On Tuesday night USPIE Communications Director April Few, who is a South Carolina resident, testified against SC House Bill 3759 at the K-12 subcommittee meeting .
Watch the video to hear her remarks:
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“Good afternoon, my name is April Few and I am the Communications Director for United States Parents Involved in Education. USPIE is a nonprofit organization that began as South Carolina Parents Involved in Education and expanded into a national organization in 2014. The primary goal of USPIE is to return local control of education to parents and communities by eradicating federal intrusion.
USPIE has reviewed House Bill 3759 and is compelled to declare its utter disappointment in the bill you are set to consider.
The bill begins with a false narrative suggesting “a vibrant workforce is critical to sustaining and growing the economy of this State by servicing industry and attracting new industry …”
USPIE opposes all efforts to continue to convert American education into a workforce development system. USPIE also opposes the massive data collection of citizens, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN, facilitated and coordinated by the Federal government through the guise of workforce development education.
Another troubling theme in the bill is the emphasis on “Student Empowerment” — with no mention of empowering parents! In fact, in the proposed legislation, parents are stripped of their right to appeal a decision to retain their child after the third grade.
Research shows adolescents make all their decisions from the emotional part of their brain. It is not until around age 25 that the human brain achieves full cognitive maturity associated with judgement, seeing into the future, abstract thinking, and rational behavior and decision making. This bill is irrational and defies the science of brain maturation to “empower students” with a bill of rights, and give them a voice on the State Board of Education.
Obviously problematic is the way the bill throws teachers under the bus! The bill would hold teachers accountable for failed standards and initiates the distribution of teacher’s personal data from high school forward. If this bill passes, teachers become the next victim of privacy invasion through data collection.
According to a report by the State Department of Education issued shortly after Common Core was “supposedly” replaced, South Carolina’s standards were, and remain 90% aligned with Common Core. As you may recall, these standards are faulty on many levels. The bill’s harsh treatment of failing schools, and the evaluation and grading of teachers based on mandated, failed standards is immoral.
The Zero to Twenty Committee created in this bill is alarming by its name alone! This Committee is mandated to collect data as early as the government can get their hands it and spans into post-high school actions. It is so surreal to me that the sponsors of this bill don’t even attempt to disguise their desire to collect data on children from birth into adulthood and beyond. Does cradle to grave ring a bell?
And finally, the biggest eyesore of the bill is the fact that it creates a whole new politically-appointed committee — unaccountable to individual voters, and audaciously names the director as “EDUCATION TSAR”! As if the Education Oversight Committee weren’t bad enough, bill sponsors want to create another layer of politically-manipulated individuals who are owed political favors. The voters of South Carolina responded loud and clear to a constitutional amendment question last year signifying they want to elect those who decide education policy.
I leave you with four ways the Legislature can promote a statewide culture of excellence in education.
1. To restore local control and foster innovation, the State should wean itself off federal funds. This should begin with a cost analysis of federal regulation compliance. Only 8% of South Carolina education dollars are federal, but they control 100% of the classroom!
2. To enable local incubators for excellence, the State should remove most state-level mandates and bureaucracy. Cost savings should be returned to communities for local education needs.
3. To foster accountability and decentralization of education, the State should eliminate the Education Oversight Committee, and allow voters to elect State Board of Education members.
4. To achieve a statewide culture of educational excellence, the State should abandon the attempt to control the economy with workforce development education and return to evidence-based classical education.
USPIE stands ready to assist with creating policy that will implement these simple four steps.
Please visit uspie.org to learn more about the national movement to restore education authority to its proper local roots – to parents and communities.”