Monday, July 22, 2013

Student Success Act 2013

The US House of Representatives recently passed the Student Success Act of 2013. HR 5 is, essentially, another "No Child Left Behind" bill.

The program seeks to place certain educational programs under federal auspices while granting funding towards high achieving or improving learning institutions.

The bill addresses charter, private, and magnet school programs.

     `(a) In General- From the amount reserved under section 3102(b)(3), the Secretary shall award grants to State entities having applications approved pursuant to subsection (f) to enable such entities to--
            `(1) award subgrants to eligible applicants for--
                   `(A) opening new charter schools;
                   `(B) opening replicable, high-quality charter school models; or
                   `(C) expanding high-quality charter schools; and
            `(2) provide technical assistance to eligible applicants and authorized public chartering agencies in carrying out the activities described in paragraph (1) and work with authorized public chartering agencies in the State to improve authorizing quality.
It outlines teacher and program accreditation.

It continues collecting attendance information as one of the criteria for funding:

     `(a) Census Determination- Each local educational agency desiring a grant under section 1231 and each local educational agency or specially qualified agency desiring a grant under chapter B shall--
          `(1) not later than December 1 of each year, conduct a census to determine the number of students in average daily attendance in kindergarten through grade 12 at the schools served by the agency; and
          `(2) not later than March 1 of each year, submit the number described in paragraph (1) to the Secretary (and to the State educational agency, in the case of a local educational agency seeking a grant under subpart 2).
     `(b) Penalty- If the Secretary determines that a local educational agency or specially qualified agency has knowingly submitted false information under subsection (a) for the purpose of gaining additional funds under section 1231 or chapter B, then the agency shall be fined an amount equal to twice the difference between the amount the agency received under this section and the correct amount the agency would have received under section 1231 or chapter B if the agency had submitted accurate information under subsection (a).

It even grants provisions for greater parental rights and flexibility:

     `Subpart 1--Charter School Program
          `SEC. 3101. PURPOSE.
`It is the purpose of this subpart to--
     `(1) improve the United States education system and educational opportunities for all Americans by supporting innovation in public education in public school settings that prepare students to compete and contribute to the global economy;
     `(2) provide financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools;
     `(3) expand the number of high-quality charter schools available to students across the Nation;
     `(4) evaluate the impact of such schools on student achievement, families, and communities, and share best practices between charter schools and other public schools;
     `(5) encourage States to provide support to charter schools for facilities financing in an amount more nearly commensurate to the amount the States have typically provided for traditional public schools;
     `(6) improve student services to increase opportunities for students with disabilities, English learners, and other traditionally under-served students to attend charter schools and meet challenging State academic achievement standards; and
     `(7) support efforts to strengthen the charter school authorizing process to improve performance management, including transparency, monitoring, and evaluation of such schools.
 The full bill is available at this link.

Is The Student Success Act of 2013 Unconstitutional?

However, the bill does not appear to support the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Governing education or indoctrination of the youth, education standards, education certification, and establishing any standardized testing are not enumerated powers listed in Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution or in any part of Article 2 (executive powers).

The 10th Amendment already guarantees parental rights as well as state, local, and parental authorities and responsibilities in regards to education. The only portions of the bill that pertain to any federal authority are those sections relating to schools on Native American reservations and those that pertain to Department of Defense child development and education programs.

Of all the potential unconstitutional uses of taxpayer money, education is, perhaps, the least offensive. It is still not an authorized use of federal money. Dictating education standards also surpasses federal authority, demonstrating yet another gross overreach.

Given the recent parent and education reform activists' outcries against the Common Core State Standards Initiative and Texas's controversial CSCOPE program, perhaps a better bill from the House would repeal all federal education programs.

Contact your Senators and let them know how you feel about the federal government telling you what your child should learn.