Home > Uncategorized > ESEA 51Years Later: It’s Unravelling is Nearly Complete

ESEA 51Years Later: It’s Unravelling is Nearly Complete

I receive Politico’s Morning Education every weekday morning and often find links to articles of interest to me and occasionally draw on their reports to write blog posts. Yesterday’s feed included this:

– President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act on this day back in 1965. “By passing this bill, we bridge the gap between helplessness and hope for more than 5 million educationally deprived children,” he said. “We put into the hands of our youth more than 30 million new books, and into many of our schools their first libraries. We reduce the terrible time lag in bringing new teaching techniques into the nation’s classrooms. We strengthen state and local agencies which bear the burden and the challenge of better education. … As a son of a tenant farmer, I know that education is the only valid passport from poverty. As a former teacher – and, I hope, a future one – I have great expectations of what this law will mean for all of our young people.” The speech: http://bit.ly/1S29p4W.

ESEA devolved over the past five decades: first to NCLB, then to RTTT, and now to ESSA. While our media cover the 2016 election, they focus on delegate counts and the preposterous talk about walls along our borders, carpet bombing innocent civilians, and tax cuts. Meanwhile, the congressional deliberations on the rules for ESSA are receiving little to no coverage, and some of those deliberations are on the issue of supplanting versus supplementing– an arcane but crucial distinction. A major factor in ESSA, which was agreed upon by both parties after the RTTT debacle, is the restoration of state control over testing and a general diminishment of federal control over how resources are used at the state level. Some of the federal legislators are advocating that States be allowed to use the federal funds any way they wish… including the opportunity house them to diminish State funds. If this is allowed to occur, the entire purpose of ESEA will be diminished if not reversed, for the original purpose of the federal funds was to supplement education funding by directing more of it toward the 5,000,000 educationally deprived children who were helpless and hopeless. If the ESSA funds are not targeted toward the “educationally deprived children” there is no assurance whatsoever that states will direct funds toward them and lots of evidence that they will neglect to do so. Lyndon Johnson and the idealistic legislators who passed ESEA are weeping wherever they are resting now.

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