Hb610 is a bill that should be removed from consideration by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. If they pass this bill it will prove that congress doesn’t care about our children. This isn’t a hook to keep you reading it is true. In the current form that the bill is in it will gut an act that helps children who are the poorest among us. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (EASEA) also provides money to school districts and schools so that they can serve disabled children. Before I can give you what the summary of the bill says I think a bit of history is necessary.
“Title I has received the most attention from policy and lawmakers, as it accounts for 5/6ths of the total funds authorized by the ESEA. In its original conception, Title I was designed to close the skill gap in reading, writing, and mathematics between children from low-income households who attend urban or rural school systems and children from the middle-class who attend suburban school systems (Jeffrey, 1978)” (n.d.)
Title II gives schools the ability to buy textbooks for schools, while Title III gives money to adults to go to college.
“In addition, Title III mandated educational programming even when school was not in session, and it provided for special education and related services in isolated or rural areas. An amendment to the act in 1968 provided the basis for The Bilingual Education Act and the Education of the Handicapped Act” (n.d.)
For the record the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 was revised in 1990 to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for improvement of special education and inclusive education. The IDEA act is what gives those with a disability the right to have an education that is as equal as it can be. In 2004 the IDEA was reviewed and given changes by the government to make it easier for disabled children to get services. My favorite part of the law is subpart d of part b. This section covers the Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
HB610 will kill this act and give the money to states that follow strict requirements. I say strict requirements because when has the federal goverment ever made it easy to get money. This bill is only 25% through the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Summary: “This bill repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and limits the authority of the Department of Education (ED) such that ED is authorized only to award block grants to qualified states. The bill establishes an education voucher program, through which each state shall distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies (LEAs) based on the number of eligible children within each LEA’s geographical area. From these amounts, each LEA shall: (1) distribute a portion of funds to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child, and (2) do so in a manner that ensures that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses. To be eligible to receive a block grant, a state must: (1) comply with education voucher program requirements, and (2) make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect to enroll their child in any public or private elementary or secondary school in the state or to home-school their child” (legiscan, 2017.)
What of those states who don’t meet these requirements? Do they not get any money from the federal government for low-income students? What of the disabled student who is required to have a fare and equal education? If their home state doesn’t meet these requirements are they left out in the cold? What does it say about congress with the marginalized being targetted in such a manner? These are the questions that I have as of now.
If giving the middle finger to equal education annoys you then this will not make it any easier. Hb610 will distroy a rule that provides nutrition standards for lunch and breakfast at schools.
“(In general, the rule requires schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat free milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat in school meals; and meet children’s nutritional needs within their caloric requirements.”) (n.d)
I do not know about you but my congress person is getting a strongly worded email and if I can find the number a phone call. I have a week off for spring break and almost no homework. Do you think I want to waste my days? No? Get ready congress!