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Major Data Collection Bill #2

March 14, 2002

The [federal] House Education Reform subcommittee approved HR 3801 yesterday.

The bill now goes onto the full Education and Workforce Committee for action next week. The House Education committee will vote it out sometime next week. The House plans to vote on HR 3801 after the Easter break.

If this legislation becomes controversial enough, legislators may actively look for ways to amend away some of its most egregious elements.

As is planned now, there will be no amendments allowed on the House floor! However, some suggested amendments are below:

1. Delete the sections that allow interagency data collection [Section 154(b)(3)]; and

2. Delete the cooperative education statistics systems (Section 157).

The Academy: A Brief Overview of its Structure

The Academy Of Education Sciences HR 3801 replaces, reorganizes and expands the implementation and enforcement mechanisms that were established by Goals 2000 in 1994, called the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI).

This Academy is headed by a Director who is to be advised by a Board. Both the Director and the 15 member board are to be appointed by the President. The Academy has several Centers:

a) The National Center for Education Research - This Center will perform research to provide information to us "about the condition and progress of education in the United States, educational practices that improve academic achievement, and the effectiveness of Federal education programs..." They will conduct this research using "quantitative" and "quasi-experimental" methods so that this research will be "scientifically valid."

There are several problems with these plans.

"Educational practices that improve academic achievement" simply means "educational practices that conform to the new federal education/workforce system." (See "Does the 'Repeal' of Goals 2000 Mean Anything?")

Since Goals 2000 was passed in 1994, "educational practices that improve academic achievement" has brought us the new fuzzy math, bilingual education, performance assessments, reconstructed history, and civics requirements that undermine our constitutional principles of freedom. (See "Civic Virtue and National Standards")

The "condition and progress of education in the United States" has been worsening ever since the federal government has been involved. Plenty of information exists about what "improves academic achievement," such as phonics, time on task, memorization, and homework. Federal programs have not been successful because they have frequently undermined these methods.

Lastly, the poor quality of federal education research will remain low by including the term "quasi-experimental" research. Nothing will be "scientifically valid," leaving the door wide open for the psychosocial, internationalist, non-academic drivel that the federal curriculum now uses.

b) National Center for Education Statistics - includes the National Assessment Governing Board, which administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and which we discussed in our previous update.

c) National Center for Education Evaluation - sets up an entire oversight and enforcement system of education in every state.

It is through this Evaluation Center that the rubber hits the road on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the national test which for the first time is REQUIRED in all states.

In the final hours of conference committee negotiating on "No Child Left Behind" last December, Congressional leaders removed federal "rewards and sanctions" to the states that would have been based on results of the NAEP. They did that to minimize the onslaught of criticism they were receiving from the public and education activists that the NAEP was nothing more than a national test to establish a national curriculum. (State rewards and sanctions based on the NAEP remained in the bill, however.)

Many asked, without direct rewards and sanctions, how is the NAEP used as an enforcement tool? How do states and districts fashion their curriculum on the results of the NAEP when no one can ever see the test there are no consequences?

The answer is the National Center for Education Evaluation. This agency "conducts a national assessment" on the impact of the federal law on states, districts schools and students. (See Part E of Title I of "No Child Left Behind.") The Center is to "examine" how the states implement their standards, assessments, and accountability systems and, essentially, how thorough their compliance is. They report their findings to Congress and to policy makers. Their reports are available for agencies that provide the grants.

The NAEP will be their primary source of information! (See Part E of Title I.) In other words, just as we stated in our alerts prior topassage of "No Child Left Behind," The NAEP is the primary enforcement tool of the New Federal Curriculum. It reports progress toward the Goals 2000 education curriculum that is mandated through the federal law.

The NAEP is not primarily an academic achievement test. Two-thirds of the NAEP is demographic information about the student, his family, his school and his community. The rest of the test measures beliefs and attitudes mixed in with math and reading skills. (See "The NAEP Test")

Is it any wonder that releasing ANY questions on the NAEP or using any information on the NAEP suddenly became a felony in the new federal mandate? All of this testing and data collecting is done with no oversight from parents and taxpayers. Our release of excerpts of the 1996 NAEP test were the FIRST time the public had the opportunity to evaluate it in its 30 year history!

The Education Evaluation Center also conducts the National Longitudinal Study and conducts the independent evaluation established under "No Child Left Behind." Together these studies thoroughly examine the states, schools and districts as to how they are incorporating the new federal curriculum and the restructuring of education.

d) Knowledge Utilization Office - "disseminates" the federal research on curriculum, assessments, teaching, governance, finance and accountability. This is the public relations department. They promote the system to the media, the public, "other organizations" and "other constituencies." Using the term "scientifically valid research in education" sounds objective and reliable, but given the "quasi-experimental" loophole, "dissemination" can become every psychosocial, non-academic, job-skills-based program they want to promote as a "best practice."

e) National Library of Education - This Library is to "collect and archive all of the information and products (read curriculum) and publications " that the Academy or any other Federal agency develops or supports. This means that job skills put out by the Department of Labor or Mental Health guidelines for children from the Department of Health and Human Services would be included.

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