"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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Saturday, April 16, 2011

*Deja Vu! It's More Closed Invitational Meetings Regarding Education Reform in Missouri!

Senator Claire McCaskill will be hosting several Education Roundtable Discussions across the state in order to obtain input and a clearer perspective from educators, administrators and parents with regard to our nation’s education policy. Due for reauthorization, The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, sometimes referred to as No Child Left Behind, will be a hot topic in Congress later this year. These Roundtable discussions are not open to the public, and it is the intention of Senator McCaskill for members of local PTA’s to make up the audience. (emphasis added)

From the "News and Events" Section of the online MOPTA newsletter: PTA has long been an advocate of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. PTA’s public policy regarding this issue can be viewed on the NPTA website at http://www.pta.org/public_policy_agenda.asp .

The newsletter states MOPTA is pleased the Senator is taking the time to listen to parent’s concern with regard to education. I guess it just doesn't want ALL parent concern to be heard since these roundtable discussions are not open to the public.

If you are not a member of the MOPTA, here is their platform for your review:

2011 Legislative Priorities

Missouri PTA Supports…

  • Legislation that protects and calls for local control of schools.
  • A constitutional amendment permitting passage of school bonds by majority vote and raising the ceiling of indebtedness to 20%.
  • Legislation that protects a third party, such as when a parent or legal guardian reports abuse or suspected child abuse at a school or school event, from civil liability when the third party is acting in good faith.
  • Legislation to increase funding for programs and services aimed at the prevention of child abuse, neglect and maltreatment.
  • Opposition to tax credits or tax deductions for tuition paid by a parent or sponsors for nonpublic elementary and secondary school children.
  • Enforcement of legislation requiring school districts to have policies that promote increased parent involvement in their children's education.
  • legislation that will maintain or generate local and state funding for public education.
  • State funding for renovation and construction of essential school facilities.
  • Legislation strengthening laws to limit and restrict projects that reduce funding to public education through tax increment financing, urban redevelopment corporations and enterprise zones.
  • Legislation and other efforts to cause class size reduction in Missouri schools.
  • Legislation supporting mandatory statewide recycling and additional laws for the promotion of programs to provide incentives for individuals to make a greater effort to stop pollution and conserve natural resources.
We know a big topic of discussion will be for the reauthorization of ESEA; but as the above is the legislative platform of MOPTA, some of these items may be discussed as well.

If you have differing ideas on YOUR goals in education, I suggest you contact McCaskill's office and advise her of your opinions. If I were there, I 'd ask:

  • How can parent involvement increase in schools when standards and assessments and possibly even curriculum is being written by a non-governmental consortia? Calls for local control are fine and dandy, but until our state legislature repeals the decision of the State Board of Education, ALL local control is ceded to the Smarter Balance Consortium.
  • Why should the debt ceiling be raised? Studies have shown that increased spending has not increased test scores.
  • Why shouldn't tax dollars be allowed to be applied to tax credits for education? It's the taxpayer's money, not the federal government's. If you truly want parental control, you would support taxpayers spending money as THEY see fit for their student.
  • Promoting increased parental involvement is fine but in what manner do you want their involvement? They have no say in setting curriculum or policies; do you want them mandated to show up for conferences and help out in wrapping paper sales?
  • Will mandating recycling make Missouri students "globally competitive"? Is that what our cutting edge in education reform looks like in Missouri?
The St. Louis Business Journal has mentioned closed "invitational "educational meetings between elected officials and lobbyists. Just like the private invitational "Waiting for Superman" screening in Jefferson City for legislators, I'm sure the reason the public was not invited to the MOPTA roundtable discussions was based on space limitations. Since there is no room for regular citizens at these educational discussions, send your thoughts to the Senator. I'm sure she'd love to hear from individual citizens just as much as she will enjoy hearing from this lobbying group.

*The reference to Deja Vu may be found here.


  1. Speaking of deja vu... There's some information posted here that may help you as you dig into Missouri's education woes:


    The math competencies that MDHE's Curriculum Alignment Initiative developed are very good!

    Unfortunately, they will never see the light of day here in Missouri, where the K-12 Curriculum Center has been promoting incredibly BAD math programs for years!!

    (through NSF funding)

    I'm sure the big wigs at DESE where quite pleased that Governor and the State Board of Education signed-on to the weak Common Core Standards... their secrets will stay hidden with these mediocre standards.

  2. Concerned:

    Would love to chat with you more about the math. Would you please email me privately? Thanks.


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