"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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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why Aren't Public School Parents and Taxpayers Descending on State Capitols Protesting the More Restrictive and Expensive Education Regulations?

From the online version of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, hundreds of homeschoolers and their parents descended on Springfield Tuesday to protest the state's pending legislation in homeschooling:

The bill would make home-school kids register with the state Board of Education. Currently there are no regulations.

The sponsor, Sen. Ed Maloney, D-Chicago, originally presented the bill as merely a way for the state to know how many kids there are who are homeschooled, as they are currently completely off the radar.

This explanation didn't sit well with many homeschooling parents:

In the crowd was Larry Wright of Harvard, Ill., who said his reasons for homeschooling his kids were both religious and philosophocal. "I want to raise them the way I think they should go," he said. "I'm responsible for my kids, not the state."

He said he understands the bill would require just registration, not restrictions, but that it's still "intrusive and unnecessary.''

"They're trying to fix something that's not broken," he said.

There are reports that Maloney has pulled the legislation (SB 136), though it's still currently in the system. In any case, the expectation around here is that lawmakers will quickly drop this thing once they get a look at all these angry moms, and get back to not balancing the budget.

Apparently that is what happened as subject matter testimony was heard meaning no vote would be taken.

Let's look at what's occurring in the public educational realm and the reaction of parents to the new controls the federal government is instituting on the schools. More money is needed for more regulations resulting in less state and local control. At this point, the state and local levels of education control (DESE and local districts) are largely impotent as standards and assessments are driven by consortiums funded by the federal government.

There has even been speculation and some evidence the federal government is designing curriculum models and framework for the consortium which possibly could be used for state and local curricula. Federally written curricula is currently illegal, but hey, why not? The federal government dangled money in front of the states' noses to get them to sign onto common core standards and give up their sovereign right to educate their children, so what's the problem with the federal government dabbling in curriculum development?

Local districts at this time can set enrollment requirements for their residents, but may not be able to much longer once open enrollment becomes the law. Ineffective teachers and administrators may be assigned to your school to ensure the fair and equal redistribution of teachers, so even staffing issues will be taken out of your local school board's jurisdiction.

When the longitudinal data system becomes operable, questions and information needed by the consortium will be asked of your child that won't seem to have anything do with educational issues. Instead, they may have more to do with profiling your child to steer him/her toward suitable employment based on his/her emotional make up and intellectual accomplishments. Your child's data will be shared with the Departments of Health and Human Services, and Labor and Education. Your child will be tracked from birth to age 20 and into the workforce.

Why are there no parents and taxpayers descending on every state capitol demanding an end to the wasteful and unfunded spending, bureaucracy, invasion of privacy and a direct slap in the face of state sovereignty in the adoption of common core standards? Why are public school parents and taxpayers allowing their children, grandchildren and the youngest members of society to become the current cash cows for the alleged privatization czars of education?

If educational reform consisted of true privatization of education as we wrote about yesterday, this would be a glorious moment for parents and taxpayers. Authentic competition would exist. But when you just place children in a different school with the same standards and assessments as traditional public school and stick a label on it promoting "school choice", it is a direct insult to taxpayers and students. This is no choice. This is a shell game.

Real choice requires different options. These current "choice" options don't change the educational foundation of what children are learning, they just change the teachers, administrators and physical surroundings.

The homeschooling parents may be the most radical group in America right now. They are saying "NO" to the government and its notion of educational delivery. Good for them. They understand what's at stake here: FREEDOM TO EDUCATE THEIR CHILDREN IN THE MANNER THEY AS PARENTS DEEM VALID.

What is it going to take for the parents and taxpayers to stand up to Bill Gates and Arne Duncan and all the other players who are shoving illegitimate choices down the our throats and say "NO" as well? Do we need to suffer through another four decades of increasing(180%) federal spending on education with no improvement in test scores to finally understand the federal government doesn't/can't deliver its educational promises? Why are taxpayers and parents so willing to give up the educational freedom for children and hand it over to unknown players in a consortium that view children as "human capital"?

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