The Law Explained

 

What does the Constitution, History, and Legislation have to say about Common Core?   While it might not name Common Core explicitly, our founders made very clear what they thought of initiatives like Common Core, based upon the characteristics they possessed or with how they were introduced.  Today, because we fail to educate our children to be fully aware of this history and their civic role as citizens, freedoms are too easily taken away from those who complicity hand freedom over, not at the point of a gun, but rather with the stroke of a pen or in the interest of the "greater good". 

1. The Declaration of Independence announced to the world our founding principle – 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

In other words, the rights of individuals are not granted to them by the government. The rights of individuals are granted to them by their Creator. To ensure that these rights are secured and protected, individuals establish governments. More importantly, governments receive their power only from the consent of the individuals being governed. Following the Revolutionary War, we, the people, did establish our government, when we adopted the United States Constitution.

2. We, the people, set forth in the Constitution the manner in which that government exists, and we granted to it certain enumerated and specific rights and powers. Article I sets forth the rights and powers of the legislative branch, or Congress. Article II sets forth the rights and powers of the Executive branch. Article II sets forth the rights and powers of the Judicial branch.

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

Certain States and individuals were concerned that the newly created federal government’s power would exceed the power of the States and individuals. Because of those concerns, they were reluctant to ratify the Constitution. The debate continued for a couple of years. The founding fathers also engaged in that debate by writing letters to newspapers using pseudonyms. The collection of these letters debating the issues is what we now call the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist papers.

http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/fedindex.htm

http://www.thisnation.com/library/antifederalist/index.html

The debate ended with the adoption of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, or what we call the Bill of Rights.

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

Most important to those who were concerned about the powers of the federal government, were the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. With the addition of these two amendments, it was made clear to everyone that the powers and rights that we, the people, granted to the federal government by the explicit enumeration of them within the Constitution itself, were limited to only those so specifically enumerated, and that all the remaining rights and powers remained rights and powers exclusively belonging to the States and to the people.

Only because these amendments were added to the Constitution, when it was made clear that the federal government was limited in its power, the States agreed to ratify the Constitution. The language in the preamble to the Bill of Rights makes this clear.

"The Convention of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution, Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution…”

 

3. Article III of the Constitution sets forth the enumerated powers granted to Congress.It is clear that the Constitution simply does not grant any enumerated power to the Congress concerning education. Therefore, Congress has no Constitutional authority to adopt any laws directly regulating education. Yet, Congress has adopted many laws regarding education. Congress has done this indirectly by appropriating funds to be given to States on the condition that the States act as the Congress would like the States to act. In other words, under the No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top Acts, Congress provides the States with federal funding but only if the States agree to implement those things specified in the Acts. If the States refuse to accept the federal funding, the States are not required to implement the terms of the Acts. Remember, all powers and rights not specifically granted to the federal government are powers and rights retained by the States and the people.

4. With regard to Common Core, the State of Connecticut, through the Department of Education, applied for federal Race to the Top funds, but was denied the funding. The State applied for No Child Left Behind funding, and received it, and so agreed to implement the terms of that Act. The State of Connecticut, through its Department of Education, however, asked for and received a waiving of certain of those terms, but only on the condition that the State Board of Education agreed to adopt the Common Core standards.

5. On July 7, 2010, the State Board of Education adopted Common Core.

6. Each State has adopted its own State Constitution. Under Connecticut’s Constitution, there is a specific section on Education. It is Article Eighth. It states, in part,

"Sec. 1. There shall always be free public elementary and secondary schools in the state. The General Assembly shall implement this principle by appropriate legislation.

Sec. 4. The fund, called the School Fund, shall remain a perpetual fund, the interest of which shall be inviolably appropriated to the support and encouragement of the public schools throughout the state, and for the equal benefit of the people thereof.”

http://www.sots.ct.gov/sots/cwp/view.asp?a=3188&q=392288

7. Article Tenth of the Connecticut Constitution specifies "Home Rule”. It states, in part,

"The General Assembly shall by general law delegate such legislative authority as from time to time it deems appropriate to towns, cities, and boroughs relative to the powers, organization and form of government of such political subdivisions.”

The General Assembly has delegated such legislative authority to the towns in many ways, through adopted of state statutes. The General Assembly also has adopted statutes regarding state agencies.

http://www.sots.ct.gov/sots/cwp/view.asp?a=3188&q=392288

8.Under Connecticut General Statute §10-4, the State Board of Education is supervise the educational interests of the state, to provide leadership, to publish guides, and to assist teachers and local school districts. While the State Board of Education has the authority to "prepare such courses of study and publish such curriculum guides…as it determines necessary to assist school districts to carry out the duties prescribed by law…” The State Board of Education does not have authority to compel local Boards of Education to adopt any particular curriculum. The State Board may do so only when the local Board, or local school, is deemed to be a low achieving school pursuant to P.A. 10-111.

Connecticut General Statute §10-4m subsection (a) provides,

"Said board shall have general supervision and control of the educational interests of the state, which interests shall include preschool, elementary and secondary education, special education, vocational education and adult education; shall provide leadership and otherwise promote the improvement of education in the state, including research, planning and evaluation and services relating to the provision and use of educational technology, including telecommunications, by school districts; shall prepare such courses of study and publish such curriculum guides including recommendations for textbooks, materials, instructional technological resources and other teaching aids as it determines are necessary to assist school districts to carry out the duties prescribed by law; shall conduct workshops and related activities, including programs of intergroup relations training, to assist teachers in making effective use of such curriculum materials and in improving their proficiency in meeting the diverse needs and interests of pupils; shall keep informed as to the condition, progress and needs of the schools in the state; and shall develop or cause to be developed evaluation and assessment programs designed to measure objectively the adequacy and efficacy of the educational programs offered by public schools and shall selectively conduct such assessment programs annually and report, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education, on an annual basis.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_163.htm#sec_10-4

9.Connecticut General Statute §10-220 specifies the duties of local Boards of Education. Under subsection (e) of §10-220, it is very clear that the local Boards of Education are required to establish a school district curriculum committee, and the curriculum committee is required, "to recommend, develop, review and approve all curriculum” for the local school district. Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-220(e). In other words, while the State Board of Education is statutorily allowed to "supervise”, "promote”, and "assist”, only the local Board of Education has the statutory authority to adopt curriculum for its school district. The State Board of Education has no authority to impose any curriculum on local public school districts.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_170.htm#sec_10-220

10. The General Assembly did adopt other statutes, however, relating to the Common Core standards.

Connecticut General Statute §10a-157b, provides that each public high school and public institution of higher education is to "complete curricular alignment to enable the successful completion of high school mathematics and language arts curricula, as described in Connecticut’s Common Core State Standards…” Even so, "alignment to enable successful completion” of curricula described in the Common Core Standards, is not the same thing as requiring local boards of education to "adopt the Common Core Standards”. The State Board of Education has no authority to compel local Boards of Education to adopt any curriculum, and the General Assembly has not eliminated §10-220(e), which requires local Boards of Education to adopt a curriculum.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_185b.htm#sec_10a-157b

Connecticut General Statute §10-14v provides that the State Department of Education is to "develop a coordinated state-wide reading plan for students in kindergarten through grade three that includes strategies and frameworks that are research-driven to produce effective reading instruction and improvement in student performance”, including "the alignment of reading instruction with the common core state standards adopted by the State Board of Education”. Again, "alignment of reading instruction with the common core state standards” is notthe same thing as requiring adoption of the Common Core standards. The State Board of Education has no authority to compel local Boards of Education to adopt any curriculum, and the General Assembly has not eliminated §10-220(e), which requires local Boards of Education to adopt a curriculum.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_163c.htm#sec_10-14v

Connecticut General Statute §10-148b provides that the State Department of Education is to review the program of professional development for teachers that it develops to assess whether it "meets the state goals for student academic achievement through implementation of the common core state standards adopted by the State Board of Education…” The State Department of Education assesses the program, but the statute does not direct the Department to compel implementation of the common core state standards. The State Board of Education has no authority to compel local Boards of Education to adopt any curriculum, and the General Assembly has not eliminated §10-220(e), which requires local Boards of Education to adopt a curriculum.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_166.htm#sec_10-148b

Connecticut General Statute §10-221t requires each local Board of Education to "develop a plan to align Connecticut’s common core state standards with college level programs at Connecticut public institutions of higher education not later than one year after Connecticut first implements said standards”. Again, "alignment of state standards with college level programs” is not the same thing as requiring adoption of the Common Core standards. The State Board of Education has no authority to compel local Boards of Education to adopt any curriculum, and the General Assembly has not eliminated §10-220(e), which requires local Boards of Education to adopt a curriculum.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_170.htm#sec_10-221t

11. When a school is deemed to be a low achieving school pursuant to P.A. 10-111, then the State Board of Education is statutorily allowed to compel the local Board of Education to adopt a particular curriculum. Connecticut General Statute §10-15h required the State Department of Education to develop a pilot program to incorporate the common core state standards into the curricula of priority school districts.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_164.htm#sec_10-15h

12. Connecticut General Statute §10-14n also is a statute requiring each student enrolled in certain grades to "take a mastery examination in reading, writing… mathematics...and science.” That mastery test "shall be provided by, and administered under the State Board of Education.”

http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_163c.htm#sec_10-14n

13. There is no statute that addresses the issue of "opting out” of that test, or any other standardized test. However, there is no statute that precludes a parent from "opting their child out” of that, or any other test.

14. Parents have an inalienable right to the upbringing and education of their children. See Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923); Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925); Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972). When parents bring their child to school, they allow the school administrators to take the place of the parents, temporarily, for the purpose of providing the child with education. This power is commonly referred to as, "in loco parentis”. Parents may take back their authority from the public school administrators at any time. Parents also have the statutory obligation to protect their child from harm. See, e.g., Conn. Gen. Stat. 46b-129. Parents may re-assert their authority to protect their child from harm. Parents also retain many other rights. It is up to each individual to decide how, and when, to protect their child.

Parents also should be aware of two other relevant education statutes: Connecticut General Statute §10-148b, which provides that the Commissioner of Education shall annually review the professional development programs teachers are required to take to assess whether they meet "the state goals for student academic achievement through implementation of the common core state standards”; and Connecticut General Statute §7-536, which provides that state funds may be used for local capital improvement projects, including "acquisition of technology related to implementation of the Department of Education’s common core state standards”.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_166.htm#sec_10-148b

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2014/sup/chap_116b.htm

In addition to Connecticut education statutes, parents also are urged to review related Connecticut statutes, such as statutes allocating state funding as well as the Freedom of Information Act; and federal statutes, such as FERPA, regarding the rights of parents to have student data remain private.

 

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