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The AACS Legislative Office monitors issues that affect the educational freedom and religious liberty of Christian schools.
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The Washington Flyer
August 28, 2015
 
The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.
Benjamin Rush
 
More NCLB Waivers Granted—And Drawing Criticism
The Department of Education recently announced that seven states would be granted extensions for ESEA waivers, making a total of 42 states that have been granted flexibility from meeting certain requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Maine and Michigan were approved for a three-year extension, while Florida, Idaho, Ohio, and South Dakota were only granted a one-year extension with strict instructions as to what still needed to be improved in their state’s education programs in order for their waivers to be renewed. The Department of Education has received much criticism for using waivers for NCLB requirements to push its education policy agenda on states and bypassing Congress in the process. Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education policy think tank, recently penned an op-ed in which he charges Education Secretary Arne Duncan for increasing the federal footprint on education through the waiver requirements. Once a strong supporter of the Common Core Standards, Petrilli explains that his “tight-loose” philosophy (the government should be tight on required outcomes from schools but loose on how states and districts reach those results) allows for a federalist approach to the CCS: states should adopt college-and-career ready standards, whether they be the CCS or other high standards created by a state. However, Petrilli points out the Department of Education has usurped authority by tying adoption of the standards to Race to the Top funds and ESEA waivers and by using the competitions to advance a political agenda in education policy. He believes the current ESEA reauthorization bills being considered in Congress will significantly curb the misuse of power by the Education Secretary and Department of Education.
 
Early Education Update
The Administration continues to push for more early education funding, claiming that the current budgets under consideration by the House and Senate would deny 100,000 children access to high quality preschool. The President’s 2016 budget proposal requested a tremendous increase for early education funding, including a request for $750 million for a second round of Preschool Development Grants, a program designed to help states to implement the President’s Preschool for All plan, which seeks to offer free full-day preschool for 4-year-olds from low- to middle-income households. According to a recent blog post by Secretary Arne Duncan, this funding is not included in the budgets being considered by either the House or the Senate. However, it should be noted that the Administration has received criticism from conservatives for efforts to expand government-controlled early education programs grants and competitions—such as Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. Additionally, when all preschool programs—including private and faith-based—are taken into account, statistics show that over two-thirds of 4-year-olds are already enrolled in some form of preschool, a fact which brings into question the claimed necessity of expanding government-run programs.
 

NLC Registration

Don’t Miss the AACS National Legislative Conference
The AACS will be hosting the annual
AACS National Legislative Conference September 14–16, 2015, giving participants from AACS ministries the opportunity to gain information about the issues facing Christian education, to meet with their Senators and/or Representatives, and to be encouraged in their service for the Lord. Taking place in Washington, D.C., the conference will include a Congressional briefing designed for AACS members, a briefing hosted by the Heritage Foundation on educational and religious freedom, a Stories in Stones tour of the Jefferson Memorial led by Tim Schmig, and the annual legislative banquet featuring Senator James Lankford as the speaker. The theme for this year’s conference is “Let us be strong” based on 2 Samuel 10:12 which states, “Let us be strong for our people and…for God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.” Click here to register.

Pro Life

Nationwide Protests at Planned Parenthood Locations
More than 62,000 pro-life supporters in over 320 cities across the nation
gathered Saturday for a massive show of opposition against Planned Parenthood. Protesters called out the institution’s practice of selling the body parts of aborted babies to medical research companies and demanded that Congress discontinue the use of tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood. Eric J. Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, wrote, “The protest was an outstanding success, with pro-lifers coming out in droves to expose Planned Parenthoods horrific practice of harvesting and selling aborted baby body parts. For the first time, defunding Planned Parenthood is beginning to look like an achievable goal.” These protests are largely a result of eight troubling videos which have been released over the past several weeks, which depict the disturbing events occurring at Planned Parenthood and StemExpress facilities.



 

In Case You Missed It:


Weekly Market Update provided by Jeff Beach of the AACS Investment Team at Merrill Lynch
 
Register Now for AACS National Legislative Conference September 14-16, 2015
 
How GOP Candidates Rank on Common Core
 
Religious Liberty Rally Draws Huge Crowd
 
Video: AACS Youth Legislative Training Conference 2015
American Association of Christian Schools
Jamison Coppola: Legislative Director
Maureen Van Den Berg: Policy Analyst

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