TOPEKA, Kan. (Feb. 19, 2016) – A step in the direction of upholding the U.S. Constitution and the Kansas Constitution was taken Wednesday. A step to uphold the state’s purview over Education and uphold parent rights and responsibilities to educate their children was taken Wednesday.
A Kansas bill to cut off education related ties with the federal government including the withdrawal of the state from the Common Core standards passed out of the House Education Committee on Wednesday. This bill would nullify nationalized education in the state.
A combination of thirty representatives introduced House Bill 2676 (HB2676), the Local Control of Kansas Education Act, on Feb. 10th.
HB2676 is nearly identical to last year’s bill, House Bill 2292 (HB2292), with only minor updates. HB2292 received a hearing and a vote in committee last year, but did not make it out of committee.
On Wednesday, a motion to reconsider HB2292 in committee was successful. This was followed up by a successful motion to substitute HB2676 into the bill, and finally a motion to pass Substitute for House Bill 2292 (Sub for HB2292). It was successfully passed out of committee, under Chair, Ron Highland. House members voting it out of committee were: Tony Barton, John Bradford, Rob Bruchman, Amanda Grosserode, Dennis Hedke, Becky Hutchins, Kevin Jones, Kasha Kelley, Charles Macheers, Peggy Mast, Marc Rhoades, and Jene Vickrey. Now it will move on to the full House for consideration.
The legislation declares “the state shall retain sole control over the development, establishment and revision of K-12 curriculum standards.”
Additionally, the bill forbids any Kansas entity or official from ceding any authority over Kansas education to any entity not explicitly named in the Kansas Constitution. It then voids any past or future action taken to implement Common Core or other national education standards.
“Any actions taken by any education entity or any state official to adopt, implement or align programs, assessments, testing, surveys or any educational materials or activities to the common core state standards, the social, emotional and character development standards, the national curriculum standards for social studies, the national health education standards, the national sexuality education standards, core content and skills, K-12 or any other academic standards not in the public domain, free of any copyright, are void beginning July 1, 2017.”
Local control of education is upheld. Parents’ rights to direct the education of their child through locally controlled schools is upheld. Local schools and teachers will be responsive to parents rather than implementers of state and federal education dictates. The bill mandates that new academic standards shall be developed through a state process but also makes clear that any standards developed will be “model” standards with local school districts having the authority to maintain their own curriculum.
A first of its kind step was taken to explicitly ensure parents’ and students’ rights to protect their intellectual property. The bill upholds parents’ control over their child’s data in regard to its creation, collection, use, and privacy. A significant step was taken to protect students from intrusive data mining and collection, programs that are inherent with initiatives like Common Core.
As the House Education committee learned on Wednesday, the all-encompassing federal intrusion in education is being rejected across the country including in states like Washington and New York.
However, you can be sure that the Education Establishment, including the KNEA, KASB, State School Board, and State Department of Education, will do everything they can to maintain the status quo, resulting in “rebranded” versions of the same program.
You can be sure that people you elected, who said they were against the federal intrusion into education and would work to remove it, will staunchly claim their commitment to protect the state, but will act to water down or prevent passing this bill.
Some claim that a bill recently passed by Congress, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), places a great deal more control in the hands of states, local communities, parents, and educators including cutting the federal strings of Common Core. That could not be further from the truth. The ESSA actually requires states to comply with College and Career Ready Standards, which are Common Core. The bill does not remove the federal government from the business of education, as it requires the federal education secretary to approve each state’s plans for education. In addition, state chief school officers continue to be held accountable for not reporting a 95% participation rate on student assessments. The ESSA also extends federal funding to states to review and improve their existing pre-K programs. We can fully expect, and have found, this extension of “assistance” to be laden with all the usual federal encroachments that accompany federal funding.
Federal involvement in education is about control, not education. The partnership between the federal departments of Labor and Education to further the development of fully functioning statewide birth-to-adulthood databases on citizens, and commonality of standards and testing across the country is reshaping the nation. It will result, as intended, in only people whose education they can control getting jobs, getting into college, and getting into the military. It’s a tool of control, not a tool of education.
It is extremely important that this bill move forward without any amendments. Changes that affect the intent or effectiveness of the bill will be attempted. “Rebranded” do-nothing bills occur when all aspects of federal intrusion are not addressed and repealed.
HB2292 (formerly HB2676) does address and repeal all aspects of federal intrusion, including Common Core.
We believe parents are those best equipped to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
We believe teachers are best able to be responsive to parents and meet the education needs of children when they are not encumbered by federal and state mandates.
We believe individual teachers are degreed professionals who are capable of creating their own lesson plans and deciding how to teach.
Rejecting nationalized education standards is the first step toward bringing true academic choice, freedom, and protection of personal property. Passage of this legislation, without amendments, into law represents a positive step forward for the children, parental rights, and the constitution.