"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, April 10, 2012

The Sad Tale of Education Reform that Just Creates More Centralized Control

I've been in contact with a fellow traveler on the education reform road and he's sent me a couple of items worth reading.

The first follows up on why your vote does count, as evidenced in Missouri's recent school board elections and razor thin margins for candidates in many townships.  He writes with some dismay, about correspondence he received from his Republican state representative, a "conservative" in the Missouri Legislature:

Here’s the candidate for School Board endorsed by my Republican state representative:

Stephen Johnson: 
   (1) Continue to support student achievement milestones that Francis Howell has accomplished over the past several years to prepare our students for life beyond Francis Howell
   (2) Ensure fiscal responsibility and complete all ongoing construction projects in the district
   (3) Help prepare the public, teachers and students for the new rigor Common Core Standards in learning will present.
GOP: short for Go Proregressives!

How did the election turn out?

Another one for your 'every vote counts tally', from Francis Howell:

Candidates Votes Pct
 3403 27.47% Marty Hodits *
 3020 24.38% Stephen Johnson *
 3048 24.61% Eric Seider
 2916 23.54% Marie Haupt

The least objectionable candidate was Marie Haupt, and while the GOP favorite didn't win, the two who did were all about 'Lets find the most efficient way to indoctrinate skills!' and Common Core enthusiasts.

Maddening. Literally.
Question: When did a "conservative legislator" in Missouri begin supporting educational directives set forth by a progressive federal administration?  But why stop at the state level?
He later sent me this interesting announcement (below) from Freedom Works, another "conservative" organization touting

 "Lower Taxes. Less Government. More Freedom".  

How do current educational reforms accomplish these goals?  Do they increase local/state control of schools (the ability to set curriculum, standards and assessments) and decrease the control and spending of the Federal Government (opt out of federal mandates)?  The answer is "no" to the lessening of federal control and the resumption of local control and autonomy.  Race to the Top mandates abound in these reforms.  It's the DOEd and NCLB on steroids.  My educational traveler writes:
... and in yet another sign that 'Left' and 'Right' are just two sides of the same body, FreedomWorks! is trumpeting:
"A Huge Victory for Kids
On April 4th, after months of hard work, FreedomWorks activists celebrated as the Louisiana State Senate finally passed HB976 and HB974, two bills that mark a historic overhaul of the state’s education system."

The first commenter gets it, 

"How can Freedom Works, a conservative web site support Governor Bobby Jindal’s education plan that is the U.S. Department of Education's "Race to the Top" program? ", but the rest pile on to him for being a union loving, non-christian, democrat supporter.

And another happy, upbeat week begins.


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