Currently, throughout the Chicagoland area various persons purportedly speaking in behalf of school districts are panic peddling concerns by area Superintendents, regarding a US Congress House Bill (HR 610) that was introduced for consideration by the US House of Representatives in January, 2017.
Below is a link to the bill and the text of the bill that you can also view by clicking the link to the bill:
First and foremost, the process of considering the content and ultimate revisions of such a Bill is a long and tortured path where all interested parties have a right to weigh in on the Bill and its content as part of our great American Democracy. Hopefully, what will come out of this process is a path to improving education as we know it.
I have read HR610 2017 & the current law 20 USC 6301 et seq (Meaning these laws https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/chapter-70/subchapter-I). The Bill delegates the distribution of Block grants to States, removes Federal requirements for curriculum & testing to obtain funds, eliminates the national setting of caloric maximums for State lunches and allows parents to provide lunches for their children. Funding for children with disabilities is provided by another law. This Bill is all part of bringing schools and education decisions back to the communities that serve the kids.
There is plenty of Federal funding and existing legislative protections for children with disabilities
So what is the perceived crisis ?
Critics of H.R. 610 argue that the bill would have a disproportionately negative impact on public schools in low-income communities because it would repeal ESEA, which has provided a significant source of federal funding to them. The Department of Education reports that more than about 56,000 public schools and 21 million children would be impacted by changes to Title I funding:
ED’s most recent data on participation in the program are from school year (SY) 2009-10. In SY 2009-10 more than 56,000 public schools across the country used Title I funds to provide additional academic support and learning opportunities to help low-achieving children master challenging curricula and meet state standards in core academic subjects. For example, funds support extra instruction in reading and mathematics, as well as special preschool, after-school, and summer programs to extend and reinforce the regular school curriculum.
That same year Title I served more than 21 million children. Of these students, approximately 59 percent were in kindergarten through fifth grade, 21 percent in grades 6-8, 17 percent in grades 9-12, 3 percent in preschool, and less than one percent ungraded.
Supporters of H.R. 610 argue that children from underperforming “Title I” public schools in low-income areas would be able to use a voucher to attend a better private or charter school under H.R. 610.
Again, H.R. 610 would repeal ESEA and limit the authority of the Department of Education — marking a dramatic shift in how public schools are funded. The Department of Education would only be authorized to administer education funding in federal block grants to states, a portion of which would have to be administered to private and home schooled students, according to the text of the bill:
The bill establishes an education voucher program, through which each state shall distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies (LEAs) based on the number of eligible children within each LEA’s geographical area. From these amounts, each LEA shall: (1) distribute a portion of funds to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child, and (2) do so in a manner that ensures that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses.
To be eligible to receive a block grant, a state must: (1) comply with education voucher program requirements, and (2) make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect to enroll their child in any public or private elementary or secondary school in the state or to home-school their child.
What scares the School Superintendents is that they would face competition for education dollars and would be required to be more responsive to parents’ and childrens’ educational needs and vision.
The HR 610, which was introduced to House by Iowa Rep. Steve King, in late January, is still in its early stages, according to Congress’ official website. The bill was last referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Jan. 23, 2017 — and there have not been any more updates on the bill’s status since then.
H.R. 610 will have to take quite a few steps before becoming a law — which is a lengthy and timely process. The bill will first have to be passed by House, then Senate, before President Donald Trump officially makes it a law.
But there is something that everyone can do from the comfort of their own homes to make sure that this bill is passed — by calling their representatives and telling them just how H.R. 610 will effect them and what the HR 610 should contain increase the input of parents in the education of their children and bring competition to the arena of elementary and secondary education.
For parents, students, and educators everywhere there is still some time to contact their representatives and let them know how important H.R. 610 is to students and the public education system before the bill is voted on by Congress.
This is needed to ensure public school accountability and will be much more effective than any standardized testing. I really don’t know what the whining is about (well I do know, it’s about the School Superintendents protecting their kingdoms) because parents with vouchers never get all their tax money back. Schools will still get more money than they have kids in their schools.
If you ask me, higher education also needs reform when it comes to issuing education degrees. Education should always be a minor, never a major, and prospective teachers should have to major in something else especially at the middle and high school levels. I want high school math teachers especially to have math degrees, not education degrees (except as a minor).
At the end of the day this panic is all about power and money ; this discussion is about what is best for the adults .