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The Washington Flyer
October 30, 2015

“Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, and literary.”
Daniel Webster
Chairmen of Education Committees Demand Administration End Accreditation Investigation
Last week, the chairmen of the House and Senate Education Committees sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) demanding they end their investigation into the national accrediting agency, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). The CFPB was established by the Obama Administration in 2010 for the purpose of regulating financial institutions that provide services to consumers and thereby “protect” consumers from fraud by these companies. As an accrediting agency, the ACICS works to ensure the colleges they accredit meet certain criteria to provide a quality education and currently accredits over 900 higher education institutions. One of the institutions accredited by ACICS, Corinthian Colleges, was sued by the CFPB last year for their student loan practices, and the fact that ACICS did not drop their accreditation during the ongoing lawsuit brought the accrediting agency under scrutiny. However, as noted by
Representative John Kline and Senator Lamar Alexander, the Chairmen of the Education Committees, the investigation is an “unprecedented overreach” by the Administration into college accreditation. Their letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray
states in part, “By undertaking this investigation, the CFPB is holding itself out as an expert in determining the quality of education or training programs at institutions of higher education. Congress clearly stipulated in law this determination is not something the federal government can or should do. Not even the Department of Education is authorized by law to determine the quality of institutions of higher education. This action is an unprecedented intrusion by your agency into higher education and undermines the process Congress created to assess institutional quality. This action will cause confusion and disruption throughout the higher education community and ultimately undermine the ability of students to further their education.”
Federal Court Rules Common Core Is Not a “Curriculum”
U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick has ruled against Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in his fight against the Common Core standards. In August of 2014, Governor Jindal sued the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) on the charge that coercing states to adopt the standards and tests is indeed establishing a national curriculum. In the case, Jindal v. U.S. Department of Education, Governor Jindal cited three federal statutes which prohibit the DOE from exercising any control or supervision over curriculum implementation and program of instruction in the states. He further contended that the DOE had violated these prohibitions by funding the national assessments and threatening to penalize states if they refused to adopt the standards. However, the Judge
ruled in favor of the DOE on September 16th, rejecting Jindal’s argument that Common Core is a “curriculum” and claiming that Louisiana had adopted the standards absent of government influence. 

National Test Scores Dropping
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
released data this week which shows student test scores in reading and math have dropped since 2013. Specifically, scores for 4th grade math, 8th grade math, and reading saw a two point drop in the last two years, while 4th grade reading scores remained the same. While the NAEP test was not specifically aligned with the Common Core Standards (CCS), NAEP officials admit there was overlap between the test and the CCS. Similar news came from the ACT organization in August with their announcement that there has been “little progress in college and career readiness” in the last two years, and that the achievement gap does not seem to be closing for minorities. While education officials have cautioned from drawing conclusions as to the reason for the lack of improvement, critics of the CCS point out the fact that the declining scores prove the CCS is not achieving the goal of increasing academic success for America’s students. 

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