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Mercedes Schneider has read the new Every Student Succeeds Act, every word of it.
First, the bill requires 95% participation in state tests. It is vague about parents’ rights to opt their children out of the test. States can ask for waivers, but this puts them, as she puts it, “at the mercy of” the Secretary of Education.
Second, she is worried about the security of data that the U.S. Department of Education collects. It has confidential data on every student and teacher. In a recent hearing, Congressmen mentioned that the Department’s data system had been hacked in the past. Why trust them now?
Third, ESSA is as charter-friendly as NCLB. Certainly, the Department is eager to shovel millions, hundreds of millions to charters. Mercedes cites the recent decision of ED to give $71 million to Ohio charters, even as the state’s charter industry was experienced a series of charter scandals. Clearly, the Department is good at talking standards, but its own standards are mighty low.