"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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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Somebody Had to Watch Al Sharpton's "Reclaim the Dream" Rally Today...

I feel as if I am in an alternative universe as I watched Duncan speaking at the "Reclaim the Dream" rally today in Washington, DC. This is the rally Al Sharpton threw together in answer to Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally. As you may have read previously, we questioned why a sitting secretary in the government would appear at such a partisan event.

He did talk about education and you can find the video clip here from C-Span. Duncan's speech begins right around the 02:00:40 mark:


His speech lasts about four minutes, and in that time frame, he speaks about many issues regarding education. He tells parents to turn off the television, for teachers to stop making excuses, for churches to open their doors during the week for children, for community members to tutor, volunteer and mentor and for students to take their education very seriously.

He believes education is the civil rights issue of the day. Duncan said, "we've waited too long, we've been too complacent....we've accepted second rate schools".

Okay. He says he wants citizens and parents to become more involved in education. Then why in the original 800 page RTTT document are parents not even mentioned as being an integral part in the planning of these mandates? Why should churches try to mentor children during the week when no mention of God is allowed in the schools? Why should churches partner with the public school when that same school derides the mere mention of a Deity and doesn't allow silent prayer?

Listen to what Arne Duncan says, then study the goals of RTTT, the push for common core standards, and you will understand these are mandates that do not lend themselves to any involvement from parents, citizens or churches. If there is no local involvement, then I suspect the student's desire to achieve is decreased dramatically. The teachers have problems with students who don't want to learn, and no common core curriculum or Federal mandate will fix such a student. Tongue in cheek remark here: we all must have skin in the game...right? I'm thinking that's just talk from this administration.

I reject his notion that "we've waited too long, we've been too complacent, etc., etc." Federal funding has exploded over the last four decades and test scores have not improved:


He probably is on to something: parents, citizens and churches are an integral part in public education. What Mr. Duncan has put forth, however, is the antithesis of that model. His words are hollow. If he really wanted to give those children he was speaking to in Washington, DC today a decent education, he would reinstate the educational vouchers he pulled from those families last year.

Mr. Duncan isn't reclaiming any dream; he's repeating and worsening the nightmare of public education over the last forty years.

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