"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, April 21, 2012

Why do we Need a State Board of Education in Missouri?

DESE and the State Board of Education is being led around the nose by the Federal Government again.  Why do we need a State Board of Education or DESE when all the decisions are being made by the Department of Education?   As practically all educational decisions are being made by Arne Duncan, let's reduce the state employees on the state level and take our orders directly for educational direction from Washington, DC.  We have no state autonomy, but hey, DOEd can establish its national policies for teacher effectiveness ratings, thereby taking away the pesky responsibilities of state employees to make educational decisions.  They only have to do what DC instructs them to do.  

Repeat after me: "I love national education.  I love my school/state having no autonomy.  I love paying my taxes into a system in which I have no voice."

Missouri promised to revise the way it evaluates teacher effectiveness as part of its request for a waiver of requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The intent of the Act is to narrow achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged public school students. However, the goal of 100 percent proficiency on state standardized tests by 2014 appeared to be unrealistic, and the U.S. Congress was overdue on reauthorizing NCLB. Therefore, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan has invited states to apply for waivers, and Missouri submitted its waiver request in February among the second round of applicants.

The federal government has already granted waiver requests to all ten of the first round of applicants and plans to respond to the second round of requests sometime in the next few weeks. As part of the waiver requests, the U.S. Department of Education directed states to choose one of two teacher evaluation options. Missouri chose Option A, which requires that teachers and principals be involved in developing the new evaluation system. Option A also requires adoption of new evaluation guidelines by the end of this school year.

Oh, that's right.  Remember many of these educational reforms DESE has signed onto are "state led".  Apparently the Federal Government has mandated the State Board choose from Option A or Option B.  I guess that's the DOEd's idea of "choice" and the definition of "state led".  When is "choice" not really "choice"?  Is a waiver valid when it dictates more restrictions than the original plan?


  1. I think the "bigger picture" question here is: Why do parents think they need the state or federal government to establish a system of education for their children? Perhaps, if individual citizens would re-claim their power/authority over structuring the up-bringing of their children, we would never have had a DoEd in the first place. It was never the government's roll to educate the populace. Parents can, locally/independently, make better decisions, on how to educate their children.


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