LOS ANGELES (July 15, 2015) This week, the Federal Senate rejected a measure that would have protected school choice, but individuals and states are already taking actions without federal approval, and it will likely continue and grow in 2016.
In a rare instance where a measure was put forward in the National Congress that would have actually bolstered educational freedom and parental choice, it was still defeated by a wide margin. The feds are, yet again, simply unwilling to limit their own power. A Truth in American Education blog elaborates on this unfortunate, but not unexpected, development:
U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) offered an amendment to S.1177, the Every Child Achieves Act, that would require schools in states receiving Title I funds to notify parents about all assessments that are given, the dates they are going to be given, and the subjects they cover within a minimum of 14 days of the assessment being given. According to the language states are also required to allow parents to opt their student out of federally mandated assessments…
The U.S. Senate voted this down 32 to 64. Let that sink in, 64 U.S. Senators voted against a basic, natural parental right.
While the failure of this bill may be infuriating to concerned parents across the country, it does not mean that the fight is over. Ultimately, a federal measure is not going to restore local control over education. It is going to be individuals, communities and states.
An Oregon bill was recently signed into law allowing parents to opt their children out of standardized Common Core testing more easily. The new law authorizes parents to opt their children out for any reason for at least the next six school years, and will require schools to notify parents and students of that right at the start of each year. Schools will also be required to give students more information about test schedules and their purpose. A similar bill sits on the Governor’s desk in Delaware right now, waiting to be signed.
However, it is not the only means of push-back that Americans can utilize. In states with legislatures unwilling to act, individuals are simply opting their children out of these Common Core tests in huge numbers. In New York, a recent opt-out campaign saw at least 175,000 students against Common Core’s testing regime. That nearly triples the total opting out from the previous year, showing that this effort is on the rise.
Inside sources suggest that similar legislation will be considered in as many as ten additional states in 2016.