"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

Search This Blog

Friday, May 27, 2011

What Does Your Legislator Believe About Education?

It's difficult to explain to people what's happening in American education. It's multi-layered and it's imperative to take the time to research what has happened in American public education since the Department of Education was established. The most telling bit of information about the DOE may just be that in four decades, educational spending has increased 190% and the test scores have flatlined. The investment on taxpayer money is just a bit underwhelming and the taxpayer might want to start questioning why the Federal Government is driving education when it clearly is not providing results from its "leadership". (And the fact that it is clearly unconstitutional).

The transformation from local control to state control to federal control is just about complete. This transformation has occurred in many instances without a single vote in state legislatures. How can this happen?

Missouri has a blueprint for education, Educated Citizenry 2020 that took two years to craft and is the plan for educational services and mandates in the state. We've written how they mirror the goals of Race to the Top...the ideas have just been renamed since the senators and representatives hate RTTT. However, not much noise was made this year in Jefferson City about Educated Citizenry. In fact, one senator has stated EC2020 is just "gathering dust on the shelf".

That seemed strange to us. Missouri taxpayers paid for a plan that took 2 years to finish and it's gathering dust on the shelf? Maybe that is not an accurate statement. Even though the goals of this plan were not passed in this legislative session, it's interesting that some of the goals (many were in Race to the Top requirements) will be realized through federal grants and mandates, appointed officials and court decisions:
Republican politicians on the state and national levels appeal to conservatives when they proclaim they are for less spending and local control. I'm not the only one who raises an eyebrow and wonder what these politicians are selling voters when their actions do not hold true with their words. Read what Neal McCluskey of Cato says about this recent announcement of RTTT money for pre-kindergarten in his piece 'Race to the Cradle':

The first part of this is irksome in large part because many congressional GOP members — the people who are supposed to be reining in unconstitutional, out-of-control federal adventuring — voted for the continuing resolution containing this expansion of the simultaneously worthless but dictatorial Race to the Top. The potential rewards for winning states are much smaller than the first go-round — $10 million to $50 million, versus $20 million to $700 million — so the bribery might be less powerful. But it is unconstitutional, politically charged bribery nonetheless, and it most certainly did not need to happen. No one, as far as I know, was clamoring for it, except maybe for a few people in the Obama administration.

Change the scenario to the state level and you can understand what's happening in the Missouri educational system: "It is unconstitutional, politically charged bribery nonetheless, and it most certainly did not need to happen. No one, as far as I know, was clamoring for it, except maybe for a few people in the Obama administration."

Until the politicians can explain why they are:
  • allowing the common core standards to be implemented,
  • accepting Federal grants that circumvent the legislative process,
  • sign onto plans such as Educated Citizenry 2020 that mirror Race to the Top goals
  • refuse to implement state laws protecting student and family privacy to circumvent the invasive Personally Identifiable Information to be gathered by the DOE;
....I'll have to agree with McCluskey when he writes:

That this new RTTT exists — and made it through a GOP-majority House – sure isn’t a good sign for things to come, either in education or beyond.

If a national or state politician states that he/she is for less spending and local control, he/she needs to prove it to the voters. The talk won't cut it anymore. We have your record, voting history and list of action and/or inaction. So, in the run-up to the 2012 election, those voters interested in education and the current landscape we find ourselves in would like for you to ponder these concerns voters may have in the next few months:

  • If you are addicted to Federal money, tell us.
  • If you believe centralized education is preferable, tell us.
  • If you are unable to stand up to a State School Board that gives up control of state educational standards and pursues RTTT money, tell us.
  • If you want universal pre-school and want children to be mandated to start school in pre-school, tell us.
  • If you believe invasive personal information on students and families should be shared with various agencies and private organizations for their purposes and you believe this will help in the educational process of the child, tell us.
  • If you are not willing to address the power of the legislature to stop the implementation of common core standards and the expansion of the longitudinal data system, tell us.
  • If you think charter schools operating under the same mandates as public schools is real reform, tell us.
  • If you think mandating spending more and more money that we don't have will improve education, tell us.
  • If you believe the expansion of No Child Left Behind will truly reform education, tell us.
  • If you believe the Federal Government should be mandating how educational services are delivered and agree that local districts should have little to no voice in educating of Missouri children, tell us.
You are our elected officials and we deserve to know what you believe about education. Stop telling us you believe in the Constitution...and start proving it. If you believe the above, then tell us how you believe these are constitutional.


  1. Speaking of tax-payer subsidized work that is setting on a shelf...
    The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) completed some great work with their Curriculum Alignment Initiative
    This was a result of Senate Bill 389 (see p9 line62) here: http://www.senate.mo.gov/07info/pdf-bill/tat/SB389.pdf
    University and community college faculty were very instrumental in creating the Entry Level Competencies. The Department of Education was supposed to communicate those to public high schools. It was never done.

    The math was much better that CCS, MDHEs CAI was actually an honest account of what is needed for success on entering college. CCS's claim to college prepareness is a smoke screen.

    See Professor Milgram's Testimony in TX:

    1. The Core Mathematics Standards are written to reflect very low expectations. More exactly, the explicitly stated objective is to prepare students not to have to take remedial mathematics courses at a typical community college. They do not even cover all the topics that are required for admission to any of the state universities around the country, except possibly those in Arizona, since the minimal expectations at these schools are three years of mathematics including at least two years of algebra and one of geometry.

  2. Ask a question in Florida and the answers are the same:
    1) I don't know.
    2) It's expensive.
    3) Will fix it later.
    4) Change is hard.
    5) You don't like the status quo.
    6) There's a crisis.

    I don't think our representatives can tell us because they are not any more informed on the details than we are. The policy is driven by a select group of powerful forces at many levels.

  3. Sandra,

    Do you have this one in your state? We have it in Missouri:

    "You don't know how to talk to legislators."


Keep it clean and constructive. We reserve the right to delete comments that are profane, off topic, or spam.

Site Meter