Collecting Data To Standardize Children

Federal Register:

Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; International Early Learning Study 2018 Field Test Data Collection and Main Study Recruitment

“Abstract: The International Early Learning Study, scheduled to be conducted in 2018, is a new study sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries. In the United States, the IELS is conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. The IELS focuses on young children and their cognitive and non-cognitive skills and competencies as they transition to primary school. The IELS is designed to examine: Children’s early learning and development in a broad range of domains, including social and cognitive skills; the relationship between children’s early learning and children’s participation in early childhood education and care; the role of contextual factors, including children’s individual characteristics and their home backgrounds and experiences, in promoting young children’s growth and development; and how early learning varies across and within countries prior to beginning primary school.

In 2018, in the participating countries, including the United States, the IELS will assess nationally-representative samples of children ages 5.0-5.5 years (in kindergarten in the United States) through direct and indirect measures, and will collect contextual data about their home learning environments, ECEC histories, and demographic characteristics. The IELS will measure children’s knowledge, skills, and competencies in both cognitive and non-cognitive domains, including language and literacy, mathematics and numeracy, executive function/self-regulation, and social emotional skills. This assessment will take place as children are transitioning to primary school and will provide data on how U.S. children entering kindergarten compare with their international peers on skills deemed important for later success. To prepare for the main study that will take place in September-November 2018, the IELS countries will conduct a field test in the fall of 2017 to evaluate newly developed assessment instruments and questionnaires and to test the study operations.”

This is no more than an effort to create a “standard” by which we will measure the “normalization” of our children. Studies such as these reject the fact that all children possess individual gifts and talents to offer the world.

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An Excellent Education Must Be Our Only Choice

Education Votes

“Despite Trump-DeVos claims, vouchers offer false promise to rural students by Félix Pérez Posted April 14, 2017Despite the national marketing campaign by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, vouchers take scarce funding away from public schools, where 90 percent of students attend, and create two different education systems — one private and one public — funded by taxpayers. The risks inherent in vouchers are especially pronounced in rural areas, where there are no or few private school options, and schools often serve as the social center of the community and the sole provider of critical services such as summer lunch and programs, food pantries and sports.

Private and religious school vouchers have received increasing attention in the past few months as Trump and DeVos have traveled the country extoling their virtues. Unmentioned in their sales pitch is that vouchers would be particularly harmful in rural communities and small towns, where removing funding would destabilize already financially challenged public school systems, and transportation to the nearest private voucher school — which can be an hour away or more — must be paid for and arranged by the student’s family.

Nearly 9 million of the 50 million public school students across the country attend rural schools, finds a forthcoming report from the Rural School and Community Trust. “For rural schools, the emphasis on school choice means little because the closest schools are impossibly far away. Rural educators worry that their schools will gain very little from the school-choice model. If anything, it could siphon away critical funding,” states the organization.”

It is clear that our current system of education underserves not only poor inner-city children but children living in the rural communities of our country as well.

It is obvious that children in the United States have no choice in receiving a free and public, excellent education that concentrates on discovering, developing and directing their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens.

Until we change our current system of education to provide every child with a developmentally appropriate, Arts based, experiential education, our choice of schools is irrelevant.

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Technology For All

Federal Register:

Applications for New Awards; Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals With Disabilities-Stepping-Up Technology Implementation

Purpose of Program: The purposes of the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities Program are to: (1) Improve results for students with disabilities by promoting the development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational activities designed to be of educational value in the classroom for students with disabilities; (3) provide support for captioning and video description that is appropriate for use in the classroom; and (4) provide accessible educational materials to students with disabilities in a timely manner.

The purpose of this priority is to fund five cooperative agreements to: (a) Identify strategies needed to readily implement existing technology tools based on evidence that benefit students with disabilities; and (b) develop and disseminate products that will assist personnel in early childhood or K-12 settings to readily use, understand, and implement these technology tools.

Competitive Preference Priority 1—Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities. (Two Points).

Competitive Preference Priority 2—Projects Supported by Evidence of Promise (Two Points).

Competitive Preference Priority 3—Technology to Support Instructors and Students in Juvenile Correctional Facilities (Two Points).

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $30,047,000 for the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities program for FY 2017, of which we intend to use an estimated $2,500,000 for this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $450,000 to $500,000 per year.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $471,352 per year.

Estimated Number of Awards: 5.

While this might seem like a noble expenditure of educational funds, we must ask ourselves,

“How will making five SEA’s compete for funding help their LEA’s assist their vast number of disabled students succeed?”

“How many disabled students will actually be serviced over the five year period this award will be granted?”

“With the addition of Priority 3 is our government recognizing that many disabled students have been incarcerated?”

“Does funding such as this promote the over classification of students as disabled in order for States to compete for these funds?”

When we provide every child with an excellent eucation priority funding will not be necessary.

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Public Education Is For The Public

This article by Henry Gass was printed in The Christian Science Monitor, Church, state, and school: What might Supreme Court ruling mean for vouchers?

He posits, “Thirty-eight states have amendments prohibiting state money from going to religious organizations. A Supreme Court case Wednesday, about whether a religious private school is eligible for state grant money, could change that.”

Many people believe that States should provide parents with vouchers that allow them to use tax education dollars to send their children to private schools in order to receive a better education than they could or would receive in a public school.

The question is not whether States should provide parents with vouchers, the question should be, “Why aren’t public schools providing every child in America with an excellent education?”

“The current average per student cost (of public education) is $7,552 and the average cost per special education student is an additional $9,369 per student, or $16,921.” NEA

In 2014 Money magazine reported, “According to data from the Nation Center for Education Statistics, the average price of a year of private elementary school is $7,770, and the average annual cost of private high school is $13,030.”

Surprisingly, sending our children to private schools would save tax payers millions of dollars and our children would receive a better education.

If public schools concentrated on educating children instead of providing jobs for adults and profits for “hedgehogs” there would be plenty of money to provide every child in America with an excellent education.

We must, as a people, change our current system of education from one that is wrought with regulations, normalization, standardization, and dehumanization, to one that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents all children possess towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens that would understand that children are our greatest resourse and that they are more valuable than money.

When every child in America receives an excellent education, religious organizations can concentrate on providing the children of their congregation with the spiritual guidance in which they believe.

An excellent education for all means an excellent America for all.

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Educated Children Will Guarantee Educated Adults

Federal Register

Applications for New Awards; Personnel Development To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities-Early Childhood Personnel Center

Purpose of Program: The purposes of this program are to: (1) Help address State-identified needs for personnel preparation in special education, early intervention, related services, and regular education to work with children, including infants and toddlers, with disabilities; and (2) ensure that those personnel have the necessary skills and knowledge, derived from practices that have been determined through scientifically based research and experience, to be successful in serving those children.

To address this challenge, IDEA Part C (section 635) requires the State lead agency to develop and support high-quality, coordinated comprehensive systems of personnel development (CSPD) [2] and IDEA Part B (section 612) requires the State educational agency (SEA) to ensure that personnel are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained.

This priority is:

Early Childhood Personnel Center.

Background:

All infants, toddlers, and preschool children (young children) with disabilities should have access to high-quality early childhood programs (U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, 2015).

The purpose of this priority is to fund a cooperative agreement to establish and operate an Early Childhood Personnel Center . . .

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $83,700,000 for the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program for FY 2017, of which we intend to use an estimated $2,000,000 for this competition.

Nearly $84 million tax education dollars will be spent to provide SEA’s and LEA’s or their subgrantees, with a personnel development center that will provide them with the ability to hire teachers that are capable of providing a high quality, early chilhood education.

Wouldn’t it be more efficient and effective to provide the priority requirements to colleges and require them to train their student teachers in the instruction of early childhood education prior to their graduation so that the pool of teachers applying for these positions are already capable?

This award simply diverts valuable education dollars from the actual education of children to the profits of “hedgehogs” who would operate these Early Childhood Personnel Centers.

Educated childen produce educated adults.

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Our Best Defense Is An Excellent Education

In FY 2015, Pentagon and related spending totaled $598 billion, about 54% of the fiscal year 2015 U.S. discretionary budget.

The President’s 2016 Budget provides $70.7 billion in discretionary funding and $145 billion in new mandatory funding for the U.S. Department of Education.

The combined total of the education budget is less than half the defense budget.

Federal Register:

Estimated Available Funds: The Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017, would provide, on an annualized basis, $87,752,864 for this program.

Estimated Range of Awards: $0-$60,000.

Note:
Depending on the number of eligible LEAs identified in a given year and the amount appropriated by Congress for the program, some eligible LEAs may receive a Small Rural School Achievement allocation of $0 under the statutory funding formula.

Estimated Number of Awards: 4,300

Which LEAs are eligible for an award under the SRSA program?

For FY 2017, an LEA (including a public charter school that is considered an LEA under State law) is eligible for an award under the SRSA program if it meets one of the following criteria:

(a)(1) The total number of students in average daily attendance at all of the schools served by the LEA is fewer than 600; or each county in which a school served by the LEA is located has a total population density of fewer than 10 persons per square mile;

Listed below, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, are the number of rural school districts in the United States:

Rural
Fringe/ Distant/ Remote
1,582 / 3,145 / 2,429

The government is making these districts compete for funding by offering 4,300 of them the opportunity to properly serve their students. That number will decrease by the number of charter schools that receive an award. The maximum award for an LEA with fewer than 600 students only provides the LEA approximately $100.00 per student.

Once again our government is denying our children an excellent education throughout all walks of life in America.

All of America’s children deserve an excellent education and that should be a major priority in program funding with our tax dollars.

We, the people of the United States, must reprioritize our federal spending to support education first.

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Lowering Requirements Ignoring Gifts and Talents

Pressconnect‘s Joseph Spector writes in his article, NY scraps higher test scores,

“Students in seventh grade were supposed to need higher test scores in two years to pass New York’s standardized exams.

The tougher requirements have been scrapped.

Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia wrote to schools last week saying the state will not install the new “aspirational scores” that were to be required of students entering ninth grade in the 2018-19 school year.
She said the state is in the midst of overhauling its testing standards. So the students will still need to get a 65 grade or higher on the tests to get a Regents diploma, she said.

“There will be no change in the scale scores required for students to meet the graduation requirements for the class of 2022 on either the ELA (English Language Arts) or Mathematics Regents Examination,” Elia wrote in a one-page memo.

The decision is the latest scale back of tougher testing standards for students and stronger evaluations for teachers under the Common Core initiative.”

Does this mean taxpayers will pay for yet another set of field tests and testing materials?

Commissioner Elia has relaxed the testing requirements for teachers and now for students.

How will New York’s teachers and students be able to compete academically when the requirements for their learning are constantly lowered?

How will paying for students’ college attendance help them if they cannot complete college requirements due to lack of knowledge and experience?

How is the common core curriculum helping to increase the knowledge base of our children when the standards for success are constantly being lowered?

We must rethink the attitude that the only way to become a successful adult is through a college education. There are many more avenues of success as an adult than the college path.

When we provide all of our children with a free and public, excellent education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing their natural gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens, teachers and students will rise to the level of any standard set before them.

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