"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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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vision For Missouri Public Schools Report - Just More of the Same

The News Leader reported today about the Vision for Missouri Public Schools project, which has just released their report that outlines a comprehensive plan for Missouri public education. From their website:

"The Missouri Association of School Administrators and the Missouri School Boards’ Association are undertaking a joint effort to develop a “Vision for Missouri Public Education.” This joint effort will involve school board members and school administrators across the state in developing a comprehensive vision for Missouri’s public schools.

MSBA and MASA represent those charged with legal responsibility for governance and executive leadership of Missouri public schools. The two groups each have developed positions for which we advocate each year, but the groups have not developed a comprehensive vision for public education. The shortfall of state and federal dollars has legislators and state leaders looking to our organizations for leadership and the financial support for public education likely will get worse before it gets better. In the absence of any vision and/or plan, proposals such as vouchers, open enrollment, tuition tax credits, etc. will be seen as alternatives."

They claim to be doing this because there is a lack of such clear vision for the future of education and therefore the attainment and distribution of funding for education is at risk. The News Leader reported their plan was to develop "a proactive platform and make districts less vulnerable to contrary proposals that come up in the General Assembly."

We at the Watchdog do not believe there isn't a clear direction for public education, and from the looks of their report, The Missouri Vision Project didn't believe it either.  Read through their report and see if you don't see dozens of familiar terms, phrases and goals that have come from DOE, Bill Gates and others. From the preamble on their report:

“In order to perpetuate democracy for its citizenry and build a competitive workforce, the State of Missouri will engage every child in a rigorous, world class learning system to make each student career- and college-ready."  This could have been lifted directly from the UNESCO document. 

"The system will consist of effective teachers, school administrators, and boards of education who establish high expectations for students with the objective of developing a mastery of literacy and numeracy." Reading and math are currently the only subjects assessed by the Common Core Cooperatives.

"Common core standards, rooted in a culture of innovation and continuous improvement and technology, will be the foundation for learning." Common Core and a focus on STEM courses.  Nothing new here.

With parent support, every child will enter kindergarten ready to learn." This will be achieved first by optional early learner programs and eventually by compulsory preschool, just as compulsory education in general was introduced in this country. Note that parents only play a supporting role in this vision.

"Students will be accountable for their learning and demonstrate mastery of the curriculum as they progress through the learning system." And assessments will be modified until they do this.  Note that we no longer have an education system, but rather a learning system.

"Acting on behalf of the citizenry, school boards and local, state, and federal governments will be accountable for supporting every child’s learning.”  At least they recognize where their mandate comes from.

The Committees, which look at seven different areas, tell a similar story.
  • Teaching, Learning, And Assessment Committee
  • Early Learning And Student Success Committee
  • Climate, Culture, And Organizational Efficacy Committee
  • Human And Organizational Capital Committee
  • Governance, Leadership, And Accountability Committee
  • Physical Resources Committee
  • Financial Resources Committee
I can't help but also note that Lois Weiner, a professor of education at New Jersey City University, who spoke to Democracy Now, lamented that the current education reform movement was attempting to deprofessionalize the teaching profession. The Missouri Vision falls right in line with that critique as they continue to refer to teachers and staffers as "capital."

MSBA, MASA and DESE (who had an advisory role in the plans development) are going to try to make us all feel like local control is being fought for and held with this document. Knowing that it came from local education specialists makes statements like, "Missouri students must experience schools capable of equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and character traits required for their future," so much more comforting.

1 comment:

  1. Most folks may not be aware that MSBA and MASA are LOBBYING groups in Missouri.

    When did lobbying groups begin writing education plans for Missouri students?



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