"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, October 29, 2010

The American People are Filing for Divorce

We don't think too highly of choice architects on this site. They are divorced from the real people and issues of the day. They think they are doing what is best for those who can't make decisions for their own lives, but what they have actually brought about is noted in American Thinker:

The ungrateful masses look at what Obama hath wrought and see a federal government taking over their lives, debt biblically extending to "
our children's children," and a ruling class that lives large while taxpayers now spend a quarter of their lives working to pay for its excesses.

O'Rourke sees an Obama States of America as Detroit-writ-large, with the president extending the life previously reserved by Democrats for their core constituencies to the average American. The humorist says the president is creating a nation of "vile schools, lawless slums, economic stagnation, and social immobility." Thomas Lifson described this as "progressive feudalism," condemning the average American to a grim subsistence with "more and more of our lives ... regulated by government bureaucrats setting rules and regulations and licensing people."

I tend to agree with PJ O'Rourke and his description of vile schools. What makes a school vile? A school that has no control over its own curriculum and being able to innovate. Stagnation. "More and more of our lives are regulated by government bureaucrats setting rules and regulations". That's what Race to the top and the rush to adopt common core standards is really all about. Centralization of power and loss of individualized education.

Stuart Schwartz explains the five truths this administration has helped everyday Americans discover. Pay particular attention to the fifth truth:

Speaking of education: the rot is deep. It will take decades to turn this around. If the U.S. Department of Education were to vanish tomorrow, the immediate effect would be a major hit to the profits of trendy Beltway bars. But the education establishment would remain, the same one putting our money behind programs to train students for "global citizenship" rather than reading, writing, and math. And the same one that has come to Washington to create the programs which two-thirds of the country say have put us on the "wrong track," according to Rasmussen.

It would seem if two-thirds of the country believes these programs have put us "on the wrong track", and it is time to get rid of the choice architects and start listening to the people who are paying for the education of its youngest citizens. Think about that. Two-thirds of the country believe we are on the wrong track. We know in education the rot is deep. It's time to take back the curriculum from this elite group and protect the future for our children.

We can start by voting on November 2...vote for candidates who reject choice architects and understand Schwartz' fourth truth:

The founders were smart. Educators tell us our colonial founders were a bunch of privileged white guys who oppressed natives, savaged the earth, and then parked their yachts in Rhode Island. Think 56 John Kerrrys in drag, all white wigs and ruffled sleeves and tights. But we have now rediscovered that the U.S. Constitution is the best guarantee we have for freedom and prosperity and, combined with the Declaration of Independence, a vital blueprint for individual and corporate success. Send legislators to Washington who "think the Constitution is wrong" -- as one Democrat opined -- and liberty and prosperity suffer.

Let's Make a Deal. Let's launch a Divorce American Style from Choice Architects and politicians who don't uphold the Constitution. Then maybe, just maybe, we can start getting rid of the rot in our educational system.

Should This Message be on Your School's Answering Machine?

Bad education in our schools is not always due to choice architects, or the teachers' unions, bad administrators, or the Department of Education. Sometimes it is the parents who sabotage their children.

This video has been out for awhile, but it's good sometimes to take an overview of the educational problems in the public school system and understand there are many actors in this play. It has been proven to be a hoax, but actually, there is alot of truth in this clever video.

Enjoy the Aussie humor.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Assassination of Children and Critical Thinking as Presented by Choice Architects

I'm fascinated in a horrified way about the choice architects who are running our educational system. As we've noted in previous blogs, it's not only in education, but also in health care, the financial world, and in climate theories. I'm wondering how much the politicians are running the show vs the special interest groups.

Here's an interesting blog on choice architecture that focuses on how this affects children and advertising. Expand the author's contention and relate it to the choice architecture set forth in Missouri (and other states) in terms of education; in fact he talks about this in terms of education in his opening paragraph:

There are people in the world whose sole mission is to consciously engineer, direct and influence every decision our kids make, from the time they get up each morning, to whom they associate with, to what they manipulate us to buy for them, to what college they go to, or if they go to college at all.
These “missionaries” operate as society’s “Choice Architects.”

I like the term he uses..."missionaries". The definition of missionary is:

"someone who attempts to convert others to a particular doctrine or program"

This describes these choice architects to a tee. Mark Brady writes how they get people to start believing what they want them to believe, even though those same people can see the fallacy of what the choice architects are pushing. We know increased federal funding doesn't work for increased test scores, we can see the results over the last forty years. So why would we buy the idea of Race to the Top and common core standards as the answer to our educational woes? Chris Nicastro, Missouri Educational commissioner believes we need to be nudged because we can't make correct decisions ourselves. But I would like to ask Ms. Nicastro: who has directed the increased spending with no increased test scores? That would be the Federal government, NOT the people who are so allegedly misdirected.

Choice Architects are attempting to transform our culture. They will show us why we are wrong and why they are morally and ethically superior to our individual beliefs. Brady states fear is a potent factor in choice architecture:

Choice Architects know that one of the greatest threats we fear is social ostracism, to which we are especially vulnerable as teenagers.

Education in the K-12 grades is the perfect time to advance an agenda. Remember this video from the group 10:10? (Disclaimer: graphic content). Is this not a shining example of choice architects using fear to further their agenda? Take a different position and you are exterminated. This English reporter likened it to Eco Facism.

The video is a clear example of choice architecture and what we are facing in the re-shaping (aka "transformation") of our public education system. We are to go along with the choice architects or face extermination. We are told we are incapable of fixing our own problems and this forced "belief" results in governors and Boards of Education handing over our local and state control to the centralized government to fix it for us. Rather than focusing on mandates and teacher redistribution and more standardized testing and the loss of individualism and the republic, I would suggest the goal of the Department of Education should be the following:

...we need to teach our children that the decisions and choices we are tempted to make in response to fear in our lives, really needs to be respected – respected in the sense of the original meaning of the word: to look once again. Kids need to learn to trust in fear as a signal calling them to pay closer attention, and that it’s probably best to delay fear-based decisions and get other people’s perspectives to help us manage our own limbic system and beat the Choice Architects at their own game.

I think in common sense language "to look once again" and "delay fear-based decisions and get other people's perspectives to help us" is called critical thinking. This is what students need to be taught and this is exactly what choice architects themselves fear. If our students are taught to think for themselves instead of being nudged, the choice architects will find themselves ostracized and ridiculed. But don't be fooled, they don't go away. Now that Al Gore has been proven wrong in many "facts" of his research, "global warming" has now been renamed to" global climate disruption":

The White House wants the public to start using the term “global climate disruption” in place of “global warming” — fearing the latter term oversimplifies the problem and makes it sound less dangerous than it really is.

White House science adviser John Holdren urged people to start using the phrase during a speech last week in Oslo, echoing a plea he made three years earlier. Holdren said global warming is a “dangerous misnomer” for a problem far more complicated than a rise in temperature.

Is the fear factor at work? Are you seeing a pattern?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"It's all for the Children"...or is it?

This is an abstract by Damon Hargraves ("A Deep Look at the Forces Behind Common Core Standards") explaining who is benefiting from the implementation of Common Core standards. It is not the kids gaining anything useful as much as the adults.

Read his posting here and watch the video. This is just a small example of the companies involved who stand to made enormous profits from our children and taxpayers. When you hear and read, "it's all for the children", dig a little deeper and you might find some interesting information such as Damon discovered.

Notice the first sentence in his abstract. He puts the issue in perspective in that one sentence:

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a non-governmental movement that aims to unify state standards across the nation for elementary and secondary schools.

The Initiative is a non-governmental movement....is this another example of "choice architects" now running our educational system? Who really is in charge of education in the United States?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gaze into the Crystal Ball: A Glimpse into the Future as Envisioned by Choice Architects

Following up on yesterday's post, I thought you would like to learn more information on "Nudge". I believe this theory has replaced the idea of what makes a republic a republic. Here's an online definition of "republic":

A republic is a form of government in which the citizens choose their leaders and the people (or at least a part of its people) have an impact on its government. The word "republic" is derived from the Latin phrase res publica, which can be translated as "a public affair".

As we are highlighting in these posts, the educational decisions for public education are being made mainly by organizations, leaders and czars who are not elected. These decisions have the same theme: people are to be "nudged" by "choice architects" because we (the citizens) are misguided and need to be correctly guided to make better decisions. The people (at least when it concerns education) are not considered when decisions are made for their children in public school.

We see it in the curriculum in our schools set by the State Department and EPA. We are seeing standards set not by our local or state school boards, but by a group of states based on mandates set forth by the Federal government. We are being nudged toward an accepted way of attitudes and behavior. Michelle Obama petitioned Congress to enact her program through legislation to the schools:

It’s important to be clear,” she said, “that we can’t do any of this unless we pass the Child Nutrition legislation that’s before Congress right now.”

Under the act, food sold in schools would have to meet new nutrition guidelines, but schools would get an increased amount of federal reimbursement money for meals. It would also expand the number of poorer students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals.

While this may be a noble cause, should the federal government be granting monies to school if they adhere to certain legislation? This reminds me of Race to the Top grants. If states do what the Federal government mandates, they get money. If they don't agree to give up educational control, or at least adopt Common Core standards, money for certain programs (such as Title 1 money) will be withheld. Both of these scenarios sound like serious pushback to me, not nudge-like in the least.

If you are interested in learning more about "Nudge" you can visit the Nudge blogsite. Here is an interesting piece on nudging and obesity in Japan:

Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.

Violators are given nutritional guidance and “further education” if they are still overweight after six months of dieting. The law has prompted companies to adopt nudges.

Welcome to the world of "Nudge" that is driving educational policies in the United States as well as measuring citizens' Body Mass Index (BMI) in Japan. It's already here, by the way, measuring your child's BMI and blood pressure is included in RTTT mandates. Could that "further education" in Japan be considered "re-education" in the United States? Apparently the British have been re-educated since 2008 of the dangers of potatoes:

A spokesman for Devon County council said: "The new guidelines came into place for secondary schools this month and all schools are required to abide by them."

The United States has banned potatoes from WIC purchases and are now proposing potatoes be banned from school lunches:

Talk of banning spuds may sound impossible in Idaho, but the federal government is proposing to do just that when it comes to school lunches. The USDA is expected to release changes to the federal school lunch program by the end of the year.

I guess with the push for "International Education Week" we should welcome the nudges we receive, right? After all, we're one big happy global family. We are expected to share the same menus and watch our waistlines. The government and other organizations will make certain that happens. It's the transformation of the culture. Be sure to thank your choice architects.

It's ironic, isn't it? If you think about it, the founders revolted against England for many reasons and transformation is mentioned in the reasons for the Revolution. As you read this explanation of the founders' discontent, think of the underlying cause for the transformation they were seeking. Was it to control the populace or to allow them true freedom of choice?

The American Revolution was the result of a series of social, political, and intellectual transformations in early American society and government, collectively referred to as the American Enlightenment. Americans rejected the oligarchies common in aristocratic Europe at the time, championing instead the development of republicanism based on the Enlightenment understanding of liberalism. Among the significant results of the revolution was the creation of a representative government responsible to the will of the people.

Where is the will of the people in "Nudge"? It's non-existent. The mandates set forth in education or health or food choices represent the oligarchy of "choice architects". When did our government become responsible to an oligarchy vs to the will of the people?

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