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A Letter: What about private & home schools?

February 5, 2003

Dear Maple River Education Coalition,

I am working on a bill in our legislature concerning vouchers. I have learned of the following federal law. 20 USC sec.7886(b) says:

In other words, states canšt force home school students to be tested. Are you aware of a similar law for private schools?

According to an article published by the Association of Christian Schools International, H.R. 1 includes an exemption from all testing requirements for any private school or private school student that does not receive ESEA funds or services.

In addition, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (H.R. 1) prohibits:

With this legal language in place, how can you say that there is a Federal Curriculum that will include ALL students.

Sincerely,
Concerned legislator and parent

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Concerned legislator and parent,

When discussing No Child Left Behind, as well as the 1994 laws of Goals 2000, STW, and HR6, it is important to distinguish between what laws do directly and what they accomplish indirectly. For example, Goals 2000 said repeatedly that the program was "optional," but why, then, did all 50 states participate? Did they do so because they all thought it was good education policy? Not at all.

All 50 states participated because HR6 said they would lose their federal education money if they didn't do so. Goals 2000 was prohibited by legislative action from mandating state participation, but the program accomplished the same end by indirect means.

The same principle holds true for the new Federal Curriculum and for de facto federal influence/control of national tests and many textbooks. Evidence of this federal influence/control of the national tests is stated on the Stanford test webpage which says:

"New Features:
All-new content aligned with state standards and national standards.

That is, the Stanford achievement test is now based on the federal national standards (Federal Curriculum). (The state standards are aligned with the federal standards.) Similar comments are made in the new McGraw-Hill Home School Catalog: PreK -- Grade 8, which provides the following definition for the word "standards":

"Standards
Statements regarding skills and concepts that should be accomplished at various levels of learning. There are national, as well as state and local standards that are to be met, and usually monitored through standardized testing. Many of our imprints meet National Standards". . . [Emphasis added.]

Notice that the catalog recognizes the existence of a federal curriculum ("national standards that are to be met.") Notice that the catalog also recognizes that the national tests are now based on these national standards. And why does the catalog say that the national, state and local standards are "usually monitored through standardized testing"?

The implication is that home school parents, who want their children to do well on standardized tests, should choose textbooks and software that are based on the standards (Federal Curriculum), since the standardized tests (such as the Iowa Basics, Stanford, Act and SAT) are now based on the federal standards as well.

This catalog then describes a number of its offerings with language like this:

"Program concepts are based on NCTM Standards [national math standards] and many state curriculum frameworks." [Catalog's emphasis, p. 49.]

That language describes available software. Many of the textbooks offered are described as follows:

That is, many of the new textbooks and software offerings are now based on the national standards (Federal Curriculum). It is time for all Americans to come to grips with the following facts:

  • There is a federal curriculum that has been put in place indirectly.
  • Most or all national achievement tests are now based on this curriculum.
  • Textbooks and educational software increasingly are based on this curriculum.

    Because of the above information (and much additional information), all home schools and private schools will be profoundly affected by the Federal Curriculum as well as by the entire federal education system. (Goals 2000 always said it covered all students.) For detailed information on how it all works, See Fed Ed: The New Federal Curriculum and How It's Enforced.

    Sincerely,
    Maple River Education Coalition

    p.s. Teacher certification is now largely based on the Federal Curriculum as well.

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