Once again, the party of limited government helps expand it, this time in a new law that supposedly replaces No Child Left Behind and Common Core.
Parents and school boards will be encountering nasty new forms of federal intervention in education for years to come, now that President Obama has signed the mammoth successor to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Despite its many flaws, NCLB lasted almost 14 years, as political gridlock resulted in the year-five deadline for reauthorization stretching another nine years. When a House-Senate conference committee agreed 39–1 on a mere outline of a bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan ordered the 1,061-page measure to be printed, released November 30, and voted on just two days later. It passed in the House 359–64. Just one week later, it sailed through the Senate 85–12.
It is more likely that this latest version of federalized education will last the next 15 years than that Congress will revisit it in five years.
Republican leaders have boasted repeatedly about how the new law, cutely dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), restores considerable control to local school stewards and liberates them from federal hectoring to be Common Core-compliant. Although it is true some irritants, such as mandatory reporting of the average yearly progress measure, will be gone, more pervasive forms of federal influence loom.
Enshrining a New Common Core
It is doubtful many members of Congress found the time to wade through ESSA in the few days following Thanksgiving break to explore its actual contents. One who may have done so was Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who on the House floor delivered a ringing endorsement of the impending federal advancement of “social and emotional learning,” which he described as the essence of a new Common Core.
As recorded by the Truth in American Education blog, Tim Ryan said the “ability to regulate your own emotional state … comes well before science, technology, engineering, and math. … I believe there is a new way of educating our kids emerging here, there is a new Common Core developing, and that is the mental discipline and the physical health of our young people.”
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