"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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Monday, July 2, 2012

Obamacare and Education Reform Operate Under the Same Basic Principle: The Politics of Dependency

How many politicians will send their children to  public school to learn under Common Core/RTTT mandates?

Education reform has much in common with Obamacare:  Absurdities.
  • Education reform: Governors and state boards of education signed onto Race to the Top and Common Core standards even before they knew what was contained in the mandate and before the standards had been written. 
  • Obamacare: Nancy Pelosi's statement of having to "sign the bill before we know what's in it" should come to mind as malfeasance with taxpayer money.
  • Education reform: The states were promised some funding to implement RTTT/Common Core standards, but none of the awards would fully fund the several millions it would cost to implement these programs. Missouri could have received $250 Million for an estimated cost of a $389 Million implementation cost.  The governor and State Board thought this was a great deal, even though the state cannot afford its basic formula foundation obligation.  The state is $500 Million in the red for the foundation funding.  Just a few months ago, DESE, the governor, State Board and other departments signed onto a $1.6 Billion preschool program...with no federal funding.  Where is the state finding the money to implement this program?   
  • Obamacare: The politicians who voted for the bill did not know how much the Health Care total bill would be, but that didn't stop them from agreeing to unknown debt.  The current cost to implement is estimated to be $2.1 Trillion, even as the country faces a $16 Trillion debt.
Dr. Keith Abelow writes about the mindset Obamacare creates in Americans and he believes it's not healthy.  As you  read about the increasing dependence and inability to live your life because of government restrictions, put it in perspective of education reform.  States, school boards and individual schools no longer have the ability to make decisions on standards, assessments...and even the food offered for students to eat.  These decisions have been co-opted by the Department of Education and the NGA/CCSSI.

The DOEd has become our "parent"...it has decided what, how, who teaches our students and we must pay to further this dependency.  Educational issues, like health issues, must be decided by a centralized agency because we are incapable of making decisions for our own life, much less our own children.  Insert educational reform terms for medical terms and this explains why this "reform" will not empower taxpayers or students.  It just creates more taxes and dependence on the Federal government.

The cost of ObamaCare pales, economically or in terms of quality of care, in my opinion, in comparison to what President Obama's health care law will cost our country, in terms of mindset.

Here's why: The notion of an individual mandate, that is forcing Americans to buy something with their after-tax dollars (or pay a fine), can make citizens see themselves as serfs who actually have no right at all to the money they earn, and keep it only when it suits the federal government.  

Money is a metaphor:  Take away the right to determine what people do with their earned, after-tax income and you will take away their self-confidence, self-determination, creativity and courage to act on their beliefs and their ideas.
An American citizen who willingly allows the federal government to earmark his or her after-tax income and direct it to insurance companies is an American citizen who has decided that the government "knows best."  The federal government is, from that moment forward, (in at least some measure) that citizen's parent, leaving them only with an allowance, consisting of what's left after they buy what their "parents" in Washington tell them to.

Every human being knows in his or her heart that the ability to earn a living and make decisions about the money that flows to him or her is one of the hallmarks of an autonomous life.
An American citizen who willingly allows the federal government to earmark his or her after-tax income and direct it to insurance companies is an American citizen who has decided that the government "knows best."
Children and adolescents dream of the day when they will "have their own money," because they understand that the roots of the monetary/financial system reach deep into sacred notions of individual choice and freedom.  Take that decision-making capacity away from the individual, and you risk slingshotting him or her back to a pre-adolescent stance. You infantilize that person.

Seen this way, the individual mandate is, therefore, another in those forces unleashed by President Obama--along with lots of food stamps and lots of unemployment payments and lots of bailouts--which encourages adult Americans to turn to their government for nurturance, and to become angry at perceived oppressors when they feel unfulfilled. 

If you think that Occupy Wall Street was a spectacle, just wait and see how tens of millions of adult children, who have been told they can't decide how to spend their money, behave when their allowance dries up. 

Seen through this "We the Parents" lens, rather than "We the People," it should be obvious that ObamaCare is a terrifying trap. Under the guise of "helping" and "healing" and "caring" for Americans, it reminds them how vulnerable they are to illness. Under the guise of "fairness," it takes away their financial decision-making capacity.  In true Progressive fashion, it makes people regress and feel as though they don't know best how to manage their health or their affairs.  It renders them weak.

Deep inside, people despise being weak.  It is an affront to their God-given rights to SELF-determination and the pursuit of happiness.  Hence, the stance of federal government as parent that sits so well with President Obama opens the door to depression and all manner of ills (including drug abuse) that afflict those who feel disempowered.

With Egypt in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, with Iran building nuclear weapons and with Europe facing economic calamity, the last thing we need are lessons from Washington in how to be weak individuals. Because courage comes from deep inside, from each adult American in this nation it will, ultimately, be the only thing that stands between us and calamity. The individual mandate of ObamaCare is a virus that could destroy that good psychological DNA.  

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