"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
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I asked two questions in a previous blog about the State Department's involvement in a joint venture with the Department of Education. We discussed MO DESE promoting quite extensively "International Week" on its website, while making a passing reference (listing only the date) of US Constitution Week and Citizenship Day on the same site.
We are concerned with the emphasis on globalism at the expense of American exceptionalism. We linked to a letter from Hilary Clinton stating how the US and other countries together can resolve to work on poverty and hunger, climate change, public health, and economic revitalization. We questioned when and why the State Department became involved in educational agendas.
David Horowitz may have given us the answer. This is from the William Clinton Foundation website:
The William J. Clinton Foundation (WCF) was established by former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 2001 “to alleviate poverty, improve global health, strengthen economies, and protect the environment.” Claiming to be politically nonpartisan, the foundation administers several major programs, of which the best-known is the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).
The goals sound identical in both Hilary's and Bill's press releases. Many of the sponsors of the Clinton Foundation are those who support cap and trade, and in fact, at this 2007 Summit, Bill Clinton advocated a form of Cap-and-Trade that would raise energy prices while purportedly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some CGI activities, such as this greenhouse-gas initiative, are of a highly political nature. Others, however, are not politicized – particularly those that focus their philanthropy on impoverished peoples in Africa.
Could it be The Clinton Foundation is a mixed bag of intentions? It seems some of the initiatives are not political but many are...look at the list of many of the sponsors and donors listed on the site. It is a Who's Who List of the Progressive Left: George Soros, The Center for American Progress, Al Gore, Ron Pollack. In fact, the Clinton Initiative is funded heavily by the Democracy Alliance:
Clinton Foundation donors Peter Lewis, Bren Simon, and George Soros are also members of the Democracy Alliance, the nonprofit that would create a permanent political infrastructure of nonprofits, think tanks, media outlets, leadership schools, and activist groups—a kind of “vast left-wing conspiracy” to compete with the conservative movement.
We return to our misgivings about the continuing push for international education goals vs constitutional goals. We have a clearer idea of where the agenda is originating and who is behind it. Now we can deduce why the State Department is partnering with the Department of Education.
This is from Foundation Watch in 2008:
Bill Clinton is masterminding his charitable foundation’s fundraising campaign at the same time that he advises his wife’s presidential campaign. Might that create some conflicts of interest? At the very least, linking nonprofit fundraising to political proximity is sure to generate lots of philanthropic clout—but to what end? Bill Clinton promises to disclose the names of donors to the William J. Clinton Foundation when his wife becomes president. How reassuring.
Hilary Clinton did not win her party's nomination but she accepted a national position with power and influence. Is Bill Clinton pushing his progressive left donors' agenda through the Secretary of State's office via the Department of Education? As noted above, Democracy Alliance wants to create a permanent political infrastructure of nonprofits, think tanks, media outlets, leadership schools, and activist groups. That is not reassuring.
International education, IB Curriculum, social justice vs The US Constitution indeed.
Friday, October 8, 2010
We've been posting the last several days about the not so subtle encroachment of international goals and international curriculum in Missouri schools. The Missouri DESE website showcases international goals over the rights guaranteed to US citizens in the Constitution and the IB curriculum is being debated in Ozark, MO. IB curriculum highlights world history over national history in its quest for globalism.
We now will share with you a story from American Thinker on what may very well be taught (or not taught) in your public school.
Nearly half of American history teachers believe it is less important that their students understand the common history, ideas, rights, and responsibilities that tie the country together as Americans than that they learn to celebrate the unique identities and experiences of its different ethnic, religious, and immigrant groups.
Advocates of radical "social-justice" multiculturalism in many university schools of education -- the places where most K-12 teachers are trained -- continue to oppose assimilation with a common culture while instead seeking to radically transform an "oppressive" America.
It's time to understand what's occurring in public school curriculum. American history is quickly becoming irrelevant according to the Department of Education and the State Department (I still don't understand why the State Department is involved in education). While it is now becoming increasingly unimportant for their students to (1) understand such concepts as federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances, and (2) know about the American Founding, the Civil War, and the Cold War, a whopping 76 percent (of teachers) deemed it critical for students "to be tolerant of people and groups who are different from themselves.
If you think about it, though, this is the philosophy of the progressive left. Isn't this how they approach the Constitution itself? Obama and his allies pontificate on how the Constitution is a "living, breathing document". According to Yale University, Supreme Court justices should be appointed if they can exhibit empathy in deciding interpretation of the law. When and why did this become a benchmark by which to nominate a Supreme Court Justice appointee?
The curriculum in terms of globalism and social justice is eroding American exceptionalism. If you have a student in public school today, you might just want to study the Constitution with your child yourself. Isn't it ironic the study and importance of American history has been reduced to this sentence in the last paragraph from the Yale Law School piece mentioned above:
As President Obama searches for Justice Stevens' replacement, he should bear in mind Justice Holmes's prescient observation that the life of the law is experience, not logic.
Substitute the word "history" for the phrase "the law", and you have discovered the stance of this administration, the Department of Education and State Department. The Constitution can be reinterpreted to rely on "experience" instead of "logic" at the Supreme Court level. Why should the study of history be any different? Revisionist history is acceptable in many schools today. This is the trio strangling the sovereign right of states to educate their children. After all, as American Thinker states:
Not surprisingly, only a little more than one-third of the teachers deemed it "absolutely essential" for their students to "know facts" (such as the location of the fifty states) or dates (such as the attack on Pearl Harbor). After all, why let facts get in the way of advocacy?
Thursday, October 7, 2010
I received information about new curriculum being proposed for Missouri schools in the Ozark region. Have you heard about "International Baccalaureate" Curriculum? Here is a concise statement about IB from its website:
Our three programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. There are more than 872,000 IB students at 3,070 schools in 139 countries.
The history link in the website stresses the international education students receive. Hmm. I'm thinking this is the type of education DESE in Missouri is promoting. Currently there are 13 schools in Missouri with IB Curriculum. Why should we be concerned about IB Curriculum?
I received a letter from Ronnie White, Retired Military, who is fighting IB's attempt to enter into the Ozark area. He asked me to share some information with the readers. He is attempting to alert parents and taxpayers in his area about this curriculum and why he feels it is dangerous and circumvents the teaching of US constitutional principles.
Take time to read Mr. White's letter and research into IB philosophy and curriculum. Why would we want curriculum in our schools that promotes world history over national history? What is the agenda? Is "International Week" a precursor of curriculum to come not only in an attempted IB entrance in the Ozarks, but in all Missouri schools?
The information from Mr. White follows:
All Ozark Voters,
Many if not most people just don’t want to hear it. They get a smidgen of information here or there, mostly colored by the liberal mainstream way of spinning nearly every blurb. Those of us blessed to live, work, and raise families in Ozark, Missouri have a hard time diverting attention from our day to day cares and responsibilities long enough to process and digest the overwhelming barrage of information, and would just as soon ignore it.
There may be as few as thirty percent of the population that makes a concerted effort to be accurately informed about issues which will have a direct bearing on recently passed laws, administrative policies, judicial decisions, and their children’s education.
I want to bring to your attention an effort by our school district to initiate a so, called higher-level education program at the high school. The program is known as the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Below is a letter from Lisa McLoughlin, founder of truthaboutib.com that explains what IB is all about. Please take time to read it.
The IB was officially formed in 1968 to serve the children of UN diplomats who traveled around the globe and were in need of a recognizable standard for admission into Universities. According to former IBO Director General George Walker, the intellectual process which would culminate in the IB Diploma Program was begun by Marie-Therese Maurette in 1948 when she wrote a paper for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) called “Ways for Educating for Peace: do they exist?” Maurette had outlined a program and pedagogy (the art of teaching), which included the following elements:
Ÿ Geography should be taught starting not with the student’s country of origin but with the whole world
Ÿ History should not be taught before the age of 12 to avoid it becoming a catalogue of national heroes and patriotic celebrations. When introduced, it must be world history
Ÿ Each week there should be an hour’s lesson of “national culture” taught to classes divided into small national groups, but this will be deliberately subordinated to international geography and history.
Ÿ Promotion of bilinguals
Ÿ Regular debates should encourage students to think about world affairs
Ÿ Students should take part in sports, community service and in the life of the school.
According to Ian Hill, Deputy Director General of IBO, “The primary goal of IBO is the promotion of world citizenship.” Currently, IBO is a signatory to a Peace Education agreement with UNESCO through the year 2010 whereby IBO agrees to integrate the UNESCO educational goals into every aspect of its curriculum: http://www3.unesco.org/iycp/Report/IBO.pdf. IBO and its representatives often publicly deny a relationship with the UN, but it is there in black and white in addition to annual funding of IBO by the UN which can be viewed in any of its annual reports.
Many dismiss the IBO/UN relationship and for the rest of this letter, I shall do the same as I feel there are enough deficiencies in the program’s design to discourage any American general public school from implementing the program without getting into the politics of it. However, the history of the organization should be known and its ongoing attempts to sugar coat its true agenda and philosophy should be kept in mind every time one asks a legitimate question about IB and is unable to get a legitimate answer.
IBO claims a “rigorous” approval process, which takes approximately two years. Actually, there is nothing terribly rigorous about the process except the strain it puts on a district’s budget. There is absolutely no evidence of a school EVER being denied IBO authorization. In fact, IBO has approved several schools in Florida, which had received a grade of ‘F’ from the State. http://www.duvalschools.org/reseval/SchlImpPlans/2008/092_SIP_2007-2008.pdf
According to IBO representative Ralph Cline, the IB Diploma Program was designed to be implemented in magnet schools or to be run as a “school within a school”. (Upper St. Clair, PA Minority Report, 2006). Of the current 714 IB DP schools in the U.S., approximately 10% are private schools and 60% are magnet or charter schools. From U.S. News & World Reports http://www.usnews.com/blogs/college-rankings-blog/index2.html -
In addition, Elizabeth Brock, head of research, development, and communications for IB North America, says:
The IB is committed to providing rigorous, international education to students from around the world. In the United States, the IB has received much support from governments and policymakers, including the U.S. Department of Education and local school districts, to increase student achievement and to turn around low-performing schools.
IB is not for everyone. Only some universities recognize the full diploma program (DP) as a “gold standard”. In the general public schools where the DP has been implemented, the number of actual full diploma candidates hovers in the 5-8% range of graduating seniors. For example, in Locust Valley HS, NY, Class of 2007, there were 160 seniors. Of those, 20 were full DP. Of those, only 14 earned the IB diploma, (4 were earned on appeal). What people need to know about the IB Diploma is that just earning it is no guarantee of scholarships or sophomore status. An IB Diploma can be awarded with a point range of 24-45. Schools like Towson University will award sophomore status to a student who scores 30 or higher and schools like Harvard or Oxford are looking for scores upwards of 38 for admission.
Unlike AP, a school may not simply pick and choose IB courses to offer, it must buy the complete package. A school does not have the choice of not offering the Theory of Knowledge(TOK) course, as it is one of the key components of the Diploma program. A school agrees to make the DP central to its scheduling and to fully support all aspects of the DP. This includes hiring an IB Coordinator, an EE Coordinator and a CAS Coordinator in addition to running TOK; even if you only have four students’ sign up to be full DP.
So what of the students who don’t want to be full DP but want to take one or two IB courses? They can, of course, however there are two levels of IB courses, SL (Standard Level) and HL (Higher Level). The vast majority of colleges and universities in this country do not recognize SL IB courses for college credit, only HL. So what is the difference between the two levels in terms of difficulty? After four years of research, no one has been unable to obtain a definitive explanation from IBO. All IBO will say is SL are supposed to be 150 hours and HL is 240 hours. This begs the question, if such is the case, why don’t universities give IB SL courses credit in the same manner as one-year AP credit?
One of the only reports in existence, which actually compares IB and AP, is the Fordham Report. It should be noted that the Math Professor who participated in the study asked to have his name removed from the report because his results were changed to favor IB. http://www.csun.edu/~vcmth00m/wp2.pdf IB Math and Science are relatively non-controversial, however it is the History of the Americas course which has caused many great concern from day one. In the Fordham Report, they state: “this option is neither detailed nor rich enough to serve as the sole course in U.S. History for American high school students.”
Any general public high school considering implementing IB should take into account the impact it will have on an existing AP program. While IBO representatives will tell schools they can probably run both or combine classes, what traditionally happens is due to the limited number of advanced students in any but the largest of high schools, students are “recommended” for and pushed towards IB by teachers and guidance counselors at the directive of the administration, instead of AP, so that districts can justify the tremendous expense of the program and show better numbers. A subsequent low sign-up for an AP course forces the Board to examine its minimum class size policy and often forces those classes to be cut. IBO even has a document on how to implement IB in an AP school. It should be noted that neither of the schools mentioned in this document presently offers AP.
OTHER IB FACTS:
1. Any student work submitted to IBO for assessment becomes the “absolute property” of IBO.
2. IBO requires submission of medical and psychological reports for students with disabilities for consideration of testing modifications http://search.ibo.org/cs.html?charset=iso-8859-1&url=http%3A//www.ibo.org/ibna/research/documents/Abstract_SpecialEducation_000.pdf&qt=disabilities&col=ibeng&n=8&la=en
3. An IB Certificate is nothing more than a receipt for the exam fee and a reporting of the score earned pass or fail.
4. IB has caused controversy in NY, PA, NJ, TX, CO, VA, UT, NH and MN.
5. IBO’s testing history is certainly not without its flaws: (27,000 in UK take IB History exam given two years earlier) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article1795958.ece.
Although I cannot provide you with a press release, at LVHS last year, our HL Bio students were very disappointed as a major portion of their finals went missing when a truck carrying the exams in Argentina was hijacked and IBO refused to adjust the grades for the missing portion.
6. IBO refuses to disclose the salary of its top executives.
7. Jay Mathews, the author of Newsweek’s Best High Schools List and journalist for the Washington Post, had his book Supertest: How the International Baccalaureate Can Strengthen Our Schools co-authored and published by IBO. (Ian Hill and Blouke Carus). Mathews is therefore financially biased in favor of IB and continues to be this country’s leading (and only?) media promoter of IB.
8. The U.S. News and World Reports’ first Best High Schools List (2007) was unable to include IB schools due to “lack of verifiable data”. This year’s list is due out in October and an effort to include IB schools is being “worked on”. Unlike the Newsweek List, U.S. News includes passing scores on AP exams as part of its methodology.
Ÿ IB causes controversy and divisiveness in communities not fully informed and on board with the “program”
Ÿ Scheduling problems - due to the IB DP’s restrictive construct, students often have to go without lunch or are forced to drop band, chorus, orchestra or other extra-curricular activities
Ÿ Additional layer of bureaucracy, loss of local control
Ÿ Legal questions remain unanswered: IBO requires any litigation to be handled in the courts of Geneva, Switzerland. http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/2006/may06/IBSchools.html
Ÿ TOK forces students to question their faith and family values they were raised with.
Ÿ IB History only covers a 100 year period, requires extensive curriculum rewriting to meet most State standards for graduation requirements.
Ÿ IB creates an elitist atmosphere within the school and often forces the elimination of Honors and AP courses
Ÿ High teacher and administrative turnover - while no cumulative data exists on the issue, at Locust Valley HS, NY, since IB was implemented in 2004, there have been 3 IB Coordinators and the HS is now searching for its 4th HS Principal in 4 years. The original Principal who ushered in IB was promoted to Asst. Supt in January of 2006, and has also resigned as of 7/1/08. All of these administrators in addition to many teachers, who have left the district, were trained in IB and now all new personnel must be trained in their stead. Training averages $1500 per teacher, per 3-day session. Most training takes place during the school year, requiring the hiring of untrained substitutes at additional cost to the district and loss of educational time for the students. LVHS is a general public high school with 650 students.
Ÿ IBO Executive salaries and questionable fundraising and finances: http://www.peytonwolcott.com/International_Baccalaureate_Inc.html
I hope this information is helpful as you consider whether or not to proceed with the implementation of IB. I have been accused of spreading “misinformation” and “propaganda”, yet everything I have relayed to you in this letter is verifiable. I am featured in Jay Mathews’ book Supertest, Chapter 45, and criticized in former IBO Director General George Walker’s 2005 Plenary Speech (as Mrs. Long Island) for my concern of his endorsement of loss of individual and national sovereignty: (pg. 4) http://www.ibo.org/dg/emeritus/speeches/documents/ibna_jul05.pdf. Mr. Walker urges supporters of IB to:
“…recognize that difference, to be able to describe it and to be prepared to defend it. Increasingly, there will be moments in this region when we shall all need to stand up and be counted”.
If Mr. Walker considers me enough of a philosophical threat to “stand up and be counted” against, I hope you will give due consideration to my position and research on IB. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com with any further questions
Lisa McLoughlin is available as an independent consultant to American public school districts considering the implementation of IB. Phase B of the IB authorization process requires districts to hire an IB consultant. Board of Education Trustees, as representatives of the Public Trust, should avail themselves of the opportunity to hear both sides of the IB story before investing taxpayer dollars into this expensive educational program. If interested, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information on fee and availability.
“McLoughlin, in my view, has become the liveliest and most intelligent IB critic in the country.” ~Jay Mathews, The Washington Post, 10/09/07
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
"Constitution Week and Citizenship Day" vs "International Education Week" as presented by Missouri DESE
I was poking around the Missouri DESE website and saw this article celebrating "International Education Week 2010".
International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.
What do these programs entail that the US Department of State and US Department of Education are supporting? This is from a link on Hilary Clinton's remarks explaining the purpose of this week (archived from 2009). I want to focus your attention on one particular paragraph:
International educational exchanges help students and educators around the world to understand one another better. Together, we must respond to the challenges of poverty and hunger, climate change, public health, and economic revitalization.
There was no statement from Secretary Clinton for this year's celebration. As this 2009 letter was linked on the website, I assume these are still the stated challenges for 2010. Let's examine and look for the details one year later on exactly how she envisions American students responding to poverty and hunger, climate change, public health, and economic revitalization in her comments. After looking through the site, I couldn't find any written specifics from her on how these goals are to be accomplished. The theories and goals espoused by this administration are long on rhetoric but lacking in details.
We still come back to the question, though, how are we to respond to these pressing problems? Whose and/or what theory do we teach? Let's access information available to us one year later after Clinton wrote this 2009 letter to determine this administration's intentions on how to present educational content to schoolchildren.
- I am making an educated guess on Clinton's theory on how children should respond to the problem of poverty and hunger. Obama has been clear on his intent to align the United States with the United Nations and its goals in this endeavor. We know how he will integrate this stated goal to school children...
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
- Target 7A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs; reverse loss of environmental resources
- In the climate change debate, Al Gore's movie "Inconvenient Truth" has been shown to not be factual in certain areas. Could it be that the scientific data he was using was tainted by special interest groups? Could it be that global climate cycles are controlled by solar flare activity and while man certainly contributes to environmental problems, man is not the main reason for fluctuations?
- Regarding public health, do we use abortion as a means of birth control and do we subscribe to Ezekiel Emanuel's "complete life cycle"? This theory places the most financial allocations for medical care of those aged 15-40 years. This is from the opening paragraph of Emanuel's document:
We recommend an alternative system—the complete lives system—which prioritises younger people who have not yet lived a complete life, and also incorporates prognosis, save the most lives, lottery, and instrumental value principles.
- I would like to know Secretary Clinton's ideas on economic revitalization and what economic theories American students will learn. Do you believe common core standards in economics will mean students are solely taught the current administration theory of income redistribution?
What we are highlighting here is the danger of not knowing the specifics of how these goals are being presented/taught in the schools. We are not adverse to learning about other cultures and understanding the connections between countries. We are concerned about how this information is presented and what mandates are being handed down by the Federal government. Missouri and 30 other states signed onto common core standards even before they had been presented for review. Perhaps it would be a good idea to call your district and ask your superintendent how these goals are being presented in the classroom during the "International Education Week".
I was curious if DESE had such a wealth of information on its website for "Constitution Week and Citizenship Day" observed every year (by law) in September. I accessed DESE's site for special day and week celebrations and while it is listed, there is no accompanying information what the Constitution is, what is represents, and how it outlines our important liberties. Perhaps this is because this administration believes the Constitution is a "living document" and as it is currently in flux, students shouldn't be concerned about it much. That's just a guess on my part.
I am going to ask a question for which I already know the answer: Does the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in Missouri believe in American exceptionalism or is it acquiescing to the Department of Education's and the US State Department's agenda? However, there are two questions I don't know the answer to...when did the US State Department become involved in education? And why?
Monday, October 4, 2010
Takeover: To get into one's possession by force, skill, or artifice, especially: To seize with authority; consficate
Here is an excerpt from a press release from Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University:
Leaders in higher education are voicing concern over a proposed new rule from the US Department of Education, which would place private colleges and universities under the ultimate control of state governments instead of independent accrediting agencies.
The notice of proposed rulemaking was posted in the Federal Register on June 18 for a public comment period ending August 2. It could take effect as soon as November.
Accreditation, the gateway to academic and financial viability for all colleges and universities, whether tax-supported or not, would be made conditional upon state regulation and authorization for the first time ever.You can access the entire press release here. A fine blog written by T.F. Stern on this issue can be found here. Mr. Stern illustrates how this sends a chilling effect into our religious lives, as well as infringing on our Constitutional rights.
It appears now we have the Federal government once again mandating to the states...in lower education it is curriculum in public schools. Now it seems as if it will now mandate curriculum in private colleges? (I would suggest homeschoolers and K12 private schools watch their backs). I suppose this is the type of change Obama talked about in his election campaign. This change for private colleges is unconstitutional...but so is Race to the Top and common core standards for that matter and that has not deterred the Department of Education.
This is what is at stake:
Former US Senator Bill Armstrong, now president of Colorado Christian University, warned in a July 30 letter to the US Department of Education that this could mean the all-out politicization of American higher education, endangering academic freedom, due process, and First Amendment rights.
“Those harmed the most, if it goes through,” he added, “will be millions of young students seeking a college degree on campuses where intellectual diversity and open inquiry can flourish without government intrusion. This must be stopped.”
We agree. The "Race to the Takeover" isn't stopping when your children graduate from high school. Welcome to Obama's educational power grab. This is confiscation of the right of private colleges to operate with limited governmental intrusion. Is he studying Chavez 101?
Sunday, October 3, 2010
The U.S. Constitution provides no role to the federal government in education – and for good reason. Greater federal expenditures have not proven effective, efficient means of improving American schools. To the contrary, federal involvement has led to a loss of individual control and an increased bureaucracy that stifles innovation and increases burdens on school teachers and administrators.
Bingo! He understands the proper role for the Federal government in education (none) and the disastrous results of the mandates imposed by Washington. Senator Coburn furthers the discussion into a realm we haven't even begun to touch on this site--the issue of pork barrel spending in education.
A press release from his office gives a summary of what he has uncovered. Try to put his report on your reading list for the week. We'll talk about the crisis in education in terms of pork spending discovered by Senator Coburn sometime next week.
The senator is correct:
I encourage my fellow Americans to carefully examine how Congress spends their money and to hold Washington lawmakers accountable. Future generations‘ quality of life depends on it.
(ht to a watchdog for Senator Coburn's press release)