"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Disappointed , But Not Surprised

This is how our education commissioner Chris Nicastro describes Missouri’s second round Race to the Top grant proposal. In today’s news release, she assures Missouri citizens and taxpayers that the state plans on going full steam ahead even without the millions of dollars in federal money.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has spent an entire year chasing after federal grant money, only to come up empty handed. I wonder how much this little adventure has cost the taxpayers of this state. There is at least one consolation for DESE, the state school board and the governor. We now have new Common Core standards that were formally adopted in June in a rush to gain points on our grant proposal. The new national standards are being touted as “world class”, and far superior to almost all states. We taxpaying citizens will have nowhere to go when we question the content of what is in the new standards. Once you have national standards, you need national assessments and national curricula to teach the standards and of course, let’s not forget the textbooks that will also need to be aligned to the standards.
Missourians need not worry though, as our education commissioner assures us that the new standards are very closely aligned to our current Missouri standards. If they are so closely aligned, why then did the Fordham Institute recently award Missouri a D in math and communication arts when comparing our current standards to the new national standards. It appears to me that aligning “D” standards is going to be a lot of hard work and take a lot of man hours. Once again, we the people will foot the bill while giving up our state sovereignty in education. Little by little, Missourians are losing what little bit of local control they have over public schools.

By the way, the governor appointed state school board has all of the power in making the decision to adopt the standards. They don’t even need any type of legislative approval to make such a drastic change in the education of our children. Let the current board members hear how you feel about them allowing the federal government to set the standards for Missouri schools now and in the future! Remember, it’s your dime? Missouri State School Board

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