Why are Republicans such as Jeb Bush wrapping themselves in the educational mandates in Race to the Top or the Educational Reforms Formerly Known as Race to the Top? These mandates are from Arne Duncan and are nothing but the Federal Government directing public education on all levels to the point where local school districts are ruled impotent and useless. This impotence and uselessness of legal institutions and officials reminds me of the current stance of state legislators. They state, "Oh, it's all the Board of Education's doing. Oh, it's all the governor's fault. Oh, it's not OUR fault we have mandates the state can't afford. Oh, we think centralization is a good thing, don't you worry about it, it will all be fine".
They refuse to act on not implementing the standards or refuse to fund unconstitutional programs that plunge us into more debt. They look at voters and shrug their shoulders. I'm thinking we might as well have mandates to do away with the state legislature since it can't apparently have any influence or power in standing up against federal regulations and mandates. Taxpayers might as well save the money paying state legislator salaries as they aren't apparently interested in protecting the state constitution from federal intrusion.
Many of our legislators want to expand charters and expand Teach for America which will take school decisions out of local districts' hands (and taxpayers) and give them to private companies and DESE. Once again, public money is being used to fund education via agencies and companies unaccountable to the taxpayers. Are you feeling good about this scenario? Why aren't the legislators on the state level acting to keep us out of debt and increased federal control?
This lack of action has been noted by a former teacher and writer in California. Doug Lasken has written a great piece calling Republican politicians to task for their refusal to confront this educational nightmare head on. It's time to call these politicians to task for supporting this administration's disastrous educational policy:
Stop the Department of Education’s Power Grab
Here’s my bio: I am a retired LA Unified teacher of 25 years, currently coaching debate at a private school (I also teach writing in Korea each summer through the UCLA Writing Project) and I have consulted for a number of research institutes, including Fordham, Pioneer, and WestEd . I have been politically active in the “education wars” for many years, starting in the 80′s when, as a classroom teacher, I was told never to teach English to Hispanic students (per so-called “bilingual education”), never to teach grammar, spelling or phonics (per Whole Language), and never to use direct instruction for science (per “constructivist” philosophy). I have freelanced many articles across the county on these subjects and am now engaged in opposing the Common Core standards, a colossal cash cow that will do virtually nothing for American education.. This petition represents my current level of frustration with the GOP for not acting as the opposition party it is supposed to be against Obama’s corrupt and ill-advised education initiatives..
Best, Doug Lasken
We the undersigned do not agree on all things, but we are in close agreement on education, and in particular these five propositions:
1. The federal government is barred by the United States Constitution from imposing academic standards and public school curricula on the states, the very thing it is attempting to do through the Obama administration programs Race to the Top (RttT) and the Common Core Standards(CCS).
2. In addition to imposing standards and curriculum on the states, RttT mandates that states collect extensive and detailed personal information on students, and that this information be submitted to the federal Department of Education, from which it will be available to other agencies. We oppose this on Constitutional grounds.
3. The national price tag for CCS is estimated at $30 billion (and perhaps as much as $210 billion) most of which cost is to be borne by the states. This money will enrich special interests- publishing and testing empires- but will do virtually nothing to save America’s bankrupted public schools. The undersigned believe that spending $30 billion on standards is like painting a car before junking it- good for the painters, a useless expense for the car owner.
4. The news media has decided that since conservatives object to spending money, and since conservative views are represented in the Republican party, then people who object to RttT and CCS must be represented by the Republican party. The undersigned have found, however, that the Republican party, as distinct from individual candidates, does not represent those seeking sound education policy. Time and again, at all levels from local to federal,the undersigned have encountered ignorance and indifference regarding RttT and CCS from the Republican party and the people it has helped to achieve office. Republicans as much as Democrats have been seduced by the $30 billion and slick sales talk into acquiescence to RttT and CCS. The news media is oblivious to this.
5. Therefore, we the undersigned here state that the Republican party does not represent our views on American education, that the Republican party is in fact aligned with the Democratic party in pushing through wasteful and highly problematic Democratic programs, and that we therefore disavow allegiance to and support of the Republican party in its policies towards education, and we ask that the media acknowledge that this diminution of Republican support has occurred.
If you would like to sign this petition, write to Doug Lasken at firstname.lastname@example.org