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Why I Do Not Endorse the Writings of Anita Hoge

April 22, 2015

It is time for me to address the issue of the writings of Anita Hoge.

Well-intended readers send me links to Hoge, but I do not promote Hoge because her positions are fear-promoting conjecture, and her evidence is not evidence.

For readers unfamiliar with Hoge, keep reading.

For this post, I focus on excerpts taken from a post centered on the 8-year-delayed reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), entitled, “The Medicalization of Schools,” by Hoge and a co-writer, Gen Yvette Sutton. Below is the first excerpt of interest:

Senator Alexander’s and Senator Murray’s “BIPARTISAN” Reauthorization of ESEA is explained in the following documentation. These points entrench mental health interventions in schools with pages and documentation in Alexander’s Senate version of ESEA provided below:

ALL students will be identified as “at-risk” allowing government access to ALL children under Common Core, Title I, and IDEA to receive mental health services, treatment, and interventions. [P.38 produce individual student interpretive descriptive, diagnostic reports consistent with (II) children with disabilities; pp. 17, 36, 41, 83, 87, 90, 93, 94, 113, 118, 122, 125, 131, 254, 365]

Now, it sure seems impressive to see all of those page numbers following the “all students will be identified as ‘at-risk'” statement. However, do not mistake the dazzle of page numbers for credible support.

Let us examine some of those page number references.

Consider the supposed evidence from page 38. The words above are inaccurately cited. Here are the actual words, as part of the requirements for statewide academic assessments that begins back on page 34:

‘‘(x) produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports, consistent with clause (iii) [“be used for purposes for which such assessments are valid and reliable…], that allow parents, teachers, principals, and other school leaders to understand and address the specific academic needs of students, and include information regarding achievement on academic assessments aligned with challenging State academic achievement standards, and that are provided to parents, teachers, principals, and other school leaders as soon as is practicable after the assessment is given, in an understandable and uniform format, and, to the extent practicable, in a language that the parents can understand.

The reports noted on page 38 are reports of student progress on state assessments, reports that are for parents and school officials.

There is no directive to send such reports to the federal government.

Let’s take the next page number Hoge/Sutton cite: pg. 17. The text of page 17 concerns states’ coordinating Title I grant submissions “with other programs under this Act,” which means that the state request must complement other federally-funded programs.

One example used on the “coordination” list is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Others include the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Head Start Act.

Coordinating programs does not equal declaring all students “at risk,” and only someone who does not understand the ESEA draft language would assume as much.

Let’s do another. Hoge/Sutton cite page 36. We’re back to the Title I state assessment requirements. Page 36 notes that state assessments must “provide for” participation of all students and must “provide for the appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities (as defined in section 602(3) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), and students with a disability who are provided accommodations under another Act….” The state assessments must also “provide for the inclusion of English learners….”

To stretch this language to fit some idea that “all students will be identified as ‘at-risk'” is ignorant. It is also ignorant to try to link the Senate ESEA draft with Common Core (which Hoge and Sutton do as noted in their quote above). The term, “Common Core” is used only twice in the 601-page Senate ESEA draft, and that is on pages 560-61, in the section entitled, “Prohibitions on Federal Government and Use of Federal Funds.”

In short, under the Senate ESEA draft, the US secretary cannot mandate states to adopt Common Core.

As to the rest of the pages cited in the Hoge/Sutton quote above, I leave readers to perform their own investigations, which they can do using the Senate ESEA draft link here. As for me, the three investigations I just included are enough.

Hoge/Sutton continue their post by noting that “psychological and psychiatric techniques will be employed to change the student’s psyche and personality to government qualities… with all techniques researched, validated and proven to change the values, attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions of your children toward Common Core attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions. ”

Page numbers that Hoge/Sutton include to support this supposed Common Core brainwash are “pp. 24, 120, 244 measure non-cognitive measures; pp. 58, 94, 119, 125, 243-244, 253, 367-368.”

Let us again consider a few of the pages Hoge/Sutton cite.

Page 24 is part of a section that begins on page 23 detailing the limitations the US secretary of education has over state standards and assessments. The entire page notes what the US secretary is prohibited from controlling.

Page 120 mentions helping children meet “challenging State academic standards” and “other strategies to improve student’s academic and non-academic skills essential for success.”This is part of a larger section to “address the needs of all children in the school, but particularly the needs of those at risk of not meeting the challenging State academic standards” to address how schools are meeting identified school needs, including that this school-wide program plan “be monitored and improved over time based on student needs, including increased supports for those students who are lowest-achieving (pgs. 117-18).

Page 244 falls under formula grants for the “Fund to Improve Teaching and Learning” under Title II (“Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-quality Teachers, Principals and Other School Leaders”). Local education agencies (LEAs) applying for subgrants under this section must conduct a needs assessment to determine schools “with the most acute staffing needs… related to… improving student behavior, including the response of teachers, principals, and other school leaders to student behavior, in the classroom and school, including the identification of early and appropriate interventions, which may include positive behavioral interventions and supports…” (pgs. 243-44).

As to page 58, states can decide if they wish to use Title I money “to support a multi-tiered system of supports, positive behavioral interventions and supports, or early intervening services,” but are not required to do so. If states do so, according to page 58, they must work with LEAs “in the development, implementation, and coordination of such activities and services with similar activities and services carried out under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in schools served by the local educational agency, including by providing technical assistance, training, and evaluation of the activities and services.”

In other words, regular education is to work with special education (not against, and not in isolation from) when it comes to schools’ utilizing Title I money to address issues of student behavior.

One can certainly stretch the above to mean that the government is altering student affect in order to suit “government qualities,” but I will not be joining in.

And now to the ESEA “Medicaid” issue that Hoge/Sutton purport:

A Provider 50 License is required to bill for MEDICAID for mental health wrap-around services allowing ALL students to be accessed by outside mental health providers. (pp. 106, 254-255, 350, 354, 355, 364, 365, 367, 368, 369)

MEDICAID EPSDT (Early Periodic Screening and Diagnostic Testing from age 0 to 21) are federal GUIDELINES used to promote the identification of students with Common Core mental health disabilities (the government social, emotional, and behavioral standards) that use DSM codes to bill for mental health wrap-around services. (p. 131 (IV) 254-255, 350, 354, 355, 364, 365, 367, 368, 369)

Allow me note that I have yet to know of any student “identified” with “Common Core mental health disabilities.”

Here is a Hoge/Sutton explanation on their Medicaid issue:

Senator Alexander, Senator Murray, Representative Kline, Senator Casey, have purposely neglected to inform their colleagues about the expansion of MEDICAID through the schools. They purposely have not notified each of the states that the expansion of MEDICAID in the schools would extend to ALL children now identified as AT-RISK for the “specialized student instructional support” services billable through mental health wrap-around services.

ALL children = more MEDICAID money for the schools = unsustainable burden for the states.

Now, let’s consider some of that ESEA page-numbered “evidence”:

I think page 106 is my favorite Hoge/Sutton “evidence” of the Medicaid for All Bankrupting America idea.

Continuing under the heading of “measures” from page 105, page 106 includes the various means by which states might measure poverty among children ages 5 to 17 for the purposes of applying for Title I money. LEAs may choose from one of four measures to gauge the number of students in poverty: 1) recent census data counts; 2) number of children eligible for free or reduced lunch; 3) number of children receiving Social Security benefits, and 4) number of children eligible to receive Medicaid benefits.

This is not evidence that Medicaid can be billed for ALL students’ mental health services. It is not even a section detailing mental health services. It is only a section of Title I operationalizing the concept, “measure of poverty.”

On to the next page number that Hoge and Sutton cite re:Medicaid panic.

Page 131 is part of the “Targeted Assistance School Program” (pg. 124) under Title I. The information on page 131 states that Title I funds (not Medicaid) may be used in the following situation:

COMPREHENSIVE SERVICES.—If health, nutrition, and other social services are not otherwise available to eligible children in a school operating a targeted assistance school program and such school, if appropriate, has established a collaborative partnership with local service providers and funds are not reasonably available from other public or private sources to provide such services, then a portion of the funds provided under this subsection may be used to provide such services, including through— 

(i) the provision of basic medical equipment and services, such as eyeglasses and hearing aids;

(ii) compensation of a coordinator;

(iii) family support and engagement services;

(iv) health care services and integrated student supports to address the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of children; and

(v) professional development necessary to assist teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, other staff, and parents in identifying and meeting the comprehensive needs of eligible children. (pgs. 131-32)

This is not Medicaid for All.

The next pages Hoge/Sutton cite, pages 254-55, involve in-service training for school personnel in “the techniques and supports needed for early identification of children with trauma histories, and children with, or at risk of, mental illness” and “the use of referral mechanisms that effectively link such children to appropriate treatment and intervention services in the school and in the community, where appropriate; and forming partnerships between
school-based mental health programs and public or private mental health organizations.”

Again, this is not evidence of some shrewd plan for Alexander and Murray to promote Medicaid.

Page 350 is the definition of “school-based mental health services provider”:

The term ‘school-based mental health services provider’ includes a State licensed or State certified school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, or other State licensed or certified mental health professional qualified under State law to provide such mental health services to children and adolescents, including children in early childhood education programs.

The evidence of some Medicaid for All plan is hatching slower than the supposed plan itself.

And I am done here. Again, I leave the remaining page numbers to reader perusal.

Readers can also feel free to read the entire Hoge/Sutton post should they choose. I have had my fill.

I have read the entire 601-page Senate ESEA draft as well as 20 of the 29 amendments. (I interrupted my amendment reading in order to write this post.)

Nothing I have read lends support to any Hoge-induced mind-bend that ALL students will be labeled “at-risk” and that the government will tamper with children’s psychological states via ESEA requirements. Moreover, the ESEA reauthorization does not carry the authority to place a single student on Medicaid, even if the ESEA authors were foolish enough to directly write as much in the draft– which I assure you they did not.

A note to those who wish to comment on this post: I will not allow a conspiracy-theory free-for-all in my comments section. As such, I reserve the right to monitor comments in accordance with what I judge to be tasteful for my blog. Thank you.

thinker facepalm


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has her second book available on pre-order, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, due for publication June 12, 2015.

CC book cover






  1. I believe Ms. Hoge’s analysis of the ESEA reauthorization is based on years of research and experience fighting this exact issue in the 90’s with OBE. In order to comprehend the intricacies of this way too long legislation (the original ESEA from 1965 was 32 pages) you need to know and understand the agenda and mind set of those responsible for the creation of this legislation and I can guarantee neither Kline or Alexander wrote one word of the bills. There are many other education historians that agree with Ms. Hoge. Reading between
    Lines is required when reading monster legislation meant to hide the truth. Remember the people that criticized Obamacare were called conspiracy fear mongers too and we are now seeing they saw things beyond the comprehension of others. If the current reauthorization is passed I believe the day will come when Ms.Hoge will deserve an apology.

    • Ms. Hoge is not “reading between the lines. Ms. Hoge is creating a projected narrative.

      • Sorry but we will have to agree to disagree on this subject.

      • With respect I disagree whole heartedly with your analysis of Ms. Hoge’s research. I expect that she will be proven right at the end of the day. In fact, if you were to go back and watch/read her speeches/essays from the early 90’s you will see that her predictions for the future trajectory of school to work education models have come true.

  2. Laura chapman permalink

    Conspiracy theorists are unresponsive to your reasoned refutations of page after page of citations. You have no obligation to invest any more time and your considerable talent in responding. The proliferation of page references and the irrelevance of these to the actual meaning of the legislation suggests that these reporters did no more than a key word search to make outrageous claims.

  3. I agree with Laura (as usual). Please try not to be distracted by detractors on either end. What is fabulous about you is there is enough real evidence to back up your claims without reading between any lines. There are standards for good research that we should abide by even if many reformers or fanatics do not follow it. As a long time critic of public schools I was originally supportive of many of the reforms since there was a lot to improve in the public schools. When the real research showed me there were no miracles and that most of reforms were unsuccessful and actually harming what was good about schools is when I changed my mind and started seeing other possible motives since the results were being ignored. As a special educator, I am less afraid of some of the wrap around services Anita is fearful about. I have seen them work successfully. I do appreciate her caution though since it does make me consider if these passages can be used for overreach.

  4. D. Brand permalink

    We have a government that has implemented an abusive experimental curriculum on a nation of children. They have lost all trust and good faith of parents.

    • Concerned citizen permalink

      Yes i am curious why parents should blindly trust corporations that develop digital.curriculum- ed products. It is already well known that social media and internet companies manipulate content to change behaviors to push agendas. Now we have personalized learning products which present content based on algorithms.

  5. Thank you, thank you for writing this, Mercedes. Your runthrough here is just one of many examples of this language-stretching to scare people. I think what’s really going on is worrisome enough to not need fearmongering based on conjecture.

    • I appreciate your comment, Joy. I agree that conjecture only exacerbates fear.

    • Jenny permalink

      Not sure i understand what is wrong with page numbers. They seem to be a direction finding mechanism when dealing with a document. Not sure why you warriors are supporting huge legislation by the federal government and disparaging other warriors who also want truth in education. This is extremely upsetting as i supprted all of you, Joy, Anita, Mercedes, Diane… As a mom i would rather see all angles and connections of this legislation and how it could possibly effect my children, exposed and discussed thoroughly. When the contents of each page numbers are reviewed a picture emerges that is even more troubling than these unsubstantiated accusations of a fellow education truth seeker.

  6. Michele permalink

    I am so happy to see your post on this. I had stumbled upon Hoge article on this topic. I work in the mental health field as an adolescent case manager. I knew this was some batty stuff but I felt compelled to look up the page numbers for myself. I also listened to a radio interview of hers and took notes (that’s an hour and a half of my life I will never get back). In the radio interview, she revealed her REAL agenda, discrimination against LGBTQ students. Anita Hoge does not want Title 1 money to follow a student into a private school because then a private school will have to follow federal law and not be able to discriminate against LGBTQ students! In the radio interview, Anita Hoge was saying that every behavior displayed in school will be tracked by the teacher who will then be assigning a DSM code and that student may never be able to own a gun!!!! Oh, you also forgot to refute that the language in the reauthorization about a teacher being able to acquire their own insurance PROVES that they are now practicing reprogramming of our children. Everyone, please take off your tin foil hats!!!

    • jclancy permalink

      1992: Dr. Peg Luksik, “Who Controls Our Children: How Public Schools Dumb Down Kids”

  7. Those of us who want to research this issue in depth and with an open mind are not afraid to delve into the subject matter from every angle. The red flags are raised when one source of information that was otherwise solid in substance begins to narrow their feedback to that which only favors their view revealing a less than favorable agenda/bias. The second the condescending comments including “tin foil hats” and “conspiracy theories” get lobbed into the mix of resources, the ones calling the names become the ones who lose credibility to those of us who don’t enjoy being told what to think or how to interpret information. Apparently I can’t post any links of Anita’s substantive rebuttal but it is worthy of perusal. There’s room in the information school yard for everyone’s input.

  8. Faron permalink

    To Michelle, many, if not most, private and parochial school families are honest enough to know that being queen is a choice they don’t want their children making. Secondly, it’s a choice and lifestyle they don’t want to tolerate, accept, or support. Thus they don’t send their children to public schools. It’s those sorts of choices and a whole host of other advocacy group agendas, coupled with the general liberal destruction of education, that has only accelerated the decline in education in this nation. That’s not an “Agenda”, it’s just good sense.

  9. Concerned citizen permalink

    There is a huge difference between tests and assessments. We have moved to assessments and psychological profiling of our students this in itself speaks volumes. It is sad those who know this do not awaken parents to this yet they place their children in private schools because they know better. Just sad.

  10. Kendra Tilley permalink

    What I don’t understand is how you call Ms. Hoge’s information conjecture when she has provided reams of reports and documentation. Ms. Hoge sued the PA Dept. of Education for testing the affective domain and she won that lawsuit. ESSA now makes these assessments federal law. SEL is just another fancy name for teaching and testing desired outcomes for beliefs, attitudes and behavior and remediating those children that do not fit the desired outcome. So sorry she is not speculating and she is not fear mongering. Since when is bringing out the truth no one wants to believe now considered conjecture. “It is easier for people to believe a believable lie than the unbelievable truth”. Dr. Blumenfeld. You all do the American children a huge disservice by not recognizing this is a global agenda and this too can be proven that is if the facts matter to you at all.One day you will be writing apology letters to Ms. Hoge. We didn’t listen to so many that tried to warn us of what was happening in education and now here we are. Charlotte Iserbyt, Dr. Peg Luksik and yes Anita Hoge.

  11. concerned citizen permalink

    Isnt it amazing as time goes on more and more of what Anita Hoge and Charlotte Iserbyt had said is coming to fruition.

  12. Greg permalink

    You have misunderstood some of Anita’s claims. First of all Anita correctly points out that this legislation brings private school and home schooled students under Title 1 authority. That is a very serious expansion of government authority and needs to be understood and fought. Ms. Hoge also correctly points out that the legislation creates a mechanism by which the schools will be able to apply billing codes from the DSM in order to collect payment from Medicaid. Maybe you should re read the bill. Also, you fail to understand the fact that public schools are not concerned with academic proficiency, they are concerned with behavioral outcomes and that is something that every adult in the United States should have a huge problem with. What do you think they mean when they mandate training for ‘improving student behavior’?
    Do you not know that public schools are failing to teach academics? The avg proficiency in reading is less than 50%. Math and Science is worse. Yet , you don’t seem to think that it has to do with the fact that schools are performing hack psychology in our children rather than teaching the 3 R’s? It is well documented that public schools are focused on instilling a certain ideology into children and not educating them. If you call that a conspiracy theory than that will indicate you are not serious about the truth or about any of this. Only someone who is completely ignorant of the facts or somebody who is pushing the gvt. agenda would be so cavalier and phony as to call these easily discernable and verifiable facts a conspiracy theory. Calling things a conspiracy theory is nothing more than an attempt to avoid addressing things that you cannot reasonably explain. It’s a cop out.
    Many of the things Anita says will come about from the legislation will come about not because the verbage directly mandates such things but because the verbage opens the door for such things via operation of law. You need to step up your game.

  13. Concerned citizen permalink

    As time passes more and more what Aniya has said is coming to fruition. They arent hiding it anymore

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mercedes Schneider: Don’t Believe the Conspiracy Theories about ESEA | Diane Ravitch's blog

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