"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, February 25, 2012

Are Missouri Legislators Paying Attention to What South Carolina Legislators Figured Out?

Arne Duncan is a bit testy with South Carolina's push back against the nationalized standards Duncan contends really aren't national.  He called the SC Legislature attempting to rescind common core standards “a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy.” 

Peter Wood details the history of the takeover of education from the Federal level since 1965 when ESEA was created and federal money began funding state and local budgets.  When funding is expected from the Federal government, states and local districts became subject to federal mandates.  If states and districts did not agree to implement the Federal mandates, that flow of money could get cut off, so the Federal government's policies became paramount in school operations.

States and districts are now are the strangulation point.  They are broke and don't have the money for these underfunded mandates from Arne Duncan.  In the midst of the "worst recession of our time", if states did not adopt common core, Title I funding was in danger of disappearing.  The dangling of money was too good to pass up, even though it required the destruction of states being able to set their own educational standards.  What governor wants to explain to his/her constituents no more money would be "granted" to the states for education?  You know what happens:  "But....but....but....it's for the KIDS!"

Is it really?  Why is it for every state dollar sent to the Department of Education, Missouri receives back 80 cents?  And why is it those 80 cents come with strings and mandates?  Doesn't a district know where money needs to be spent in their schools?  It doesn't matter.  The schools and states are told where and how to spend the money.

That's common core standards aka nationalized standards implementation history in a nutshell. The government in the past could tell states how to spend it on programs but could not control WHAT the states taught.  With common core standards, however, the Federal government is attempting to make public schools FEDERAL schools....schools controlled by private industries funded by the federal government, not your local community.  How has this illegal activity occurred?  From Innovation:

The Obama administration, facing the same legal obstacles as all its predecessors, chose a novel tactic. It orchestrated a program under the auspices of National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) which proposed standards that the states would be free to adopt. But “free” came with some sweeteners. The Race to the Top dangled hundreds of millions of dollars among those states that chose to adopt the Common Core. As for those states that chose not to…they face some interesting consequences too. I wrote about this last year in “The Core Between the States.”

Eitel and Talbert’s nineteen-page analysis of the legal standing of the Common Core State Standards mounts a powerful case that the Obama administration has overstepped itself. The Road to a National Curriculum does its most devastating work by quoting from Department of Education documents that lay out in plain language the effort to use federal resources to achieve results prohibited by statute. One such document, for example, explains, “The goal of common K-12 standard is to replace the existing patchwork of State standards that results in unequal expectations based on geography.”

One of the most important issues in this excellent article is the call to other state legislators to follow SC's lead in pushing back against this illegal federal intrusion into state's rights and refusing to acquiesce to the thuggery of Arne Duncan.

But setting that aside, the Pioneer Institute in releasing the Road to a National Curriculum has fanned the flames of growing resistance. The immediate case, which provoked Secretary Duncan’s reflections on conspiracy theories, is legislation (S 604) pending in South Carolina that would block further implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Duncan presumably wants to scotch this idea before other states start to think that “voluntary” actually means voluntary.

The South Carolina legislators seem a bit upset that the Race to the Top adoption process bypassed them, even though they are expected to pay 90 percent of the costs of the Common Core State Standards. Hearings in other states could stumble over the same stone. It isn’t as if South Carolina is trying to protect an especially slothful approach to public education against the imposition of a more demanding federal regimen. As in Massachusetts, the opposite seems true. The Fordham Institute (generally pro-Common Core) last year ranked South Carolina’s history standards as best in the country. If South Carolina could elevate its state standards for U.S. history, it could, as Texas has done, also craft English language arts and math standards that are much higher than Common Core’s.
If Commissioner Chris Nicastro was concerned about Missouri's standards, then she should have boarded a plane to a state with excellent test results, met with their educational state experts, reviewed that state's standards, then adopted and adapted what would work for Missouri.  She should have done her job, instead of becoming a cog in the bureaucratic machine, waiting for orders from the NGA or CCSSI or the Federal government on how to run a state commission for education.

Battles in South Carolina have been known to start larger conflicts. This could just be the Fort Sumter of the Core Between the States.

It's time for the state legislators to join the battle against the nationalization of education.  It IS illegal, you know, regardless of what Arne Duncan says.  State legislators need to follow the law instead of promises of money for unfunded, unproven, untested and unconstitutional mandates.  

1 comment:

  1. The Federal Government is all about "Progressive Education". Define progressive education as (1)teaching the next generation of American children how inhuman, inhumane, vain, greedy, racist, sexist, mean, nasty and cruel personal liberty (guaranteed in our Constitution as an inalienable right) makes people (2)Teaching the next Generation of American children that the Creator who granted those inalienable rights does not really exist (3) teaching the next generation of American children the the Founders didn't REALLY believe in God, The Holy Bible, Jesus Christ, or anything else, they were anarchist rebels who hated authority!(4)teaching the next generation of American children that there is really no such thing as sin, man is just another animal, and (5)EVERYTHING else that such a philosophy engenders to turn the next generation of Americans into haters of God and country.


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