This is an open letter to WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-WV) who seek the Republican nomination in West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was part of President Johnson’s war on poverty in 1965. Its intent was to provide equal opportunity and support to the states’ education systems. It has since been reauthorized over the years and has transformed into a controlling noose around the necks of the states.
In 2001, under President Bush, the reauthorization legislation was called No Child Left Behind – legislation that President Bush admittedly never read. A major result of NCLB was to establish a law that required ALL students to test 100% proficient in English and Math by 2014…. an impossible goal never intended to be met, but a mandate that became the rope to form the noose.
In 2009, President Obama used this law and his massive stimulus package to tighten the noose. The U.S. Department of Education unconstitutionally offered waivers of the proficiency requirement – waivers of a law created by Congress… along with millions of dollars to the states if they accepted specific conditions: ADOPT COMMON STANDARDS (not yet developed), CREATE A STUDENT DATA SYSTEM, JOIN A TESTING CONSORTIUM (not yet formed) ALLOW FEDERAL ACCESS TO STUDENT DATA, AND COMMIT TO EVALUATING TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS USING ASSESSMENT RESULTS.
In 2010, Governor Manchin, with our current recycled State Superintendent Steve Paine, and our state board, committed West Virginia to these conditions, having never seen the Common Core standards or the assessments. These agreed upon conditions usurped parental authority over a child’s personal information, and handed over our state sovereignty eroding our ability to control our own education system…with no notice to parents or legislators. It was and still is complete disdain and disregard for our Constitution’s 10th Amendment, our sovereignty, and parental authority…as the feds tightened the noose and now sit in control of education nationwide.
As we slowly learned of the degraded standards, student data collection and the federal intrusion into classrooms, parents, grandparents, teachers, doctors, psychiatrists, attorneys, citizens…rose up in opposition to these conditions now collectively called Common Core. Policy and legislative battles have ensued in county boards, state boards, state legislatures, court rooms, and Congress, and Common Core has made populist rhetorical fodder for plenty of campaigning politicians who have not taken the time to understand the depth of this issue.
In 2015, Although no one seems to know the identity of the real author(s), Senator Lamar Alexander was given the task of writing NCLB reauthorization legislation, now known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). He claimed ESSA would take the noose off, end the powerful federal intrusion, and return education to local control. Many Common Core activists read the bill and knew, if passed, ESSA would continue the federal stranglehold on education. With a moments notice, on their own time and dime, these grassroots passionate activists jumped on flights to D. C. to educate House and Senate members on the flaws of ESSA. But In the end, their voices were ignored and ESSA passed both houses.
If you doubt that the feds are still controlling education, you need only look at the current activity of the U.S. and state Departments of Education. For months and continuing as we speak, state’s are spending hundreds of man hours putting together their ESSA STATE PLAN to be submitted for approval to Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos as required by ESSA – states groveling to the feds to get tax dollars that belong to us anyway. Already some states have been told by DOE peer reviewers their plan is deficient and is denied. And as a side note, my FOIA request to Secretary Devos requesting names and credentials of these peer reviewers making decisions on the state plans was also denied. The arrogance and the federal control continues.
In West Virginia, in 2018 voters will hopefully deny Joe Manchin a seat in the U.S. Senate and we will elect a state’s rights, conservative thinking Republican to stand with President Trump and his agenda to save this nation.
Our choice will be made in the primary election between two accomplished, well known, established West Virginia Republicans. I look to each of them for their thoughts on ESSA.
There are some things already on the record. For example, Attorney General Morrisey is on record for courageously taking on the feds, fighting for state’s rights as he made his legal challenges with the EPA and Obama Care. And clearly, he has stood strong for the 2nd Amendment and protecting our individual liberties and has advanced our firearms reciprocal agreements with other states. So where does he stand on the Common Core issue?
AG Morrisey was our first stop for help back in 2013 as we began our fight to stop Common Core. We thought, given his dedication to state’s rights issues and his opposition to federal encroachment upon the states, Common Core would be right up his ally. However, we were very disappointed when he told us, as the legal representative for the state board, his ability to advise us was limited. I have never been able to completely understand that position since we were wanting to take on the feds for their intrusion. Perhaps AG Morrisey might better explain his position.
As for Congressman Jenkins, we do have him on the record for his ESSA vote. When ESSA came up for consideration, and we all realized the feds were still controlling education, grassroots activists exposed the ruse. What a profound message could have been sent to the nation, to the WV governor, our state board, the legislature, and to WV parents, if our WV congressional delegation would have stood united with a press release saying Mountaineers value freedom, we stand in opposition to federal control of our classrooms, and we are voting NO on ESSA. But instead of standing together, only one member of our delegation, Congressman Alex Mooney, stood for our state’s rights, stood alone, and voted NO on ESSA. Perhaps Congressman Jenkins would like to explain his position.
So I have a few questions for each of you:
- As a U.S. Senator, would you support the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education?
- As a U.S. Senator, would you support education block grants to the states?
- Appropriate and proper education by local means is the foundation for our nation’s survival.
What could be more important?