"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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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Warning to Iowa citizens: Beware Advice from Former NC Gov James Hunt

Do you like canned educational speeches? If you do, you'll enjoy Governor Jim Hunt's recent education speech in Des Moines:

Iowa must change its entire education system if it wants to be a world leader in education, former North Carolina Gov. James Hunt Jr. said Monday during the state’s education summit.

That change should include raising classroom standards, investing in early education programs, strengthening the leadership at schools, and increasing community involvement in education, said Hunt, who is also the chairman of the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy.

“The issue for you is how you do make your schools more effective, and I know you can do it,” said Hunt, whose wife graduated from an Iowa school in Jasper County. “There is no state in America today that is focusing on improving its schools like you all are doing here in Iowa.”

Iowa’s main focus in reforming education and restoring its standing as an educational leader needs to be improving teaching. That includes strengthening teacher preparation programs, providing new teachers with good mentors, using targeted professional development and improving teacher evaluations, Hunt said.

Education leaders need to develop a statewide evaluation system that judges teachers based on student achievement and classroom observations, as well as student input. Schools should then use the evaluations in determining teacher pay, he said.

“It’s about really thoroughly changing schools and improving them,” Hunt said. "You can’t have great schools if political leaders are constantly fighting with teachers. Teaching is the most important and toughest job in the world. We need to work with teachers and we need to respect them. We need to help them be their very best.”

Work is also required to bolster early childhood education in the state, Hunt said. Most brain development happens by age 3, and states need to ensure that there is a focus on providing those children the best educational opportunities possible.

Specifically, they need to focus on improving parenting skills, providing high quality caregivers and addressing health issues, he said.

He urged participants at the summit to make Iowa a leader in early childhood education.

“It is the best money you will spend,” Hunt said.

Finally, Iowa needs to work with other states to develop tests that will measure whether students are learning what’s expected of them. Iowa was one of 44 states to adopt a set of common core standards and is in the process of infusing them with the Iowa Core Curriculum. States have yet to determine a way to measure student learning, Hunt said.

“The people of Iowa need to devise the change, support it and work together to make it happen,” Hunt said.

Readers of this blog understand this is progressive drivel. Education now needs to provide child care and healthcare. But wait! You, too, can be part of the plan. The last sentence reads: “The people of Iowa need to devise the change, support it and work together to make it happen,” Hunt said.

Really? With all due respect, Governor Hunt is spinning the issue. How can the people of Iowa devise the change? The state boards of education and/or legislators have adopted the common core standards, not the people. Many of these educational initiatives he implores Iowans to institute are to be mandated by federal grants and RTTT like goals. These changes were never voted on by citizens. No, a better statement would be, "the people of Iowa have to accept the change we voted in, support it even though they've had no voice in this change and pay for the billions it will cost." (Does this remind you of the Health Care bill?)

Here's a little background on Governor Hunt:

  • His Hunt Institute received $3,868,000 from the Gates Foundation to "generate PR noise" in support of the Common Core State Standards Initiative:


  • One of the Board of Directors on The Hunt Institute was a director at the Open Society Institute:


  • He supports progressive educational mandates espoused by this present administration and Arne Duncan:


Are you hopeful more constitutional laws in education (such as states should be driving education and local communities should have more say in programming) will occur with an administration change? If so, you might not want to vote for Tim Pawlenty and it may have been a blessing Mitch Daniels didn't run:


What is the moral of this story? Look beyond the talking points and get the facts. Ask the tough questions and point out the fallacies of the canned speeches...how can Iowans "devise the change" when it's already been decreed? And start exposing this type of statement from these progressives (both Democrat AND Republican):

“It is the best money you will spend,” Hunt said.

They are telling us how OUR money will be spent for OUR children. And don't worry, it's for the best. It's because it's for the children and really, they know how best to spend your money for your child.

Are we living in a representative democracy these days or a totalitarian democracy?

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