Date: March 10, 2016
Host: Jim Schneider
Guest: Will Estrada
The U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services have revealed a plan called, Draft Policy Statement on Family Engagement From the Early Years to the Early Grades.
Joining Jim to look at this plan was Will Estrada. Will is a staff attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association. His is also Director of Federal Relations with HSLDA and ParentalRights.org where he advocates before Congress for the Parental Rights Amendment the the U.S. Constitution. Will is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar and the California Bar.
The Draft Policy Statement on Family Engagement From the Early Years to the Early Grades was released in December of 2015. They claimed they wanted public input on how all federally funded early education programs, home visitation programs, welfare grants and local schools can better serve parents and families. They were going to allow a 2 week comment period (which occurred around the Christmas break) and after that they’d issue the final regulation.
On the first page, the statement says this: ‘It is the position of the departments that all early childhood programs and schools recognize families as equal partners in improving children’s development, learning and wellness…’ In other words, parents are merely equal partners with the state (public schools and early childhood intervention programs).
Also from the first page of the document: ‘The term ‘family’ is used to include all the people who play a role in a child’s life and interact with a child’s early childhood program or school. This may include fathers, mothers, grandparents, foster parents, formal and informal guardians and siblings among others.’
Will noted how in one sentence, the government has broadened the definition of the family, while at the same time diluting what it means to be a family. It’s now saying that anyone who interacts with a child’s school is part of their family.
What is meant by ‘informal guardian’? Will doesn’t know. However, this brings up a darker concern. What HSLDA is seeing with this draft policy statement is a move away from the idea that parents know what’s right for children to a move where the courts and bureaucrats know what’s best for children. So who would define ‘informal guardian’? Would it be a court, a social worker or a guardian ad litem?It’s really left up for interpretation.
Jim had will also cover news concerning America’s education secretary. Arne Duncan resigned in December of 2015. President Obama nominated John King to be Duncan’s replacement. He was previously the New York Education Commissioner and was in that position from 2011 to 2014, right at the time New York State was implementing the Common Core. As a proponent of it, he is alleged to have said that anyone who opposed Common Core is brainwashed.
To communicate with Washington on the draft policy issue, call the White House Comment Line at 202-456-1111 or the White House Switchboard at 202-456-1414.
To comment on the nomination of John King, call the Senate Switchboard at 202-224-3121.