“We Don’t Need No Education”
A new education bill, HR 610 has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
I ask you guys to please do a little research into how detrimental it could be to children in our public school system. This bill has two parts that sound okay until you look into it.
Part 1: The Choices in Education Act of 2017
This first part of the bill seeks to “…repeal the elementary and secondary education act of 1965 and limit the authority of the department of education.”
If this bill becomes law, states would be DENIED federal education funding unless they complied with all of the rules of the education voucher program that the bill is trying to establish. These rules would allow public funds to be removed from the school in the district that the child lives and be placed in a different public school, a private school, or even placed in the bank accounts of parents that choose to homeschool.
This bill would entirely disrupt funding to the over 100,000 public schools in the U.S., get rid of critical title 1 funding used to help children in low income areas of our nation, AND get rid of any accountability ensuring teacher qualification and student success.
The second part of this bill: The No Hungry Kids Act
It sounds fabulous, but it’s totally misleading. The summary of the no hungry kids act provided on the congress.gov website says that it would “repeal a specified rule that established certain nutritional standards for the national school lunch and breakfast programs. In general the rule requires schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat or fat free milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fats, and trans fats in school meals; and meet children’s nutritional needs within their caloric requirements.”
The bill basically wants to make sure that the food kids eat at school meets NO nutritional requirements whatsoever. Now you may be wondering why they want to cut things like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. As it turns out healthy food generally costs more than unhealthy food. So the implementation of this bill would cut costs, but at the expense of children’s health. Since about HALF of all kids in public schools qualify for free or reduced lunch, and those are sometimes the only meals those kids get, it’s imperative that they be healthy and nutritious.
The elementary and secondary education act is a bipartisan act that has been reauthorized by congress every 5 years since 1965! It sets basic standards for schools like: protecting students from underperforming schools or schools that do not provide basic services. It helps children that are neglected or at risk of abuse. It provides services to prevent drop outs. It provides services to ensure the improvement of schools. IT ENSURES THAT SCHOOLS RECEIVING FUNDING PROVIDE ADEQUATE SUPPORT TO STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES. It provides resources for libraries, text books, and electronic resources. It supports education research and training. It helps schools provide adequate education when high percentages of the students are living in poverty. It ensures that schools receiving funds provide meals with adequate nutritional value.
Giving families the ability to choose where they send their children to school isn’t a bad idea, BUT why not ensure that these schools will also meet these standards set by the elementary and secondary education act?
Also, will these schools provide education based off the value of the voucher, with no additional cost to the students, so that all children from all socioeconomic backgrounds can have full access to the school of their choice?
Do private and charter schools have well established learning disability or severely handicapped programs? Because without the elementary and secondary education act which requires these programs, they will lose their funding and no longer exist! In our public schools currently, learning handicapped classes provide aids for extra student assistance, severely handicapped classes rely on many aids to allow them to run smoothly, and these classes do community outreach programs where special needs students are taken to job sites and given activities to do throughout the day. This would no longer be a requirement with the voucher program and the funding for it simply would not exist.
Everyone deserves the right to a quality education in America.
This bill would take tax dollars from working communities and rust belt cities all over the country that were hit hardest during the recession and redistribute them to the wealthiest private schools that don’t provide these basic standards for their students.
And finally, a concern I have is that our constitution clearly states the separation of church and state. No tax dollars or government funding should go to any religious affiliation because we have freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and churches don’t pay taxes. 79% of private schools are religiously affiliated. To me this seems like a direct contradiction to our constitution by allowing these federal funded vouchers to be given to religious affiliated schools.