By Anita B. Hoge:
Senator Ted Cruz Uses the Words “CHOICE” and “CIVIL RIGHTS,” but Beware.
By Dangling Title I Money to ALL Parents, Sen. Ted Cruz Accelerates Federal Control Over All Private, Religious, and Homeschools, and Blankets Common Core Equitably to ALL Schools in America With His Proposed Bill, S 306.
On Oct. 26, 2015, The Blaze quoted Sen. Ted Cruz as saying, “School Choice Is Today’s ‘Civil Rights’ Issue.” But before you get excited about this, ask Sen. Ted Cruz what he means when he uses the term “choice.”
Quoting from Sen. Ted Cruz’s website:
Sen. Cruz Joins as Lead Cosponsor of Messer-Lee-Cruz Bill to Expand School Choice
EVERY CHILD MUST HAVE HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY FOR A BETTER LIFE
January 29, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today joined as lead cosponsor of the Enhancing Educational Opportunities for All Act, which was introduced by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Ut….
“The rich and middle class have had school choice from the beginning of time,” said Sen. Cruz. “This fight is about ensuring that every child, regardless of race, ethnicity, or zip code has the same opportunity to choose the school that best fits their needs and will help them achieve their very best. I am proud to work with Sen. Lee and Congressman Messer on this legislation to give more and more kids hope and opportunity for a better life.”
The Enhancing Educational Opportunities for All Act would:
- Allow Title I funds to follow low-income students to any public or private school of their choice.
- Remove contribution limitations on Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, the lone tax break available to parents for K-12 expenses.
- Expand “529” Savings Accounts to cover K-12 elementary and secondary education expenses, giving families yet another option to pay for K-12 educational expenses. (Emp. Added.)
It is interesting to note that Sen. Ted Cruz forgot to say in his Press Release that he also changed the definition of private school to include homeschool. This is significant. This fight is all about protecting our children.
If I had not read the sponsors of this bill I would think this legislation came right out of President Obama’s Equity Plan called For Each and Every Child: A STRATEGY FOR EDUCATION EQUITY AND EXCELLENCE. (Source)
Ask what “Equity” means. On page 17 of President Obama’s report it states:
The time has come for bold action by the states—and the federal government—to redesign and reform the funding of our nation’s public schools. Achieving equity and excellence requires sufficient resources that are distributed based on student need, not zip code, and that are efficiently used.
Accordingly, this commission believes the time has come for bold action by the states—and the federal government—to redesign and reform the funding of our nation’s public schools. (Emp. Added.)
…and develops mechanisms that allow the federal government to MONITOR and ENFORCE the ongoing performance of its new equity and excellence investments to make sure those investments are, in fact, enhancing student achievement. (Emp. added.)
ENFORCE its equity mandates in a fair and intelligent manner. ENFORCEMENT mechanisms should be tied to federal funding and equity of outcomes.
On October 26, 2015, Andrew Mullins, Deputy Director, HSLDA Federal Relations, Home School Legal Defense Association, in support of this legislation stated:
“In other words, S. 306 seeks to treat homeschoolers fairly.”
Federal funding, Title I portability is designed to control. There is nothing “fair” about S 306. In a letter to Sen. Ted Cruz last November, HSLDA continued to support S 306.
Title I portability is not a mystery. This is FEDERAL “CHOICE” which reforms how schools are financed. This means that Sen. Ted Cruz supports Title I funds that are “portable,” where all students are funded “equitably,” not local schools. What this means is that all public funding can be deposited into an ESA, education savings account. Sen. Ted Cruz’s title in S 306 makes the statement “ALL students” which includes private school students and homeschool students. S 306 knocks down the doors of every private and homeschool so that the Feds can sweep right in.
Sen. Ted Cruz stated on The Blaze TV show on October 26, 2015 with Glenn Beck:
“I’m not remotely pushing for homeschool to be reclassified in any
way, shape or form.”
Yet S 306 legislates otherwise! Sen. Ted Cruz’s Press Release dated January 29, 2015 states that he supports Rep. Messer’s bill, HR 553, dated January 27, 2015. However, Rep. Messer’s companion bill does NOT have Title I portability included in his bill.
Why has Sen. Cruz attached Title I portability to his S 306, targeting private schools and homeschools to receive ESEA Title I federal funds? Title I portability is a F5 tornado that pulverizes all schools and now he has made sure that it will sweep through homeschools as well. Why has Sen. Cruz added Title I portability to his bill when it is not in the Messer bill?
The key to understanding the re-write of ESEA that passed in December, is actually reading the Reauthorization legislation which I am convinced not many people have. When Sen. Ted Cruz added his S 306 to the already heavy-handed federal legislation in the Reauthorization of ESEA, a very ugly monster storm begins to emerge out of D.C. – total control of all schools with one national curriculum, with one set of national standards, and one national test in the United States. I believe Sen. Ted Cruz knows very well why he included homeschools in the Title I federal agenda.
Interesting that Sen. Ted Cruz voted against the Reauthorization of ESEA in the Senate, (knowing that S 1177 was going to pass in spite of his NO vote), but then submitted his S 306 which will suck homeschools into the Title I agenda of ESEA. He, perhaps inadvertently, tipped his hand. He is betraying homeschool parents. In the end, Sen. Ted Cruz DID NOT VOTE at all in the final passage in December.
S 306, Section I, Title I Portability under ESEA is “amended by adding to the end” of which are state plans for standards, testing, and accountability which is referenced in Sen. Ted Cruz’s bill. A Title I child accepting funds to implement a federal education program is considered a recipient of federal financial assistance. This will effectually mandate Common Core to every private school accepting the enrolled Title I funded portability child.
Senator Ted Cruz supports “CHOICE” as a Presidential candidate, and he would allow “CHOICE” Title I funds to “follow the child” to any public school or private school. But this is phony choice! It is government-controlled choice! It means that a private school must accept a “low income” child with federal Title I funds in their ESA. In the past a private school could refuse Title I FUNDS. But now the money “follows the child.” If a private school refuses the child with the federal funds, that school will be sued under discrimination according to Civil Rights laws. Is this what Sen. Ted Cruz meant by choice being a “Civil Rights” issue? Everyone must comply to Common Core?
This also happens to be President Obama’s Equity Plan. Yet the Republican leadership in the House and Senate ramrodded nationalizing this education plan along with the President. Sen. Ted Cruz obliged. To complete this monstrous bipartisan plan, all private, religious, and homeschools must be added in.
If a homeschool, now a private school, meets the criteria for “low income child” it would be targeted to access these funds – and the control that comes with the money. This is not true choice. This is phony choice. This child receiving Title I “choice” funds must abide by the rest of the amended section which mandates standards, testing, and accountability, Common Core and data collection. Accepting Title I funds is considered federal financial assistance.
But, one might think, not all homeschools or families with children in private or public schools are “low income.” Let’s dig into ESEA to find out how the rules have changed in which ALL CHILDREN are mandated to be simmered in the federal Title I pot.
Why are ALL children Title I, or what had to be changed in the Reauthorization legislation to throw an ESEA blanket over every school?
Title I was originally a poverty program to help poor children learn to read. President Obama and Secretary Duncan have bastardized Title I by dissolving the poverty guidelines under the illegal ESEA Flexibility Waivers that capture ALL CHILDREN under a Schoolwide net. Schoolwide means ALL students in that school become Title I. The 40% guidelines of children receiving free and reduced lunch disintegrated without Congressional approval to the level of 0%. Sen. Lamar Alexander and Congressman Kline’s ESSA legislation combined have codified the Flexibility Waivers in the Reauthorization legislation passed in December.
How does this impact private schools or homeschools? In ESEA the exceptions allow a school once designated Schoolwide the day before the legislation is adopted to continue the Schoolwide banner. This means by “cooking” the numbers all children in that school are designated “low income,” even if some parents are millionaires. When these Title I children flock to their “CHOICE” school, their Title I federal baggage “follows the child.”
Furthermore, ESEA states that a private school student receiving funds from a local education agency is designated a student enrolled from the originating public school that delegated the funds. If the student happens to live in a Schoolwide school district, that child is Title I. ALL students are Title I and ALL students are identified to receive Title I portability funds to go to the school of their choice under Sen. Ted Cruz’s bill. ALL federal monitoring and enforcing mandates now kick in.
Sen. Ted Cruz’s S 306 is redefining homeschools as private schools:
“(C) PRIVATE SCHOOL.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘private school’ includes any home school that meets the requirements of State law applicable to such home schools, whether or not such school is deemed a private school for purposes of State law.” (Emp. added.)
Why is Sen. Ted Cruz violating State’s Rights and the 10th Amendment by forcing states to recognize homeschools as private schools, whether they want to or not? This is a Constitutional crisis in the making. The federal government mandates are forcing states to comply in this section of his bill. Is Sen. Ted Cruz bypassing State Sovereignty and representative government here? Why would Sen. Ted Cruz, a man supposedly dedicated to the Constitution, ride roughshod over the 10th Amendment as well as Supreme Court decisions reaffirming parents’ rights over the education of their children?
Knowing this to be true, WHY would Sen. Ted Cruz change a homeschool into a private school? By changing this definition, all criteria for a private school that receives any federal funds from a Title I child would be be also be applied to homeschools. This includes abiding by standards, testing, curriculum, teacher certification, direct student services, and data collection. In other words, performance to Common Core in 45 states would then be mandated to homeschools! The extensive defining elements for “equitable direct student services” and an “approved” mandated curriculum (i.e., mental health psychobabble) are repeated throughout the ESEA legislation. (Note: There are 14 states that already define a homeschool as a private school. S 306 applies to private schools.)
In S 306, Sen. Ted Cruz neglects to recognize the accountability required in the data collection and data mining which is mandated in the Reauthorization of ESEA by the Institute for Educational Sciences, NCES/IES, for Title I. Data tracking is mandated, as well as, data mining/data trafficking in which third party contractors are able to access personally identifiable information on each student.
With a swipe of President Obama’s pen, this scenario was enacted with the illegal EO 12866 which gutted FERPA, allowing all student and family data, including psychological dossiers, to flow to 3rd party vendors. Thus, private and homeschools will be monitored for accountability.
How will these Title I funds be distributed to parents enrolling in public, charter, private, religious, or homeschools? Checks or vouchers deposited into an Education Savings Account, ESA? Direct Deposit directly to the parent in an ESA account?
Let’s propose a scenario: Parents most likely would have to sign a contract with their state’s education department stating that they will provide their child with a Common Core education and state-approved subjects. Title I would kick in to demand that the child meet state-approved standards and equitable services (note the word “equity”). The department would make quarterly deposits in the ESA accounts. During each fiscal quarter, parents would be required to return all receipts for purchases to the department or use a debit card that would be used to allow only certain select purchases from the “approved” list. The department would review each purchase similar to the DC Scholarship ‘Confirmation Invoice Report’ to make sure parents spent money only on Common Core eligible expenses. If parents use their ESA to pay for something that is not an eligible expense the department will withhold the next quarterly deposit and a correction in the account would be made. Also, ESA enrollees must participate in norm-referenced tests requiring adherence to state Common Core standards.
Homeschool families are already asking if curricula like Seton or ABeka are going to be on the list of state-approved curriculum that can be paid for with Title I funds. This will inevitably standardize the Common Core curriculum in every private and religious school and all homeschool curriculum. It becomes obvious that there will be no true freedom of choice.
Must homeschools be accredited as a private school? ESEA legislation states that all curriculum must be approved and overseen by an ombudsman in a private school receiving funds. This eliminates true choice.
What does this mean for private and parochial schools that must accept a Title I child that forces their hand under Civil Rights discrimination protections? Title I portability eliminates the word “private” in private schools. All schools become government schools. This is not choice.
HSLDA, which supports Cruz’s S 306 states on their website:
“A common point of confusion for many people about S. 306 surrounds §101 of this bill. This section provides Title 1 federal government funding through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to brick-and-mortar private schools. However, since this bill defines homeschools as private schools only for the purposes of §201 (the Coverdell section), §101 will not allow homeschoolers to receive federal Title 1 funding.”
HSLDA IS MISLEADING HOMESCHOOLERS. Homeschools would be codified in legislation as a private school. The law is the law. Instead HSLDA should be warning homeschoolers that accepting Title I means being sucked up into the Title I portability tornado. Lock your doors and secure your windows. HSLDA should be advising parents to NOT let Sen. Ted Cruz place them squarely in Title I’s portability “suck zone.” HSLDA should be informing parents that Title I also applies to every child labeled as failing or At-Risk of failing to meet Common Core standards of specified attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions.
What is a Title I At-Risk Child and how are Common Core services pushed onto private, religious, and homeschools?
Taken from page 134 in the Reauthorization of ESEA called Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
‘(b) PLAN PROVISIONS.—To ensure that all children receive a high-quality education, and to close the achievement gap between children meeting the challenging State academic standards and those children who are not meeting such standards, each local educational agency plan shall describe—
‘‘(1) how the local educational agency will monitor students’ progress in meeting the challenging State academic standards by—
‘‘(A) developing and implementing a well- rounded program of instruction to meet the academic needs of all students;
‘‘(B) identifying students who may be at risk for academic failure;”
Taken from page 164 of ESSA:
‘‘(iii) address the needs of all children in the school, but particularly the needs of those at risk of not meeting the challenging State academic standards, through activities which may include—
‘‘(I) counseling, school-based mental health programs, specialized instructional support services, mentoring services, and other strategies to improve students’ skills outside the academic subject areas;”
First of all, there is nothing academic about Common Core. S 306 does not explain the non-academic services that would be mandated for a Title I child that is deemed “At-Risk” for not meeting state standards. What are these services that the ESEA legislation specifies would be carried out by IDEA, Individual with Disabilities Education Act, known as Special Education? The specialized student support services defined in ESEA are psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc., who must provide these services for At-Risk students or those determined to be At-Risk of being At-Risk. The services are listed as: Multi-Tiered and SchoolWide Tiered Systems of Support, Response to Interventions, Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, Early Intervening Services, Conflict Resolution, Restorative Justice, and Universal Design for Learning. Schools will be enticed to bill Medicaid for these specialized services. Coding mental health services at school brand your child for life.
Sen. Ted Cruz neglected to explain the tsunami of services that kick in when a student is determined as not meeting state standards in the Title I Portability bill. In ESSA these services are defined as “direct student services” and “meaningful choice.” Any child NOT meeting the Common Core aligned state standards MUST receive interventions and specialized student support services to achieve proficiency to the degree mandated by government.
Another question: why has Sen. Ted Cruz expanded 529 plans to include all children age 0-21 to come under “qualified education expenses”? It is interesting to note that his summary only included K-12, but his legislation approves birth to age 21. Big difference! Sen.
Ted Cruz’s S 306, Title I portability tornado is picking up a lot of debris.
Does expanding 529 plans for Pre-K connect to Sen. Bob Casey’s Universal Pre-K (Common Core for babies) that he and Sen. Murray have been proposing and included in ESSA? Isn’t this President Obama’s equity plan for babies? Has anyone researched the HeadStart criteria for babies in the social, emotional, behavioral domain (baby psychobabble)? Has anyone looked at Pennsylvania’s “model” Universal Pre-K for the nation? This is bad news for parents.
Why age 0-21? Does this not conform to the Common Core P-20 agenda? It appears that the Cruz “portable” funding scheme now pays for free daycare, free tuition at any school, and 2 years of free community college. Isn’t this similar to what President Obama said in his State of the Union Address, with all public funds jam-packed into an ESA that “follows the child.”
Oh, what a web we weave behind the 21st Century Womb-to-Workplace agenda!
Parents deserve to know the truth and have all the facts before them. Sen. Ted Cruz’s S 306 legislation does NOT support homeschools. Sen. Ted Cruz does NOT support parents to have the freedom to choose because S 306 and ESEA give the feds all of the power over homeschools, private schools, religious schools, and public schools. ESEA and S 306 tentacles ensnare every school and every child from age 0-21 with Common Core using the “choice” carrot.
S 306 will force states to rewrite both their private school and homeschool regulations to align to federal law. And to think Sen. Ted Cruz is running for President of the United States touting the principle of subsidiarity.
UNDER THE NEW ESEA, FEDERAL BUREAUCRATS WILL CONTROL THE STANDARDS, THE CURRICULUM, THE TEACHERS, THE TESTING AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT. Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Alexander, and Congressman Kline have circled the federal wagons. All of our children have Title I targets on their backs.
Recently Sen. Ted Cruz organized a Homeschool Coalition that he feverishly says he wants to help. But the warning cannot be clearer. Sen. Ted Cruz, intends to throw the Title I blanket over homeschools. Homeschools, Beware! Sen. Ted. Cruz does not support true free choice.
With S 306 Sen. Ted Cruz, has deliberately and deceitfully placed homeschoolers in the storm’s path. The tornado is Title I portability, and it will drop what’s left of homeschools and homeschoolers inside the federal government’s fence.
And so Common Core falls across America and darkens independent thought and education.
Beware, Sen. Ted Cruz is an insider.
© Copyright by Anita B. Hoge, 2016. All rights reserved.