"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, August 19, 2010

The Department of Education needs to take classes in civility and protocol

Arne Duncan is teaming up with Al Sharpton to counter protest Glenn Beck's shindig on August 28:


When the Daily Caller attempted to talk with Arne Duncan about this partisan stance, his department hung up on the reporter. Tsk, tsk. Not very respectful and certainly not a good role model for our schoolchildren.

This is a dynamic duo: Sharpton, who orchestrated the Tawana Brawley case, the "evidence" was shown to be false and revealed Sharpton to be a liar...reminiscent of the Duke rape case...and Duncan, who has lulled states to sign away their educational sovereignty for money which requires states to plunge further into debt for unknown standards...this is reminiscent of the wizard in the Wizard of Oz; everyone thinks he is very smart, but in reality, he is shown to be thoroughly incompetent.

Shouldn't Arne Duncan be focused on what will help our students succeed in school instead of protesting a private citizen exercising his free speech?

How is this helping the education of children nationwide?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Job Opening: Interventionist for Government Liars, Wasteful Spenders, and Hoarders

I'm going to call A&E cable television to suggest a segment for its "Intervention" series. If you are not aware of these program, it deals with stories of people who are addicts to various substances. The interventionist tells the truth to the person about his/her addiction, and most of them ultimately agree to be whisked away for intensive treatment.

I suggest we contact the producers and report the Legislative and Executive branches of government for passing a $26 Billion Educational bill. Congress and the President should be reported for addictive spending and lying. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama tell us again and again...it's a crisis, it's an emergency...if we don't do anything, it would be terrible, awful, Armageddon. OK, maybe not Armageddon, but that's the gist of the shtick we've heard for the last 18 months as it relates to health care, energy, banking, GM, etc.

Imagine watching the "government intervention" segment: the first half hour of the show will concern the shenanigans and lies from the Federal Government. The second half hour will focus on state education departments for wasteful spending and hoarding the money so it can be used in next year's budget.

What's going to happen to the money given to the states to rehire teachers? It's probably not going to rehire teachers. Many of these states already have budgeted their expenses for the coming year, so this funding is a bit late to help them.

Could it be the state would like to hold on to this money to help it make it's educational budget next year? Wouldn't Jay Nixon look like Superman if he doesn't have to make more education cuts next year? This money isn't helping the Lindbergh School District which had to fire 35 teachers to make budget this year:


Read it carefully. No one really knows where the money will be directed. The superintendents don't know, the commissioner doesn't know, the state budget director doesn't know. We think it will be parceled out via formula funding, meaning the Title 1 schools will receive the majority of the funds, and a school like Lindbergh is, well, out of luck. As Lindbergh's superintendent said, "It's not fun to be on the wrong end of irony". The district who had to cut the most teachers in the state will not get any money for which it is allegedly intended.

As the article stated, the NEA called the legislation "a victory for Missouri students, parents and public schools". I could not disagree more. I believe the main problem of this legislation has been described accurately by Michael Podgursky, an economist with the University of Missouri who studies education data. An interesting tidbit he shares: schools nationwide have added to payrolls in rates that have far exceeded enrollment growth". With all due respect to the NEA, our tax money should not be funding teachers who are not needed...this is not a victory, this is financial malfeasance.

If you operated your personal finances like these entities, you would be in jail...or your family would call in an interventionist to restore you to sanity. Anyone out there looking for a job? Perhaps some of the $190 Million being sent to Missouri could be used for an interventionist to change behavior of these out of control governmental agencies.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pete Seeger's "Little Boxes" (Ticky, tacky) describes Missouri education system

Who would have ever thought a 1960's protest song would so eloquently describe the sad fact of Missouri public education? First, read this letter on the common core standards and the edict that teachers will no longer control his/her own test protocols.


We've now lost control not only of the curriculum, but also the testing. Think about the ramifications of that fact. Your State Board of Education and local school district have become irrelevant. We are controlled by the Department of Education in Washington, DC.

Now let's get to the second part of this posting. Here is a video of Pete Seeger (written by Malvina Reynolds) singing "Little Boxes":


It's a song about conformity and the perils therein. We seem to have made quite a circle, however, about just whose conformity we're facing today vs. 1964.

Setting: early 1960's. Suburbs were being built, houses looked much the same. I would guess Reynolds was protesting against the social conformity of the time and uses the newly emerging suburban sprawl to make her point:

"Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes
Little boxes all the same"

Setting: 2010. Common core standards and federal controls of state education systems (which is unconstitutional) are implemented in Missouri. I believe we are being forced to accept educational conformity dictated by the federal government. Reynolds not only refers to physical conformity, but "thought conformity" as well:

"And the people in the houses all went to the university
Where they all were put in boxes, little boxes all the same".

There you have it. Our children have been put in little boxes, to learn all the same things, to be tested in the same way, and no individuality or critical thinking is permitted. Except the song is wrong. The people in the houses don't have to go to the university to be put in a little box; it now starts in kindergarten.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

See Jane run. Run Jane run. Far away from today's teaching methods.

Look Sally look.
Here is a post from a teacher in the trenches:

This is a story I am hearing over and over again from today's teachers in the public school systems. Read the comments from the readers. It paints a bleak picture of current students and school systems.

I leave you with these questions: Do any of you seriously think students will achieve better results with more federal mandates and new theories? Why are we paying for failing schools? Do we work for the government or does the government work for us...and our children?

How the Missouri State School Board Spent their Summer Vacation

While fellow Missourians were taking family vacations to Florida or simply enjoying a weekend or two at the lake, our state board of education members were busy lending a hand to the federal government by paving the way for a federal takeover of our Missouri schools. That’s right, by a vote of 5-1, state board members voted to formally adopt the new common core standards in math and English language arts. This is just the beginning of a national takeover of our schools. Keep in mind, with national standards come national tests to make sure states are following the standards. And as any good educator knows, in order to prepare for those new national tests districts will need resources such as textbooks, and “model” curriculum as the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is currently writing in order to be of assistance to school districts that can’t align their curriculum fast enough. I’m sure the federal government will provide the state with a list of “recommended” textbooks to use if they want to, in order to help us out. While Missourians were busy defending ourselves against unconstitutional health care mandates or worrying about oil spills, the federal government was quietly pushing states to voluntarily adopt these new standards.
Unless we as citizens of this great state stand up and say no more, the federal government will continue to push their mandates and reforms on us with the help of our governor and appointed state school board members. I urge each and every one of you to let state school board members know what you think of how they spent their summer vacation. After all, it’s your dime!

Who's Looking Out for Our State Sovereignty?

Not Governor Nixon! In July he vetoed legislation that would allow Missouri legislators to hold federal funds from the Race to the Top grant program until they had a chance to decide whether or not the “strings” attached were in line with our goals for education in Missouri. Apparently, he has no problem with selling out our state sovereignty and giving up local control of our schools while creating an education system that will require endless amounts of bailouts in the future just to sustain itself. At some point, the federal bailout fund will dry up and Missouri taxpayers will again be stuck footing the bill for more government controlled education in our local schools. It’s time we tell Governor Nixon and the Missouri Board of Education to cut those “strings” to the federal government! Once again, it’s is our children and our money!
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