"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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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Missouri State Board signs on to common core standards and thumbs its nose at state sovereignty

Read it and weep. This is an excellent article from Missourinet.com:


I was travelling all day yesterday and now have had time to really sit down and reflect on what happened in this instance. All along, I've believed this educational takeover of our schools, Race to the Top and the "race" to adopt common core standards mirrored the Federal takeover of our health care. If you listen to the arguments the senators who support state sovereignty in the health care realm, the issues are the same sovereign arguments for education. Your State Board, by a vote of 5-1, turned over the standards your children will learn to the Department of Education in DC.

The State Board and the Commissioner have allowed as much transparency in voting for these standards as did the Senate and House in adopting the Health Care bill. This was done behind closed doors with not much public notice. I never received any notices from my son's school administration or PTO that common core standards were being considered. I would have thought this would be an issue parents would have an interest in as this concerns their children. Here is a link from the minutes in June 2010:


Note #12 on the agenda...the consideration of the common core standards:

"Missouri has been provided the opportunity to review and respond to confidential early drafts of the reading, writing and mathematics K-12 standards in November, January and February. A public comment period took place in March 2010. An analysis of the final version of the Common Core Standards will be provided to the Board".

Does anyone besides me have the slightest belief the State Board did not care to hear from the parents and/or taxpayers of the students these common core standards impact? Were YOU invited to comment on these common core standards? Are you concerned these standards were not final BEFORE the Board voted on them? After the "transparency" of the Health Care bill and the comment "we have to pass it to find out what's in it", I am not all that trusting of governmental entities. It seems as if the DC way of doing business has arrived full force into Jefferson City.

Now that I am in one place and can research a bit, I looked at the DESE website to find out about the funding for my district, Kirkwood. You can find the site here:


To access your particular school:

  • click on the above site

  • click "school report cards posted"

  • this will take you to your "school statistics" site

  • find your school and click on that name

  • click on "load profile", then under "summary profile"

  • click on "statistical profile of district"

  • Your last click will now be to click on "ProfileII". This will allow you to determine the percentages your school district is funded from local, county, state and federal sources.

I admit, I am a bit stymied by the school profiles DESE has provided. They are classified as 2009 "Report Cards" for the districts, but the last financials listed in these categories are 2006. While I am relaying factual information from 4 years ago, I have sat through many a school board meeting and I do not believe the percentages for Kirkwood District have changed dramatically. That being said, it would be nice for the taxpayer to have access to more current information.

Kirkwood School District receives approximately 2% of its funding from the Federal Government. I've pulled a few other random districts and determined their federal funding percentages: Kearney, 3%; Lebanon, 10%; St. Louis City, 13%; Kansas City, 15%. I realize these percentages, while small, represent millions of dollars to districts. However, these percentages should not give control to the Federal Government to set curriculum. The taxpayers are paying the large majority of the funding for their districts' schools, and now they have NO voice in the curriculum of their children. Is this an example of taxation without representation?

Why did the State Board vote on this matter two months earlier than published? Did the Board not want any public comment from the parents and taxpayers? Did you know the Board is appointed by the governor and these positions are not elected? Did you realize your state sovereignty was handed to Arne Duncan and the Federal Government by persons not held accountable to the taxpayer OR the state legislature for its actions? Did you know these officials voted on many standards not yet formulated?

If the State Board operated as a private business, these board members should be fired for making decisions based on....nothing. They've thrown your kids, your local districts and your tax dollars to "who knows what"? Are you a taxpayer who believes in American exceptionalism? Are you a taxpayer who may not want your kindergartner learning about sexual orientations at age 5? Who knows if this will/will not be part of the curriculum? That's why the State Board should have never signed on to these standards...we don't know "who knows". We don't know who is setting the agenda for our kids. And yet, we have an appointed State Board who is willing to trust..."who"?

Find out more about the common core standards. Click on this link and sign up for updates. As the site tells you after signing up, "thanks for becoming a common core supporter"!


It's only your kids and your money. You have no voice (really, you're just a wallet), but at least you can track what's planned for your child. After all, it is our government and it is here to help us. Gee, don't you feel better?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Education by the Numbers via American Thinker

Here is an interesting article showing the REAL cost of public education. While this article focuses primarily on five large metro areas and DC schools, I think these numbers may follow many of districts here in Missouri. Note the guest comments at the end of the article...some excellent points raised by education watchdogs.


Pay particular attention to the SAT numbers, showing decreases over 38 years. The ACT scores show slight improvement, from 20.6 in 1990 to 21.1 in 2008.

We had "No Child Left Behind" instituted to ensure national standards so test scores would rise and states would operate under the same benchmarks. Money was given and/or withheld based on students' scores. In theory, it sounded reasonable. In actuality, it hasn't worked. We have spent millions of dollars...on what? A theory that has proven to be a fallacy?

Now we are being sold a bill of goods by Arne Duncan and our own State Board of Education. Note the link below with the State Board of Education meeting agenda for August 6 in Jefferson City. The Common Core issue is listed as 19a. The Board will be considering adopting the Common Core standards for Missouri students. The State Board of Education is close to handing over our state sovereign right to set curriculum to the Department of Education.


Did you know the Common Core standards have not been finalized and many of them have not even been written? Were you aware Missouri is being asked to sign on to non-existent standards that may very well be below our current standards? Perhaps it's true what Nancy Pelosi said about the Health Care Bill..."we have to pass it to find out what's in it". The same hold true for this common core standards the Board is requested to sign. I thought Missouri was the "show me" state. What has happened to signing on to concrete proposals? Why are we signing on to uncertainty? This truly is incredible.

So, fellow Missourians, if the Board passes this, get ready for more federal control, more taxes to pay for this control, and let's see if this oversight and increased money helps increase our students' test scores. Based on past factual data, I'd bet this won't help our kids. This mass infusion of control and money hasn't helped in the last 38 years, what's different now?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is your Missouri school listed as an "America's Best High School"?

Here is a link on a Newsweek article listing "America's Best High Schools". You can click on Missouri and discover those schools listed as "America's Best High Schools":


Schools are rated by various measures, which you can access here:

If you have any comments on how these tests were given and how accurate you think they are in determining a "best high school", drop us a comment. You also have an opportunity to comment on the Newsweek site as well.

My local school (Kirkwood High School) is not listed. Is yours?

(ht: a Missouri watchdog)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Common Core Standards "aka" National Standards

In August 2009, Missouri officially signed on to be a part of the Common Core Standards initiative led by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). It now seems inevitable that all states (except Alaska, Texas) will have common standards for English language arts and mathematics. My biggest concern with this action is the unsettling reality that we, the state of Missouri, are giving up our state sovereignty with regards to what we as Missourians feel should be taught in our public schools. Currently, states are free to set their own standards without government infringement on what is to be taught. Once Missouri officially adopts the Common Core Standards as our own, we no longer have a say in what is being taught.

Those in favor of the new standards claim they are “world class” and second to none. I think it is important to not get caught up in how weak or strong the standards are, but rather ask ourselves the question of whether or not this will lead to a set of official National Standards, curriculum, assessments and text books. The Cato Institute recently held a debate about the Common Core Standards. This debate is well worth watching and will explain clearly why National Standards should NOT be adopted by states. According to the Department of Education’s blueprint for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, not only do the reforms mirror that of Race to the Top, but it says that if states wish to continue to receive Title I funds for disadvantaged students, they have to officially adopt the Common Core Standards. This does not sound voluntary to me one bit. In fact, it is time for someone to take the stick away from the schoolyard bully!

This August, the Missouri state school board will vote to officially adopt the Common Core Standards. We need to send a message loud and clear to all of the current state board members especially the Republicans who clearly are not voting in line with Republican/conservative principles of less government involvement in our state education system. All board members are appointed by the governor. Currently, there is an opening for a board member. Information about board members and term dates can be found on Governor Nixon's home page.

WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Contact DESE as well as the state board members today and let them know that we pay the taxes in Missouri to fund our schools and we will not have our voice in education taken away! Now is the time to act!

New Jersey watchdog draws a line in the sand

Here is a video of a New Jersey watchdog. Laura Wellington, blogger and former educator, describes in this clip what's occuring in her daughter's school. The school had the idea to have children perform household chores, the parents would pay them and a portion ($20.00) would be required to be paid to the school. This watchdog has a problem with being told how to run her household and having to bail out a district operating outside of its means.

Welcome to the nanny state.

This watchdog understands the encroachment of government in our lives. Pay attention to your district's fiscal management. It's our money and our kids.
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