By Nancy Thorner –
The success of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson represents an anguished shout from Republican voters to the powers-that-be in Washington: The system is broken; it’s not working.
If you want to know why millions of Republicans voters hate their party politics in Washington, D.C., consider what massive GOP majorities in both the House and the Senate did in December of 2015. Not only did GOP majorities pass the catastrophic Omnibus bill, but they also extended and give new life to the failed “No Child Left Behind” bill signed by President George W. Bush in 2002.
By renaming the bill and rigging the game so it would pass, “No Child Left Behind” is now called the “Every Student Succeeds Act.”
The lengthy bill (S 1177) was posted only two days (12/8/2015) before the legislation was voted on, ensuring that few legislators would have time to read it and that the American people would have no time to weigh in. Notwithstanding, the army of highly paid lobbyists had already secured their pieces of the action during months of what are described as intense negotiations.
So it was that after months of secret negotiations to reconcile the House and Senate versions to replace the failed “No Child Left Behind”, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015. Read here the text of the bill.
This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) — the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students passed as a part of United States President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s “War on Poverty” in 1965. President Obama’s quick and willful signature on S 1177 only increases the skepticism that the “Every Student Succeeds Act” will not meaningfully reduce federal meddling in education.
As stated by President at the signing ceremony of S. 1177:
“With this bill, we reaffirm that fundamentally American ideal—that every child, regardless of race, income, background, the zip code where they live, deserves the chance to make of their lives what they will.”
According to Jane Robbins, S 1177 is so progressive that it was supported by all Democrats in Congress, President Barack Obama, the owners of the Common Core national standards (National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers), and every other pro-Common Core and pro-progressive education interest group in the country, while the bill was adamantly opposed by over 200 anti-Common Core grassroots organizations. Jane Robbins has written and published numerous articles about education (including Common Core controversy) for “Truth in American Education.”
In the final analysis, ESSA represents a retreat on nearly all of the selling points that accompanied the House-passed H.R. 5 bill (Student Success Act – H.R.5) passed on July 8, 2015, which sought to reduce the federal footprint and restore local control, while empowering parents and education leaders to hold schools accountable for effectively teaching students. As CQ Roll Call noted, the “the final agreement largely resembles” the Senate-passed bill, specifically the conference report.
Republicans should have listened to the more than 200 pro-Constitution, anti-Common Core grassroots groups that laid out in detail their objections to this bill and practically begged their ‘conservative’ elected officials to reject IL 1177. Instead, all but 64 members of the House and 12 senators ignored their knowledgeable constituents and did the bidding of the White House and the Republican leadership.
In a news release of Dec. 9, 2015 Senator Mark Kirk celebrated the passage of S. 1177. As the only member of the Illinois delegation that serves on a Congressional committee overseeing education policy; Kirk helped shepherd ESSA through the committee and conference process. Working with the 10th District congressman, Bob Dold, impact ad assistance was maintained for schools in North Chicago (North Chicago borders Waukegan in northern Illinois.).
As testimony to the final progressive outcome of the bi-partisan “Every Student Succeeds Act”, Dold and Kirk have Republican voting records that are equal or lower than legislators having a “D” after their names. Heritage Action’s Scorecard puts Dold at 23%. Even lower is Kirk’s at 13%. The Heritage Action Scorecard doesn’t separate Republicans from Democrat legislators. They are all lumped together in one list. See how your U.S. senator and representative are rated.
Despite glowing reports from many progressive groups over the re-authorization of ESSA through 2020, less than glowing reports were forthcoming from respectable organizations who believe that education decisions should be made by state and local decision. ESSA neither stops Common core, nor does it rain in Obama’s Department of Education.