"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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Monday, July 19, 2010

Lesson plan for taxpayers: "I'm from the Government and I'm here to help you"

As I wrote previously, it is a good practice to daily check the MO DESE website if you are wondering what Jeff City is planning for children and taxpayers. Once you begin accessing press releases and documents you start detecting a pattern of federal encroachment on our right (and other states) to educate our children. It is evident the push for Race to the Top and other federal controls are enthusiastically being sought by our Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro.

This article was sent to me this morning:


While it is factual, it doesn't tell you "the rest of the story". It tells you the basics but you need to go to the source to understand exactly what is transpiring between DC and the states. And where can you find the source? Of course! At the MO DESE website! I found this link Friday:


This is an approximately 40 minute conference call between several reporters and the following government officials:
  • Arne Duncan, Education Secretary
  • Melody Barnes, White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council
  • Christina Romer, White House Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
  • Eric Smith, Commissioner of Education (FL)
  • Chris Nicastro, Commissioner of Education (MO)

The call was orchestrated by the Department of Education so it could explain to the various reporters why even more millions of federal dollars are necessary to save teaching jobs. The department is hoping the reporters will jump on the funding bandwagon and report to readers why we just have to have more money and more reform. The common theme of the officials is jobs, jobs, jobs (teacher union jobs) and reform, reform, reform (the Federal version of reform).

The recession is an inconvenient truth. It doesn't make any difference to these officials. They want their vision to come to fruition, and it is immaterial the economy cannot financially support these mandates.

Over the next few days, we'll chronicle the conference call, document the double talk, the incorrect facts, and the inability of these officials to grapple with the realization we are out of money to reach the federal government's goals.

Take time to listen to the call and we'll talk more tomorrow. I'll leave you with a snippet from Christina Romer at the 6:30 mark: "the headwinds we face to a robust recovery, one of the biggest is the dire situation of the state budgets". But, she adds at around the 8:00 mark: the government has "made incredible progress on the economy from losing more than 750,000 jobs a month to consistently adding jobs; added 600,000 to the private sector since the start of the year. We all realize we have a long way to go. We all realize we're still 7.5 million jobs down since the start of the recession. Anything we can do to help accelerate the rate of growth and job creation is going to be very helpful and our estimates are that the money that is given to state governments for things like keeping teachers employed is some of the most effective spending(?) for the overall recovery and that is why this is a very sensible policy."

That's the gist of Romer's argument. Spend money to subsidize state education budgets. Where in the world is that money coming from? And what is the ultimate cost down the road?

Check back as we analyze this interesting conference call. It's clear what the ultimate goal is in this discussion. You just have to listen.

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