry, and corporate experimentation on children is now ramping up across the country.

 Unmasking the Chamber of Commerce Networks 
PR Watch - April 5, 2016
More proof that 'state's right' doesn't mean local control.  

The Opt Out Irony
Peg With Pen - April 8, 2016
United Opt Outs Peggy Robertson on how Opt Out is being co-opted by corporate education reformers and its being done through ESSA. 

SAT & ACT Go for the Gold
Curmudgucation - April 9, 2016
ESSA has created new profit making opportunities for testing companies.  

Lamar blasts U.S. Dept. of Ed. chief over new school reform law
Knoxville News Sentinel - April 12, 2016
Lamar Alexander blasts Secretary of Education John King for not following ESSA's states rights mandate.

The Enemy of my Enemy is NOT my Friend!
Bust•ED Pencils - April 13, 2016
Comment on the Lamar Alexander/John King fued about ESSA. 

Here comes the charter school sneak attack: This is how a bipartisan education refom bill [ESSA] turns into a disaster for our kids
Salon - April 16, 2016 

ESSA: NCLB Repackaged
Rethinking Schools - Spring 2016

Assume You Can Do What You Like Under ESSA, Sen. Alexander Tells Ky. Lawmakers
Politics K-12 - Education Week - September 12, 2016 

 Also see:

With Friends Like These... | Defend Public Education! - July 20, 2015

With Friends Like These... redux | Defend Public Education! - August 3, 2015


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