"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, August 11, 2011

Common Core Standards, ALEC, Jeb Bush and the "Frozen People" (American Taxpayers and Citizens)

At the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in New Orleans this past week, Jeb Bush's "progressive conservative" organization squashed effective discussion between legislators who wanted to discuss slowing down/stopping implementation of common core standards. Neal McCluskey writes:

In this space, we’ve been telling you about a few efforts in state legislatures to complicate adoption or implementation of common standards … A move that had the potential to involve many states unfolded last week in New Orleans, but was stopped in its tracks. And none other than former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush, revered by many conservatives, was involved in stopping it.

The Education Week report links to a letter that Mr. Bush sent to a subcommittee of the American Legislative Exchange Council that was slated to simply take up discussion of model legislation opposing national standards. Mr. Bush urged members to table the proposal. In other words, he urged them to not even talk about it, because apparently even considering that the Common Core might have dangerous downsides should be avoided, even among people who believe in individualism and liberty. (emphasis added)

McCluskey posted a follow-up article ("School Snatchers Invasion Confirmed!") about what happened in the meeting:

Yesterday, I blogged about a letter from Jeb Bush reportedly causing a subcommittee of the American Legislative Exchange Council to table model legislation opposing national standards. Subsequent to my writing that, a follow-up Education Week post reported that debate wasn’t, in fact, quashed by Bush’s letter. Unfortunately, it appears consideration was postponed for another reason: Most state legislators have no idea what’s going on with national standards:

“Legislators have heard of it, but not a whole lot of states engage legislators in discussion of the common core,” said [John Locke Foundation education analyst Terry] Stoops, who describes himself as a common-core opponent. “Some wanted to know more about it, because state education agencies or state boards of education didn’t give them much information, if any, on the common core.”

If this is accurate, it confirms exactly what I’ve been saying for months: Despite being told that the national standards drive is “state-led,” the people’s representatives have been frozen out of it. Worse, it suggests that national-standardizers’ strategy of sneaking standards in is working. (emphasis added)

After I reposted McCluskey's article, a reader asked me what could we do in our state to get rid of these common core standards? Based on McCluskey's report, here is what needs to be done. The legislators need to be educated on what these standards entail, how they have been left out of the process by their state education boards, and the enormous amount of debt this will cost their state:

  • Determine which legislators are members of ALEC and contact them with your concerns.
  • Provide them with information on common core standards from this non-partisan (and non-corporate sponsored) website: www.truthinamericaneducation.com
  • Ask the ALEC legislators why he/she would support such progressive and centralized mandates as common core standards. They do not allow local control and are being pushed through via federal funding enticements and are the plans of Arne Duncan and the Obama administration.
  • Ask the ALEC legislators why Jeb Bush is supporting the Obama administration's vision for education?
  • Ask the ALEC legislators why Jeb Bush doesn't want a debate on the standards?
  • Ask the ALEC legislators how common core standards are constitutional?
  • Ask the ALEC legislators how common core standards involve parents, taxpayers and communities?
  • And perhaps most importantly: ask the ALEC legislators how these educational mandates are different from the Obamacare mandates? Both create centralized control and power and diminish state and individual rights.
In in fact ALEC is dedicated to Jeffersonian principles, Common Core standards are antithetical to those principles and the members of this organization should call for action to dismantle adoption and implementation in December. And perhaps members such as Jeb Bush and the education reform organizations should be schooled in the Constitution they hold up as a guide.

Aren't you weary of being frozen out of the process of educating your children, paying your taxes, and having no voice? It's time to expose progressive conservatives for what they are: elitists who have no interest in a representative republic.

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