"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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Friday, December 17, 2010

Educated Citizenry 2020 Committee Reveals Education Goals for Missouri Students.

The Missouri State Senate Panel delivered its education report today entitled "Educated Citizenry 2020".

The St. Louis Beacon has a report on the meeting today in Jefferson City:

If a state Senate panel has its way, Missouri students 10 years from now will be better prepared for kindergarten, three-fourths of them will do well on state standardized tests and 60 percent of them will get college degrees and credentials.

Further, charter schools will expand throughout the state, not just in St. Louis or Kansas City, new lawmakers will have to take lessons to learn how public schools are funded and one agency will oversee education from pre-school through post-graduate degrees.

State Senator David Pearce, the chairman of the education panel said on the subject of teacher pay and tenure:

On specific issues, Pearce said that he has filed legislation to study how teachers are compensated. Specifically, he said, it might be time to ask teachers if they are willing to be paid on a merit basis if they would give up the protections of tenure at the same time.

"If we're going to do this," he said, "it would have to be voluntary for schools as well as for teachers. If teachers want to go on merit-based, performance-based reimbursement, they would have to give up tenure. We need to take a look at that, perhaps beginning with districts that are provisionally accredited or unaccredited.

"Tenure is something that for the most part doesn't resonate well in the state of Missouri. Education is the only place where people have tenure," continued Pearce. "People outside the system don't necessarily support it or appreciate it, and now may be a good time to do some trade offs, like tying it to merit pay."

If you are familiar with Race to the Top mandates, teacher tenure and merit pay was a cornerstone of the legislation, as well as the expansion of charter schools. Governor Nixon took out these items in Missouri's proposal to the Department of Education and the removal of these highly graded goals may have been one reason we did not receive funding from the Department of Education.

Missouri adopted Common Core standards in June 2010, a critical part of the Race to the Top. By adopting these standards, we have given up our state's right to write curriculum. We cannot set state or local standards for students and are under the mandates of a consortium.

If I am reading the Beacon article and Educated Citizenry report correctly, even though Missouri did not win Race to the Top funding, we will have the key important programs in this (RTTT) Department of Education's plan implemented: common core standards, the expansion of charter schools, the termination of teacher tenure and the introduction of merit pay. A difference is in the RTTT plan, the tenure and merit pay issue was mandated; the Missouri Senate's plan is apparently voluntary.

The original RTTT proposal was slated to cost $400 Million. The total we could have received from the Department of Education was $250 Million. This current plan doesn't mention how much money Educated Citizenry will cost. The goals appear to be very similar; the state has received $248 Million in other stimulus funding to begin implementing common core standards, so I am assuming the total will be close to the original $400 Million total cost. Taxpayers should know from the Legislature how much this plan is projected to cost as it will create unfunded mandates.

The Beacon reports:

In public hearings witnesses were asked to respond to these questions:

  • What will it mean to be an educated citizen in 2020?
  • What will employers need from their employees in 2020?
  • What principles will anchor our decisions about education -- flexibility, accessibility, affordability? How do we advance those principles?
  • How can the needs of all Missouri students best be balanced?
  • If you could change one things about education in Missouri, what would it be?

Questions taxpayers should be asking the legislators involved in this plan include the following:

  • What is the total cost of this program?
  • If there are unfunded/underfunded mandates in this program, how will these be addressed in this climate of budget cutting in the state?
  • How does this plan promote smaller government?
  • How does this plan promote more local control?
  • Does this plan promote more parental rights and involvement?
  • How are charter schools considered a viable alternative as they will operate under the same mandates as traditional public schools?

Taxpayers and constitutionalists may want to study the committee's recommendations and ask questions regarding further involvement of the federal government in terms of setting mandates and providing funding for state programs.

This desire to turn over control of state education and accepting federal funds is in contrast with the 10th Amendment beliefs of many Missouri taxpayers. 71% of voters approved of Missouri not having to acquiesce to the Federal Government in health care legislation. Why has Missouri signed onto Common Core standards and agreed to unfunded mandates? Why is the state acquiescing to the Federal Government in the educational realm?


  1. The Beacon reports "If a state Senate panel has its way, Missouri students 10 years from now will be better prepared for kindergarten..."

    Ah. 'Better prepared for kindergarten'. I see.

    Is there really a reason for reading any further than that? Well, I suppose since they are able to combine such abject stupidity with the power to force us into complying with them, I suppose we do need to give them our attention... as we'd give our attention to someone who wandered in screaming about Martian utopias and waving a gun.

    Pay attention, sure, but not to try to understand the nonsense they're saying, but only in order to get the gun away and get them some help.

    We need to take these peoples power over us away from them. They are a danger to us and to our children.

    Your "Questions taxpayers should be asking the legislators involved in this plan include the following:" are a good place to start from... be calm, be soothing, see if we can just get the crazies to put down their gun....


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