"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

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Monday, February 27, 2012

DESE Circumventing the Legislature Again. DESE Wants to Implement an Early Childhood Program Costing...$1.6 BILLION...Just for Missouri.

Nightmare in Jefferson City Part II

The first nightmare for taxpayers was in 2010 when DESE applied to Race to the Top funding twice.  It was estimated to cost $400 Million to implement everything Arne Duncan and the Department of Education mandated, but alas, the $250 Million grant to accomplish the $400 Million plan was never received.

DESE failed to convince the Department of Education to give it money to accomplish unconstitutional educational mandates so it did the next best thing.  It went ahead and signed onto to institute the mandates without ANY Race to the Top funding.

How smart is that?  Commissioner Chris Nicastro signed onto common core standards, estimated to cost at least $350 Million according to the Pioneer Institute.  That's just for one of the components of Race to the Top.  To make it even more surreal, DESE estimated it would be at least $900 Million in the red this year.

DESE loves to apply for money from a Federal Government that is now $16 Trillion in debt.  Again, how smart is that?  DESE applied late last year for a $60 Million preschool grant for children ages 3-6.  Missouri once again didn't get the grant.  Hit the replay button.  DESE doesn't care.  DESE will still go full steam ahead and start implementing programs assessing 3 year olds.  Do you know what assessing 3  year olds mean?  It means fitting them in a box, in a system, labeling them as failures or successes at 3 years of age.

Why is the Missouri Legislature allowing DESE to create more debt for taxpayers and the state?  Check out the budget spreadsheet.  It's much, much worse than $60,000,000 we didn't receive.  The total needed to establish education for 3-6 year olds in Missouri is $1.6 BILLION involving not only DESE, but also the Departments of Social Services and Mental Health.  This is a nightmare.  We're already in debt, can't pay for common core and now DESE wants to implement programming costing over a billion dollars.

Even more egregious than that, why is DESE allowing 3 year old children to be tracked and a baseline established for them so they can be trained for the workforce? 

Where is the Legislature putting the brakes on this runaway train of incompetence and saddling taxpayers with more debt?  Why are taxpayers being held hostage by appointed officials who are unaccountable to the taxpayers paying their salaries and for their poor decisions?  But don't blame it ALL on DESE.  Governor Jay Nixon's signature is on this application as well.

Will the Legislature please step in and curtail this abuse of spending taxpayer money that doesn't exist for programs that are unconstitutional?

 From the DESE website:

News and Updates

Early Childhood Assessment Pilot
The Department's Office of Early and Extended Learning will soon be conducting a pilot project to identify an assessment model for use in preschool programs and kindergarten classes (children ages 3-6). The model would include both formative and summative assessments, including measuring status at kindergarten entry. A steering committee will guide the project. There will be a meeting of individuals from public schools and community-based early childhood programs March 30 in Jefferson City. Registration for this meeting is full. Individuals unable to attend this meeting will have an opportunity to learn about the pilot during the Early Childhood Assessment Webinar scheduled for April 13. Information on this webinar will be available soon on the Department’s webinar page at dese.mo.gov/webinar/. The application to participate as one of the possible pilot sites will be available shortly after the webinar. Information regarding the Early Childhood Assessment Pilot will be posted on the Office of Early and Extended Learning Website at dese.mo.gov/eel/.

State's youngest learners will still gain from early childhood education efforts
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received word in December from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health that it did not receive a $60 million grant to develop a coordinated, statewide early learning system over the next four years.  Although it may take longer without the grant funding, Missouri's work to enhance early childhood programs will continue.  The comprehensive plan developed collaboratively through a partnership of six key agencies is outlined in the grant application below.

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