"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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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Brainwashing Youth via Education is More Effective than Bombs. Is that why Bill Ayers went into Education?

What ARE your children learning in public school (and perhaps some private schools) about OWS? Are they talking about the sentiment behind the photo above from a Zucotti Park protestor?  Are they learning this is a movement that can be summed up: "Everything for Everybody and Everything for Free"?

Are they learning about the violence that occurred in several cities including rape, stabbings, overdoses, and theft?  Not if your student has access to Scholastic material about the OWS movement.  From Hotair:

A Michelle Malkin reader was understandably concerned when his child brought home the December edition of Scholastic News, one of many offerings from the venerable publishing company. The issue tackled the Occupy Wall Street movement — with notable finesse. Read the article and you’d come away with the impression that the 99 percent are a pretty peaceable plugged-in bunch.

It’s not necessarily that what the author of the article wrote was wrong so much as it was incomplete. Nowhere, for example, does the article mention the rampant misbehavior of the Occupiers, even though the tally of the various incidents of violence and vandalism has reached 417. The closest to a mention was the final paragraph of the article: “All Americans have the right to speak out. But as these protests continue, mayors in some cities are worried about the strain on their cities’ resources. For example, extra police officers and cleanup crews are needed to make sure the gatherings remain peaceful and orderly.”

HillBuzz weighed in on this portrayal about the one-sided reporting on OWS and followed up on a suggestion of Malkin's:

Malkin has asked readers to call Scholastic and complain about this Leftist indoctrination in the classroom (since Scholastic has chosen to heap praise on the Occupoopers, while repeatedly showing scorn for Tea Party Americans):  the email and number she gave for Scholastic is: bookclubs@scholastic.com or toll-free at 1-800-SCHOLASTIC (800-724-6527). They are available Monday – Friday: 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Central Time, and on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m

However, I called Scholastic and went through their Customer Service and found a better way to voice complaint about this indoctrination in Scholastic News.

What you really need to do is to ask to speak to a Customer Service Supervisor and have that person write an internal “Editorial” to Scholastic management in their customer complaint computer system.

I spoke with Supervisor Nicole Whittington on the phone, who was very courteous and professional to deal with — her direct line is 417-455-8421.  She has the ability to create an “Editorial” in the Scholastic system that would register your complaint about this matter.

It's time to call Scholastic and state your viewpoint.  It's indoctrination not to report on the facts of a situation.  That's one action you can take.  Hotair readers have other actions available to you and your children:

I love to use incidents like this to show my daughter and her friends how bad journalism and reporting has gotten.

When they ask me about these issues and refer to reading material like this…it is easy to take them to several different news sites to show them what is being left out of the reports.

My daughter had several friends over recently and OWS was brought up.

I took them to Hot Air….Verum Serum…Instapundit….Big Government…and showed them videos of the violence,racism,and attacks against the police.

The looks of astonishment and comments of “we’re being lied to” coming from young kids (democrat and Republican) concerning the MSM show just how badly the media is hurting itself with their bias.

Not only did the kids get a better understanding of the issue….they see just how pathetic and agenda driven news reporting has become.

I don’t make the mistake of pushing my conservative views on them…I merely tell them to research for themselves today’s issues because the MSM will leave you woefully uninformed.


This isn’t an example of the primary reason we homeschool but avoiding this type of propaganda is a great benefit. My decision to homeschool was made easier when my son became insistent, almost to the point of tears, to pray for the Earth after a day of preschool that included curriculum about “caring” for the Earth.

The lessons learned from the Scholastic dustup?  Don't leave it up to the schools to educate your children with the facts.  Parents must review what information their children are being presented...and how.   Otherwise, your child might just might be holding up a sign similar to the OWS protestor demanding entitlements the country can't possibly afford.

(Thanks to a Hotair reader for the title!)


Friday, December 9, 2011

Your Preschool Human Capital, DESE and the Early Learning Challenge Grant

"It's all for the children.  It's all for the children."  Repeat that mantra 500 times and you too, will become a DESE-like mindless and bureaucratic zombie when it comes to setting and making educational decisions for Missouri pre-school human capital.  DESE wants more money from the Federal Government so the Federal Government can institute more control, mandates, and create more debt for the state and local districts.

Does this make sense to you? An unelected state agency is plunging the citizenry under more governmental control and taxpayers into unfunded debt for programs that will employ more bureaucrats.  So what's the new "flavor of the day" in the educational puzzle?

It's named the "Early Learning Challenge Grant" and DESE has applied to receive a $60 Million grant to:

place “more young children who are in programs outside of the home (in) high-quality programs — especially those children from families with low incomes, and also children with other risk factors.”

What does this grant mandate Missouri to do?  Here's the application of "assurance and certifications."  It is clear there is an expansion of early childhood programs involving multiple state agencies.   I cannot locate monetary figures how much these programs will ultimately cost the state and local districts.  Is this $60 Million grant akin to the $250 Million grant DESE applied for from RTTT?  That "loan" would have only partially covered the $400 Million it was projected to have cost according to Chris Nicastro.

Here's an article about how this Early Challenge Grant will impact preschoolers, er, human capital:

The latest Race to the Top competition from the U.S. Department of Education also supports the idea that college- and career-readiness has to start even before a child enters kindergarten. It's offering $500 million for states with plans to improve early-learning programs. Thirty-five states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have submitted applications. Most of those states or territories have adopted the common core, which means their early-years plans must reflect the new standards' expectations.

Edward Miller, a senior researcher at the Alliance for Childhood, an advocacy group based in New York, said, "We feel that the early-education [K-3] standards—particularly the kindergarten standards, but also the early elementary grade standards—in the common core are a disaster, and are going to greatly worsen what is already a crisis situation in early-childhood education."

"I'm not opposed to the idea of standards," Mr. Miller said. "We know a lot about what children need in order to be successful. But it has very little to do with very narrowly defined bits of knowledge. . . . If you expect every 5-year-old to be able to read and drill them on reading skills, the ones who don't get it are defined by the schools and by themselves as failures." (emphasis added)

Little preschoolers are not just expected to play and color inside the lines:

"What never served early childhood well was when we were seen as a separate entity," said Shari Ostrow Scher, an early-childhood specialist in Frederick, Md., who has been in the field for 20 years. "You can't have really meaningful early-childhood education and not have it tied to the entire flow of curriculum and what children learn." 

It's educational utopia!  Your child will find a place in the governmental system by the time he/she is 3 years old and receive structured learning and assessments to become prepared to be productive human capital in the workforce.  You won't have to pay for it because it's "free".  But as we all know, if we care to realistically face the facts, this control and massive governmental expansion of education is not "free".  It's not "free" in terms of actual expense and districts setting policies.

A reader sent me this comment about this expansion into preschool and its consequences for the children, parents and taxpayers.  But don't despair after you read it, remember the mantra, "It's all for the children, it's all for the children".  Maybe then you can become as giddy and excited as DESE when it applies for grants that cripple states and taxpayers even more.  It also is saddling the same children the government purports to serve with "high quality" programs with debt they didn't incur on their own:

I don't anybody is thinking beyond next week these days and have no 
doubt the crowd for a subsidized preschool would be three times as great
as the full day K one.  

Been thinking lately how the smartest thing the pro-government movement
has done is to make these universal entitlements like social security, 
medicare, and public schools.  People think if they pay a few
thousand dollars in taxes a year they are entitled to retire at 65
(50 if you are public employee)and have all of your health care
needs taken care of.  And people think a few thousand dollars
a year entitles them to 10K+ education for  their children.  

I don't see either constituency giving in.  Even though many people 
these days could work until 70 something is no problem,
raising the retirement age is not 
going to be done by our spineless politicians.  And on the other side,
as we have seen, no entitlement is too good for our public 
school children (turf fields, indoor swimming pool, subsidized daycare,
If things don't fall apart soon, we are heading for massive 
generational warfare between baby boomers 
and gen x and y when these two unsustainable spending trends collide.
People have their heads in the sand.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

DESE NCLB Waiver Application Needs Input By January 5th

Yesterday I wrote about the cost of the NCLB waiver. It could be argued that, since Missouri has already signed on to the Common Core Standards back in June of 2010, we would ultimately incur those costs anyway.  That may be, but DESE should still be held accountable for determining exactly what those costs are and getting approval from the legislature before authorizing any work on meeting the CCS requirements.

In the waiver itself are several areas of concern, some having to do with cost (like the creation of three new job positions [for underperforming schools] under DESE of Project Manager, Instructional Improvement Coordinator and Instructional Improvement Staff) and others having to do with process.

According to the terms of the waiver, "Qualifying for a waiver would commit the state to using standardized test scores or equivalent data as part of the evaluations for teachers and principals."

Teachers AND administrators in this state should pay special attention to this commitment. It comes from the Race To The Top program which Missouri has successfully ducked in the last year. We (the State School Board) spent almost $600,000 developing the grant application, and getting all 557 school superintendents to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that they would abide by the promises in the, at the time, incomplete application. Even though we didn't win a grant award, the school districts are being held to the terms of that MOU.  That means that we in Missouri will be facing the same problem that caused 658 principals from around the state of New York to sign a letter of protest against their waiver requirements.

According to the New York Times, principals like Bernard Kaplan of Great Neck North High School on Long Island, who runs one of the highest achieving schools in the state, and has been performing teacher evaluations for decades will be required, under the terms of the waiver, to attend ten training sessions. The sames goes for Carol Burris, the principal of South Side High School, who was named the 2010 Educator of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State.

  • “It’s education by humiliation,” Mr. Kaplan said. “I’ve never seen teachers and principals so degraded.”
  •  Katie Zahedi, principal of Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook in Dutchess County. said the training session she attended was “two days of total nonsense." “I have a Ph.D., I’m in a school every day, and some consultant is supposed to be teaching me to do evaluations,” she said. “It takes your breath away it’s so awful...

Their complaints are many: the evaluation system was put together in slapdash fashion, with no pilot program; there are test scores to evaluate only fourth-through-eighth-grade English and math teachers; and New York tests are so unreliable that they had to be rescaled radically last year, with proficiency rates in math and English dropping 25 percentage points overnight."
In DESE's application, the steps Missouri would take to address failing schools are based on four fundamental principles.

1. Students cannot wait for incremental improvement in their educational conditions.
Given the trends of low performing districts and the lack of district systems to sufficiently respond, targeted and rapid intervention is necessary for improved and sustainable student learning so that all students graduate adequately prepared for college and careers.

For students who, at any point in time, are out of alignment with grade level expectations, the school will be required to take immediate action. This (and principle #3) gives DESE the right to step into your district offices and schools very rapidly.

2. The process of targeting intervention requires a systematic evaluative focus on implementation and dedicated project management and instructional improvement support. Existing district capacity is insufficient to implement and monitor dramatic transformation of district instructional  improvement given current resources and processes. The Department must be an active participant in districts to change instructional practice, curriculum, formative assessments, and develop and utilize collaborative instructional teams to accelerate implementation of district and building improvement plans.

This is a preemptive vote of no-confidence on the part of DESE towards existing district staff. The people in new positions mentioned above will be the ones to come in and direct you on how you are to fix your school.

3.  Monitoring progress in districts must be based on outcomes.   Monitoring district implementation of agreed upon intervention components is necessary to ensure that progress is underway. The Department must work with and in the district to make appropriate adjustments

4. Collaboration among stakeholders is essential for sustainable improved  student learning.  The district must ensure that school leaders, teaches, parents and community partners are actively engaged in the implementation of the district a (sic) building improvement plan(s).

DESE does not give any enforcement mechanism for the school to use to make sure all the named stakeholders are active participants in this improvement, but they do require the district to somehow force (ensure) that everyone named is "actively engaged."  This should send a chill down the backs of parents.

The last thing I wanted to point out to our readers who are primarily parents (as opposed to teaching staff) is the chart on the waiver page 30 that shows everything a teacher is expected to do as part of his/her professional commitment.  Two things come to mind when looking at this. One is, if you have a teacher who seems unable to respond to your individual concerns about your child or who seems on the verge of burn out, keep in mind that many of these requirements are already in place and teachers are dealing with all of them, in addition to formulating lesson plans and grading papers.  The second observation is more general. When looking at most of these boxes and what the teacher is doing I am struck by how most of them used to be the job of the parent, especially numbers 1, 2, 6, 9, and 8. Yet this is now the Teacher's job description.  Parents have been relegated to support personnel or stakeholder.

Don't forget the deadline for comments to DESE is January 5th, 2012.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NCLB Waiver - The Most Costly Relief Ever

Good news!  The MO State Board of Education is working on an application for an NCLB waiver.  Finally! We will have relief from the onerous requirements of that ill-conceived legislation and everything will be all right.

It would be fine, except for the fact that the MO legislature is looking at a $500 million deficit next year and other states who have applied for the waiver have estimated the costs to the state for compliance with the terms of the waiver at several hundred million or more.

California recently declined to apply for an NCLB waiver.  In an interview with Ed Week, Diane Ravitch explained,

One of the many problems with NCLB is that it came packaged with unrealistic, expensive and heavy-handed federal mandates. It put too much emphasis on testing and punishment for failure to reach impossible goals. The waivers now offered by the US Department of Education require the states to comply with other mandates, still tied to the NCLB-style accountability framework. The emphasis on testing under the waiver plan is as heavy-handed as it has been under NCLB. Many schools with high numbers of low-scoring students will be subject to firings and closings. They need help, not punishment. One of the lessons of NCLB is that the federal government does not know how to improve schools.

These costs include implementation of Common Core through: teacher training, textbooks materials and adopting English learner standards; fixing the low-performing schools, principal training and evaluations for all teachers. 

An projection of the costs for implementation of just the k-8 math curriculum and the data collection system provided by Laurie H. Rogers author of "Betrayed: How the Education Establishment Has Betrayed America and What You Can Do about it"http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com put the cost at $2 million for the curriculum (support materials, teacher training, assessments) and $4 million for the data system. That's $6 million per district. Assuming some economies of scale for the data system implementation, the cost for Missouri's 557 districts is several billion dollars which DESE would be signing the state up for with no congressional budget approval. It is an understatement to say this is cause for concern.

California estimated their cost of compliance at between $2 and $2.7 billion. That almost begins to look reasonable.  Still, they have decided to roll the dice on NCLB since its requirements are on their way out, and not apply for a waiver. If many other states follow their lead, which is expected, the Dept of Ed's only enforcement tool, withholding federal dollars, may go away as well.  History has shown that when school districts decide they can get along without federal funding and all the strings attached, the Dept of Ed suddenly becomes much more willing to compromise.

DESE has called for comments on the waiver application by January 5th.  Go To Missouri's NCLB Waiver Page for details on the waiver and where to send comments.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Symbiotic Relationship of Bill Gates, Arne Duncan and Pearson...and the Takeover of American Education

Arne Duncan has embraced Bill Gates' vision of education.  Bill Gates has had a hand in crafting the common core standards and has provided grant money to advance the implementation in schools around the country.  It doesn't apparently matter to Arne Duncan these standards are unproven, untested and unconstitutional.  It also apparently doesn't matter that Mr. Gates' previous dalliances into the education arena proved unsuccessful.

Bill Gates has his vision and billions of dollars to start the wheels turning for common core and the data that accompanies the assessments critical to the common core plan.  If he can get this implemented, his companies will make even more billions of dollars once the system is operational.  He faces some hurdles such as changes in the law regarding student privacy, but Secretary Duncan is doing his best to relax privacy information the Department of Education can share with outside agencies and private companies.

If Bill Gates has the vision and the money for his educational plans, and the Department of Education is acquiescing its unconstitutional authority to set educational mandates for the states, then who or what is developing the standards and assessments to be used in the Common Core standards?  One company's name keeps popping up and there is a direct involvement with Bill Gates: Pearson.

What is Pearson?  From its website:

Pearson is the global leader in integrated education and technology publishing, offering educational products for children, schools, universities, adults, and corporations. To purchase any of these products online, please visit one of our e-commerce sites below.

Like Bill Gates , Pearson operates a business (Pearson Textbooks) and a foundation (Pearson Foundation).  With the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pearson Foundation has had  significant input into crafting the Common Core standards for public educated students.  From May 2011:

Two education foundations said Wednesday they are working to develop 24 new online reading and math courses that will be aligned with the common core national standards. The courses will be developed by the Pearson Foundation — associated with the major textbook company — and will include video, social media, games and other digital materials. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide $3 million for four of the courses to be offered free to schools. The initiative appears to be the most ambitious effort so far to align textbooks — online or otherwise — with the new standards and may position Pearson as a leader in the market.  (emphasis added)

That last sentence says it all and folks who have been following this trail of Gates and Pearson taking over education have been joking that buying Pearson stock would be a wise bet and make you quite wealthy.  The Gates and Pearson Foundations "donate" courses to schools, hook them into using them since they are aligned with the new assessments, and then the schools will have to pay for them in the future.  It's similar to unfunded mandates set forth by the Department of Education.  The states and schools have to pay for the mandates from the Department of Education crafted by Bill Gates and Pearson.  

Pearson won't make money just in the Common Core standards in the United States.  The mantra in the Department of Education is "globally competitive, globally competitive, globally competitive".  All of the current (and recent past) educational jargon is wrapped up in global terms.  Think outside our borders.  Pearson  certainly thinks globally:

BEIJING, Dec 5, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Global Education & Technology Group Ltd. GEDU -0.28% ("Global Education" or the "Company"), the largest test preparation provider for the International English Language Testing System ("IELTS") and a leading provider of educational courses and related services in China, today announced that it has issued a definitive proxy statement in connection with the Company's merger agreement with Pearson plc ("Pearson"). Such proxy materials will be mailed to all shareholders and holders of American Depositary Shares ("ADSs") representing the Company's ordinary shares. 

Global Education and Pearson entered into a definitive merger agreement on November 19 under which Pearson would acquire Global Education for $2.7515 per ordinary share (or $11.006 per ADS, each representing four ordinary shares) in cash.

If the merger is completed, the Company will continue its operations as a privately held company and will be beneficially owned by Pearson, and as the result of the merger, the ADSs will no longer be listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. 

Pearson is driving assessments in the United States and now China. Pearson is based in Britain and also provides testing in other countries:

Our regional operations in Germany, Spain, France, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and Poland have developed dynamic local language programmes and are market leaders in their own right.  

Pearson Plc, the owner of the Financial Times newspaper, said it agreed to buy education- technology company Schoolnet for $230 million in cash.

Schoolnet, which uses data to boost learning at schools, is based in New York and serves more than 5 million students from pre-kindergarten age through to 12th grade in the U.S., Pearson said today. Through partnerships with districts and states, Schoolnet covers a third of the country’s largest cities.

Pearson, which also owns the book publisher Penguin, received about 80 percent of its earnings from education in 2010 and has been expanding through so-called bolt-on acquisitions with proceeds from last year’s sale of Interactive Data Corp. in the U.S. for $3.4 billion. Pearson, based in London, has made nine acquisitions or offers for education companies in the past 12 months in countries including the U.K., India, South Africa and the U.S.

We'll be writing more in the future about Pearson's national and international grab of educational power.  Think about Gates and Pearson and their takeover of America's educational system.  Why do we even need the Department of Education?  It seems to be a puppet organization for Gates and Pearson to make even a larger fortune with no competition.  The symbiotic relationship between Gates, Pearson and the Department of Education headed by Duncan will allegedly turnaround the Department's wretched track record and vault American student scores and make students internationally competitive.  What is a symbiotic relationship?

A symbiotic relationship is a relationship between two entities which is mutually beneficial for the participants of the relationship. Thus there is a positive-sum gain from cooperation. This is a term commonly used in biology to explain the relationship between two entities that need each other to survive and prosper.

The Department of Education provides the legal symbiotic structure for Gates and Pearson.  Private corporations are developing (and the Department of Education is mandating) educational programs taxpayers are required to support.  It's nifty for Gates and Pearson, an easy job for Federal bureaucrats providing government job security and a complete travesty for taxpayers.  You are paying into a system in which you have no voice.  These companies are not elected and not answerable to any constituents except their stockholders.

You are paying into a system of crony capitalism based on unproven assessments and results that will make private corporations billions of dollars with taxpayer money.  And remember, it's all for the children.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bill Gates' Gift to ALEC: "376,635 Reasons to Circumvent the Constitution"?

We might as well refer to the Department of Education as the Department of Bill Gates.  He has spent an enormous amount of money on the initiatives benefiting Microsoft and pre-determined vendors.  We'll spell it out again how Gates is becoming the czar of education (it's really quite creative):

  • He is taking over the public education realm by his foundation providing Common Core Standards (they are all "free"-think philanthropy) to states if they will agree to use its blueprint.
  • If the states agree to do so (under financial pressures from the Federal Government), the Gates Foundation can control what and how students learn. 
  • He's done this by crafting the standards under which students will learn. 
  • The states have been ruled impotent in exercising their sovereign right to educate their citizens in the manner deemed appropriate by the state by this takeover of education.
That's it in a nutshell.  He gives money to the government and schools to further his agenda and he reaps the benefits of the business that agenda creates.   The common core is an integral part of that agenda.  If the common core standards are not implemented, the whole plan falls apart.

I was interested when I read The American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) education task force just last week called for the demise of the standards:

A package of model legislation opposing the common standards gained ground yesterday at the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The organization's education task force approved the package, we learned from a couple of folks who attended those sessions of ALEC's meeting this week in Scottsdale, Ariz.

This is listed on ALEC's website and describes its mission:

… to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty, through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public.
… to promote these principles by developing policies that ensure the powers of government are derived from, and assigned to, first the People, then the States, and finally, the Federal Government.

If ALEC takes its mission seriously, then this model legislation is long overdue and should have been introduced when the talk of common core and a national curriculum was introduced by Bill Gates, the NGA, the CCSSO and the Department of Education.

This is good news, right?   W**A**I**T.

On the heels of this announcement, did Mr. Gates say to ALEC...."not so fast"?  Bill Gates is not only buying the Department of Education, it seems he is attempting to buy out ALEC as well.  A grant was given to ALEC by Gates for educational reform in November 2011.  From the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website:

American Legislative Exchange Council
Date: November 2011
Purpose: to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement
Amount: $376,635
Term: 1 year and 10 months
Topic: Advocacy & Public Policy
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Web site: http://www.alec.org

Now to be fair, this $376,635 grant is not for common core standards.  This $376,635 grant it is to assist in  enacting the ADDITIONAL Race to the Top mandates. He is employing the same methods used in setting Federal Education Policy: he is giving money to an organization to establish his agenda.

Do you think this is a subtle or not so subtle message to the ALEC Board by the Gates Foundation to support the Gates vision of education...even though the common core standards are not constitutional?   Will the ALEC Board fulfill its mission or will it be bought out like the Department of Education? The Department of Education turned over a government website to the Gates Foundation to monitor.  From the Washington Post:

The decision to turn over TEACH to Partners in Learning serves to expand the already outsized influence Gates and his fortune have on public education.

The topic of Gates and education reform has been explored before on this blog, including earlier this month in this piece, and here. The latter piece, by Economic Policy Institute research associate Richard Rothstein, explains how Gates misinterprets facts about education in his expensive to mold education reform down the path he supports — even when there is no evidence to back up his actions.  Gates has also spent many millions of dollars in public relations efforts to persuade the public to support his efforts.

Gates is spearheading the implementation of common core standards, teacher hiring and teacher evaluations.  State legislators can stop the implementation of standards and unfunded mandates.  Will the ALEC Board support this model legislation?  Or will it fold like Arne Duncan, take the money....and pretend it promotes Jeffersonian principles?

Gates is intent on a complete takeover of the educational delivery and content while utilizing taxpayer money.  From our previous article "The Outrage of the (Bill and Melinda) Gates Foundation is Misdirected":

In the interview Mr. Gates clearly states that his goal is "to leverage private money" in a way that "redirects" how tax dollars are spent inside public education. Mr. Gates is using his personal philanthropy to direct government policy, to channel taxpayers' funds to pay for the national curriculum he personally wants. (emphasis added)

Question to the ALEC Board: is the possible sell out of the Constitution via implementation of common core standards worth $376,635?


Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Sunday Education Weekly Reader 12.04.11

We usually highlight a few stories on Sunday but today we wanted to focus on one important video clip from parentalrights.org.  It is entitled "Overruled" and this 36 minute movie is worth your time and should question how parental rights are being recognized (or not) in your school district.

The second story in the video specifically has to do with an educational issue.   Who has the ultimate right in deciding what a child should learn...or not?  The parent or the state?  As you will see in the video, Dr. Parker's son was 5 years old at the time a book was sent home in his backback the parents found objectionable.


The book, included in the "Diversity Book Bag", Who's in a Family, was listed on the school's website:

"Shows the various combinations of individuals that can make up a family, emphasizing the positive aspects of different family structures, including grand-parent headed, single-parent, adopted, gay-headed, and mother-father families. Uses examples from the animal kingdom to illustrate how family groupings can differ."
In the author's own words:

"The whole purpose of the book was to get the subject [of same-sex parent households] out into the minds and the awareness of children before they are old enough to have been convinced that there's another way of looking at life.
. . . It would be really nice if children were not subjected to the -- I don't want to use the word 'bigotry,' but that's what I want to say anyway -- of their parents and older people.
. . .The book was written because my neice and her partner [two lesbians] decided to have a family."

Author Robert Skutch, National Public Radio interview, "Here and Now", May 3, 2005
According to the parents, they objected to the introduction of this theme to a 5 year old child as they believed it was their parental right to be able to be notified when such curriculum was introduced to their child and have the right to opt their child out if the parents deemed it as objectionable.

Dr. Parker writes about the video:

The 9th Circuit in 2005 affirmed “Parents…have no constitutional right...to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide…when and as the school determines that it is appropriate to do so.” This is the point the docudrama seeks to convey.

The Court decided the parents have no rights to withhold information from the child (even though the parents have the legal custody and responsibility for the child) that the school deems appropriate for that child.  That's amazing to me, is it to you?

The Supreme Court refused to hear the Parkers' appeal.  Here is a timeline of this issue.  As you read it, remember, this came about because PARENTS objected to a book sent home by the school for their 5 year old son.  Shouldn't PARENTS (aka as taxpayers) who fund the existence of the school and the jobs for the teachers and administrators have the right to opt their child out of material they find objectionable? 

Do parental rights exist in America?  Do you as a parent have any recourse in the teachings your child is learning in public education short of pulling your child out of the school?  Is this acceptable to you as a parent and a taxpayer?  Is this the type of education that will allow our students to become globally competitive and STEM ready or is this early introduction for such material for some other purpose?  

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