"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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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Missouri "Race to the Takeover" news

The second round of Race to the Top proposals to the Federal Government were due by June 1, 2010. We were fortunate in Missouri NOT to have received funding for the second time. I contacted the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to determine which school districts signed and which did not. The first proposal in January 2010 was signed by 99.9% of superintendents, school boards and unions. This second proposal was signed by 346 school districts and boards. Thirty seven of these 346 school districts who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), DID NOT INCLUDE THE SIGNATURE OF THE UNION REPRESENTATIVE. That translates to over 10% of these districts not receiving union support for Race to the Top. States are graded by the Dept. of Education for support shown by districts and union representatives. It is obvious the Missouri State Board and the Dept. of Education push for these mandates is not popular with taxpayers or the unions.

From the records available to me, the second proposal was not signed by 209 schools. (DESE provided a list of schools signing, not a list of those choosing not to participate. I am relying on a website to count schools not signing that is not state sponsored, so these numbers may be off by 2 or 3. DESE lists 557 schools and after due diligence, my total of sign/not sign equals 555). Schools declining to sign were from all areas of the state and represented both urban and rural districts, public and charter schools. The percentage of schools agreeing to federal mandates being instituted fell from a high of 99.9% in January to approximately 63% in May.

This is due to two reasons: the union's reluctance of RTTT language and the pressure citizens put on their school districts not to sign on to this proposal. We must keep the pressure on our districts and the State Board. There was a recent war funding bill in Congressional committee which included a bailout attached for teacher salaries. This bailout included the states having to incorporate the four main goals of RTTT. It fortunately was not voted on, but these are how these attempts to gain federal control over state education occur. There have been proposals suggested that would allow the federal funds to bypass the state legislatures and State Boards of Education, and proceed directly to the Governor for his/her dispersal.

YOU, the parents and taxpayers, have NO VOICE in this scenario. We need to follow DESE, Governor Nixon, and the Department of Education to determine what is next in the attempted takeover of our state educational decisions and departments. We know the push to pass "Common Core Standards" is on the front burner, and we believe this is wrong for Missouri children. I would urge you to contact your superintendent to tell him/her to say "no" to these national standards. Make your voice heard!

Below is a list of the schools NOT signing on to the second round of RTTT:

Academy of Kansas City, Adair County R-II, Allen Village, Alta Vista Charter School, Altenburg 48, Appleton City R-II, Aurora R-VIII,

Belleview R-III, Bevier C-4, Billings R-IV, Blair Oaks R-II, Bloomfield R-XIV, Blue Eye R-V, Blue Springs R-IV, Boncl R-X, Bosworth R-V, Bowling Green R-I, Brentwood, Brounaugh R-VII, Brookfield R-III, Brunswich R-II, Buchanan County R-IV, Bucklin R-II,

Cainsville R-I, Calhoun R-VIII, Camdenton R-III, Centerville R-I, Centralia R-VI, Chadwick R-I, City Garden Montessori, Clarksburg C-2, Clarkton C-4, Clinton, Cole Camp R-I, Confluence Academies, Construction Careers Center, Cooper County R-IV, Crane R-III, Crawford County R-I, Crawford County R-II,

Della Lamb Elementary, Delta R-V, Dent-Phelps R-III, Derrick Thomas Academy, Dixon R-I, Don Bosco Education Center, East Buchanan County C-I,

Elsberry R-II, Ethel Hedgeman Lyle Academy, Everton R-III,
Fairview R-XI, Fayette R-III, Festus R-VI, Fordland R-III, Francis Howell R-III, Franklin County R-II, Frontier School of Innovation,

Galena R-II, Gasconade C-4, Gasconade County R-I, Glasgow, Grain Valley R-V, Green Ridge R-VIII,

Hale R-I, Hancock Place, Hannibal 60, Hardin-Central C-2, Harrisonville R-IX, Hartville R-II, Hickory County R-I, High Point R-III, Hillsboro R-III, Hogan Preparatory Academy, Holcomb R-III, Hope Academy, Houston R-I, Howell Valley R-I, Hurley R-I,

Iberia R-V, Imagine Acad. Academic Success, Imagine Acad. Env. Sci/Math, Imagine Adademy of Careers, Imagine Ren Acad Env Sci/Math, Independence 30 School District,

Jasper County R-V, Jefferson City, Jefferson County R-VII, Johnson County R-VII,

Kearney R-I, Kennett 39, King City R-I, Kirkwood R-VII,

La Monte R-IV, Laclede County C-5, Lamar R-I, Lee's Summit R-VII, Leesville R-IX, Leeton R-X, Lincoln R-II, Lindbergh R-VIII, Linn County R-I, Lockwood R-I, Lone Jack C-6, Louisiana R-II, Luray 33, Lutie R-VI,

Malta Bend R-V, Maplewood-Richmond Heights, Marceline R-V, Maries County R-I, Marion County R-II, Mark Twain R-VIII, Marquand-Zion R-VI, Marshall, Maryville R-II, Maysville R-I, Meadville R-IV, Mexico 59, Mid-Buchanan County R-V, Midway R-I, Mirabile C-I, Missouri City 56, Moniteau County R-V, Montgomery County R-II, Morgan County R-I, Morgan County R-II,

Naylor R-II, Neelyville R-IV, Nell Holcomb R-IV, New Bloomfield R-III, New Haven, New York R-IV, Newburg R-II, Norborne R-VIII, Normandy, North Andrew County R-VI, North Harrison R-III, North Wood R-IV, Northeast Randolph County R-IV, Northeast Vernon County R-I, Northside Community School, Northwestern R-I, Norwood R-I,

Oak Grove R-VI, Oak Hill R-I, Orearville R-IV,

Paideia Academy, Palmyra R-I, Parkway C-2, Pathway Academy, Pemiscot County Special School District, Pettis County R-V, Pike County R-III, Pilot Grove C-4, Plainview R-VIII, Poplar Bluff R-I, Prairie Home R-V, Ralls County R-II, Raymore-Peculiar R-II, Revere C-3, Rich Hill R-IV, Ridgeway R-V, Ripley County R-III, Riverview Gardens, Rockwood R-VI, Roscoe C-I,

Scott County Central, Scott County R-IV, Sedalia 200, Shawnee R-III, Shell Knob 78, Sherwood Cass R-VIII, Sikeston R-6, Silex R-I, Smithton R-VI, South Iron County R-I, South Nodaway County R-IV, South Pemiscot County R-V, Southern Boone County R-I, Southwest Livingston County R-I, Sparta R-III, Spickard R-II, St. Clair R-XIII, Stet R-XV, St. Louis Language Immersion School, Stoutland R-II,
Strain-Japan R-XVI, Sunrise R-IX, Swedeborg R-III,

Taneyville R-II, Tarkio R-I, Thayer R-II, Thornfield R-I, Tri-County R-VII, Troy R-III, Twin Rivers R-X,

University Academy, Valley Park, Valley R-VI, Walnut Grove R-V, Warren County R-III, Warsaw R-IX, Wellston, West Nodaway County R-I, West Plains R-VII, West Platte County R-II

If your school district is on the above list, I would urge you to contact your superintendent and school board members to THANK THEM for not signing our state sovereignty away and not agreeing to unfunded mandates.

If your school district is NOT on the list, contact your superintendent and school board members and ask them WHY they would agree to a federal takeover of our schools and assigning us more unsustainable debt.

Be a watchdog for your district. Our kids' futures depend on it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Welcome to the

We are a group of parents and taxpayers concerned about the federal encroachment in our Missouri schools. We have been fortunate so far not to have been selected to receive "Race to the Top" funding from the Department of Education. This award mandates how states operate their educational curriculum and staffing, taking control away from local school districts and states, giving these decisions to the Federal Government. We contend it is unconstitutional as the Federal Government was never given the authority to control and determine education of its citizenry.

We also are opposed to Race to the Top as it is an unfunded mandate. It was projected to cost $390 Million to implement the mandates set forth by the Federal Government. The amount we could hope to receive was $150-250 Million. We cannot afford further debt. We cannot afford higher taxes to fund a mandated program which circumvents the legislature and taxpayer approval.

We invite YOU to become a watchdog for your school and/or district. We need your ears and eyes to let us know what is happening in YOUR part of the state. We want to know your concerns about curriculum, taxpayer expenditures, "politically correct" teachings, etc. Perhaps you can attend your school board meetings and report on what is happening in your district. We also would like to know what IS working in your district! Perhaps we can take ideas back to our own respective districts for them to consider. If you are interested in becoming a watchdog, please contact me at stlgretchen at gmail dot com with your name, your school district, county and town. We will be posting a list of districts as they are "taken" by a watchdog. We can have more than one watchdog in each district, so if you want to report, we'd love to have your input!

Please check back often to the site for updates. We will have information concerning the current threat to our state educational sovereignty; the push for Missouri to adopt "Common Core Standards". We need to assert our state right to determine the educational teachings for Missouri children and tell our Commissioner of Education we do not want federal infringement on those rights.

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