"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, November 23, 2010

How the Nudge becomes a Takeover. And why is Bill Gates Involved in the Nudging?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has poured millions of dollars in grants to states for Race to the Top proposals, and his foundation has been instrumental in crafting Common Core standards. Here is an excerpt from the Common Core standard initiative website with Gates' enthusiastic approval of these standards:

"With the states' release today of a set of clear and consistent academic standards, our nation is one step closer to supporting effective teaching in every classroom, charting a path to college and careers for all students, and developing the tools to help all children stay motivated and engaged in their own education. The more states that adopt these college and career based standards, the closer we will be to sharing innovation across state borders and becoming more competitive as a country."
- Bill Gates, Co-Chair, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Why should we be concerned about Bill Gates advocating for common core standards? Review the sponsors listed on the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) site. They are educational publishing, software, and testing/assessment companies. They include Microsoft, McGraw-Hill, Apple, Dell and many other institutions. Think about the push for the common core standards. Are they really to help the children or to create a huge market for these educational, data, and software companies? Are Bill Gates' multi-million donations to states truly for student improvement or self-serving as the monies generated by these mandates will create billions of dollars for these companies that have partnered with Gates?

Bill Costello writing for American Thinker doesn't like the idea of common core standards and questions why these standards are being pushed to the states. He details how they in reality are not voluntary to sign onto as federal money will be withheld from Title 1 funding if not adopted by a state. This is the one of the best articles we've read about common core standards and the danger of the standards. As Costello writes:

Typically, when federal financial strings are attached, control begins with a nudge. Then it's a push. Then it's a shove. Ultimately, it ends up becoming a takeover.

For now, it's a nudge to national education standards. Then it will be a push to national testing. Then it will be a shove to a national curriculum.

When you understand the constitutional and financial considerations in this federal takeover, further your questioning into the reasons why Bill Gates is pushing so hard for these standards. Again, who will really benefit from centralized educational systems? Individual children or companies needing to institute a huge federalized system?

As Costello points out:

Look how federal funding for No Child Left Behind led to mandatory testing and proficiency requirements for the states.

Did that federal intervention actually lead to higher academic standards or improved student outcomes? No, it led to the dumbing down of many state standards and zero improvement in student outcomes.

In fact, ever since President Lyndon Johnson implemented the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965, federal involvement in education has led to zero improvement in student outcomes.

Why are CEO's with vested interests in education policy setting this same policy for our children? This has less to do with the children and more to do with an agenda that doesn't care a whit about educational progress. It cares about making billions of dollars establishing even more of a bureaucratic nightmare from which public school children can't escape.

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