"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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Monday, September 26, 2011

Classroom Diaries: Tales from the Classroom, First Entry!

We are pleased to have a guest columnist who will be posting periodically about Classroom Diaries: tales from the classroom. Here is our first installment.

If you have "tales from the classroom", chronicling how increasing federal control impacts your teaching, drop us a line and we'll be more than happy to publish your experiences with the increasingly centralized public education system. You may remain anonymous but we would like to know how these mandates are working out in reality for teachers and students.

Here is our first entry on what's happening in Missouri:

For those of you who absolutely love what President Obama has done for the economy and healthcare, you’ll be happy to know that the same expertise is being applied in education. You will be pleased to know that in addition to adopting the Common Core National Standards in Education, receiving millions of federal tax dollars, and basically giving away Missouri sovereignty in education, our own Director of Education Chris Nicastro was personally invited to the White House by President Obama himself to discuss education reform . What could possibly go wrong? As a result of this important meeting, the state of Missouri will consider a NCLB waiver. It appears that states can apply for a waiver from compliance of the federal NCLB law, but there is a catch. Did anyone really think Arne Duncan and President Obama would just hand out waivers for nothing? States will be granted waivers if and only if they adopt the college and career readiness standards and use certain evaluation tools for teachers and principals in underperforming schools.

With the economy as bad as it is, school districts across the state are busy trying to find money just to stay above water. How are they going to begin to find the funding that will be required to comply and align their curriculum to the new standards and evaluation systems? Where will the money come from to provide professional development to teachers who are on the receiving end of yet another Obama boondoggle mess! I know I will sleep better at night knowing that our education commissioner is cozy with the white House. Again, what could possibly go wrong?

For now, I will go to work and close my classroom door and try not to imagine the out of control train speeding down the tracks towards derailment. I will continue to teach the students in my class, doing the best I can to meet their needs while all the time wondering what the future holds for them.

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