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Support Public Education: Vote No HR610

This petition had 5,349 supporters

The efforts to dismantle the federal Department of Education, has begun with the drafted legislation House bill  H.R. 610.

H.R. 610 is the single most egregious attempt to dismantle public education, and consolidate fiduciary power to the position of Secretary of Education (Besty DeVos), that has ever been drafted in US history.

In short, H.R. 610 repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 - the federal mandate supporting public education writ large. This legislation is known today as the reauthorized mandate, Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA, under the Obama administration), and No Child Left Behind (under the Bush administration).

In short, H.R. 610, "limits the authority of the Department of Education such that the Department of Education is authorized only to award block grants to qualified states." Furthermore, it requires that states participate and agree to the terms of the bill, or see their entitlements to 'block grants' be redistributed to pay down the national debt.

Most states will not be able to compensate for the critical gains in education that will be lost should this bill pass. And should the Department of Education become a shell organization for administering funding to states, then equitable, safe, public instruction, of our nation's children is at considerable risk. A repeal of the federal mandate means the repeal of everything it contains, including Title I-VIII funding, which secures protections for vulnerable and otherwise specific student populations (talented and gifted, homeless kids, HeadStart recipients, professional development for teachers, for STEM/STEAM education, for english as a second language learners, the list goes on...).

But even more upsetting, is that without the mandate (ESSA) most states will no longer have financial incentives and the legal framework necessary for them to provide equitable public instruction. For example, the bill proposes centralizing power to Secretary DeVos herself (she will be the administrator of the funding stream) for the awarding of "block grants" to "qualified" states." FYI, block grants, in this case, means lump sums of money sent to states based on a simple formula informed by the number of kids reported in a given state, and how many are "choosing" to attend public school, vs. private school, vs. home-schools. 

We are calling on the members of the House of Representatives, specially the members of the House Education & Workforce Committee, to vote against this bill, H.R. 610. Further, we ask our elected officials to cease and desist from further attempts at repealing the current federal mandate (ESSA). Failure to do so will reflect a lack of faith in the public education system. And, worse yet - the desire to destroy a shared American value: that all of our nation's children deserve a high quality, equitable education. 

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