Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Obama’s “Community Schools” Aim to Replace Parents

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Lawmakers and the Obama administration are plotting to unconstitutionally commandeer local schools and turn them into “full-service community schools” — government centers that will usurp vast new responsibilities over children that have traditionally been handled by parents and families. Under the plan, adopted in the Senate last month as part of a massive “education bill” solidifying federal control over children and schools, federally funded so-called community schools will “target” families and children for “services” covering their “academic, physical, social, emotional, health, mental health, and other needs.” If Congress and the Obama administration get their way, these full-service parent-replacement centers will soon be coming to a community near you, along with the swarms of government workers in charge of “home visitation” and “parenting education” under the program. In fact, even without legislation to authorize it, Obama’s education bureaucracy has already started using tax funds to create the “community schools” nationwide.      

So what, exactly, is a community school? According to the legislation, it is a government-run elementary or secondary school that “participates in a community-based effort to coordinate and integrate educational, developmental, family, health, and other comprehensive services through community-based organizations and public and private partnerships.” These Orwellian schools will also provide “services” to students, families, and the community, including before and after school, during weekends, and even during the summer. A 2014 Federal Registernotice” by the federal Department of Education announcing lawless grants for community schools defines them in a similar way. In other words, children ensnared by “community” schools can spend virtually all of their time there and receive all of their “services” there — one step short of Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s recent pitch for government boarding schools that he said should have children 24 hours per day, seven days a week.  

A broad array of government “services” should be provided by the “community” schools. The list of those, outlined in the Democrat-sponsored legislation, is bewildering. Among them: home visitation services by teachers and nurses; early childhood education; primary health and dental care; “mental health counseling services”; “nutrition services”; remedial education activities and enrichment activities, including expanded learning time; summer or after-school enrichment and learning experiences; programs that promote “family literacy”; programs under Head Start and Early Head Start; mentoring and other youth development programs, including peer mentoring and conflict mediation; parent leadership development activities; parenting education activities; child care services; community service and service-learning opportunities; developmentally appropriate physical education; job training, internship opportunities, and career counseling services; adult education, including instruction in English as a second language; juvenile crime prevention and rehabilitation programs; homeless prevention services; and undefined “other services.”

Essentially, these Obama-backed “community” schools will become your child’s parents, nanny, educator, doctor, dentist, food source, psychiatrist, and more. It was not immediately clear whether hugs would be included, but practically everything else is. In other words, these “schools” will expand and accelerate the ongoing usurpation of the role of families and parents in raising the next generation of Americans. And just in case, parents can receive home visits from the swarms of federally funded school bureaucrats — in addition to parenting lessons from Big Brother on how to care for Big Brother’s children. The federally funded “full-service community schools” will also be keeping watch for Big Brother, with tax funding allocated to help the parental-replacement centers create data-collection systems aimed at knowing everything about everyone.

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The radical legislation to turn federally controlled schools into federally controlled overseers of all aspects of a child’s life, though sponsored by Democrats, was able to pass thanks to Republicans. While introduced as a stand-alone bill, it was attached as an amendment to the equally radical “Every Student Achieves Act” that was passed by the GOP-controlled Senate on July 16. The similar “Student Success Act” was passed by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives on July 9. Now, the two versions of the legislation, which purport to re-authorize a dizzying array of unconstitutional federal “education” schemes, must be put together in conference. Obama already supports the “bipartisan” legislation and plans to sign it, the White House indicated in a statement.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the chief sponsor of the “community schools” measure in the Senate, celebrated his success. “Challenges at home can undermine classroom performance and leave students struggling to keep up,” Brown said. “Community schools have a proven track record of connecting students and their families to critical services. This amendment will help expand this model so more students can access essential resources like medical care and after-school care. This will ensure that students can focus their attention on succeeding in school.” House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who has been pushing the same legislation in the House, praised the Senate for taking a “major step forward to promote the full-service community schools model across the country.” “I hope the House and Senate will go to conference soon and produce a final version that includes support for full-service community schools,” Hoyer added in a statement.   

Under the legislation, the Education Secretary would be empowered to unconstitutionally hand out taxpayer funds to “entities,” schools, and state governments that help “integrate multiple services into a comprehensive, coordinated continuum supported by research-based activities that achieve the performance goals … to meet the holistic needs of children.” Secretary Duncan, who openly boasts of turning your children into “green” and “global” citizens with his “global partner” UNESCO via the “weapon” of education, will also receive some high-level assistance in the effort. The bill establishes a “Full-Service Community Schools Advisory Committee” consisting of the Secretary of Education, the U.S. Attorney General, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Labor. Parents, of course, will not be invited to sit on the board.

To obtain a “grant,” the entities applying need to submit a “comprehensive plan” that includes a “needs assessment that identifies the academic, physical, social, emotional, health, mental health, and other needs of students, families, and community residents.” The plan also needs to show “an increase in the percentage of families and students targeted for services each year of the program.” And those “services” need to be geared toward making sure children “are ready for school,” are “physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally healthy,” and are “contributing to their communities.” Of course, that government-funded “plan” for children sounds a lot like the traditional role of parents. The “services” should also aim to create “neighborhoods” that are “safe and provide a positive climate for learning that is free from bullying or harassment.” In essence, then, the sky is the limit.  

The legislation also aims to “provide support for the planning, implementation, and operation of full-service community schools”; “improve the coordination and integration, accessibility, and effectiveness of services for children and families”; “ensure that children have the physical, social, and emotional well-being to come to school ready to engage in the learning process every day”; “facilitate the coordination and integration of programs and services operated by community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, and State, local, and tribal governments”; and “engage students as resources to their communities.”

Despite the lack of any statutory or constitutional authority to do so, Obama’s Department of Education has been busy pushing and funding “community schools” since at least last year. “The awards will help encourage a coordinated and integrated set of comprehensive academic, social, and health services that respond to the needs of its students, their families, and community members,” the bureaucracy boasts online about a grant program it developed to finance the machinations in states and cities across America. There are already an estimated 5,000 “community schools” in operation nationwide, according to news reports. If the measure gets signed into law, Americans can expect thousands more.

Secretary Duncan, in a statement congratulating his department for spending millions of tax dollars promoting the scheme, also celebrated the Brave New Schools he is helping to unleash on America. “Across the nation, we've seen schools come together to partner with key organizations to support comprehensive services for students and their families in some of our toughest communities,” he said last year while lawlessly handing out $5 million of your money to create the parental-replacement centers. “Great schools require the entire community to work together, and these grants will help leverage our resources to create a range of wraparound services that help all students grow in the classroom, and graduate ready for college and their careers.” Duncan's "cradle-to-career" education-reform agenda, as he calls it, is essentially a blueprint for total indocrination and ultimately, tyranny

Critics, though, are speaking out forcefully about the agenda. “This is modeled after the Soviet system,” said Charlotte Iserbyt, author of the book Deliberate Dumbing Down of America and a former senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. “It is part of a long-range plan outlined by the Carnegie Corporation to abolish local elected boards and use education to transform America from a capitalist system to a planned economy. The charter schools are a huge part of this agenda too because they already do not have elected boards, and the plan is to have unelected commissions and boards, at the same time as we move away from local tax funding of schools. We are watching it all happen right now. The simplest solution is to cut the international/federal/state umbilical cord!” Iserbyt also linked the scheme to a 2013 policy paper by Marc Tucker, written for the ultra-left, Obama-aligned Center for American Progress, calling for a total end of local control over schooling.      

The “full-service community schools” component of the “education” bills passed by Congress is a relatively tiny part of the overall legislation. As reported by The New American last month, the broader bills are packed with attacks on real education, local control of schools, student and family privacy, and the rights of parents. Despite false campaign promises by Republicans to rein in the Obama administration, the legislation also purports to reauthorize a plethora of unconstitutional federal “education” schemes — including the same draconian tools Obama has lawlessly used to nationalize and dumb down education through the hugely unpopular Common Core standards.

If the American people hope to remain free, real education and strong families are key. Obama and his allies in Congress know that, hence the full-fledged assault on real education, families, local control of schools, and parental rights. American parents, teachers, and taxpayers must understand all of that, too — and demand that their elected officials act accordingly.

 

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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