"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, October 27, 2012

A Better Approach to Bullying?

The nature of a bureaucracy is to develop policies to address problems. Policies are a standardized set of rules and consequences that can be applied to various situations that generally mean less actual consideration of the facts by the individuals authorized to apply the consequences. Policies are seen as an efficient way to move forward and get past a broad spectrum of problems the system may experience. Because they are broad in scope and purposely disregard specific details, policies are often ineffective. This is never more obvious than when you look at school policies. Stripped of the cumbersome details of the individuals and circumstances, consequences meted out according to policy are often out of proportion to the infraction and, frustratingly, never seem to make the problem go away.

Take the problem of bullying. Can anyone point to an effective policy against bullying? Not really. There are programs that have some impact, sure, but policy rarely affects the problem of bullying. Can anyone point to horrible outcomes based on anti-bullying policy? Absolutely.  The blogosphere is full of them.

This week we have a case of bullying in Arizona that did not rely on policy to produce a happy ending. It ultimately came down to people making a personal connection and a mother working outside the official system to try to help her daughter.
QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- This story starts with high school hierarchy. The kind where kids like seniors Carson Jones and Tucker Workman sail through their classes and lead the undefeated football team.

“It's senior year, you know, it’s pretty exciting," Workman said. "It’s a rush, it goes by so fast but it’s fun."

At the same time, students like Chy Johnson just try to make it through the day.

“The girl threw trash at me," Chy said, describing one of the girls who bullies her.

The 16-year-old sophomore was born with a brain disorder, and kids picking on her because of her differences have always been a part of life. But this year, her mom had enough of her coming home crying every day. She decided to call on a family friend for help. It was Carson Jones, starting quarterback.

"I emailed Carson and told him Chy was having some issues," Elizabeth Johnson said. "I just wanted names...but he took it a step further and went and gathered her at lunch. And she’s been eating with them ever since!"
From first hour through the end of the day, Chy’s guys from the team make it a point to look after her. And this group’s newfound friendship has changed the high-school game.

“They’re not bullying her anymore because they’ve seen her with us or something," Jones said.

It's nice to be able to share a story with a happy ending every once in a while.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Would Dr. Suess Approve of Data Determining "The Places You'll Go"?

Suess was writing about personal journeys, not about data determining those personal journeys

"Oh, the Places You'll Go!"  Remember the Dr. Suess book with that name?  It's a book given to many graduates as they enter the world.  It's a book about choices, change, risk and growth a young boy faces as he explores life.  Excerpts from a summary of "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" from suite101.com:

Oh The Places You'll Go describes up times and down times, waiting times and stressful times. Here's a summary of this popular kids' book by Dr Seuss.

In the beginning, Dr Seuss writes...
Oh! The Places You'll Go starts with a boy (sorry girls, it's one of those times you just have to lump yourselves in with the guys). Anyway, this boy is starting off on his journey to Great Places. He's "off and away!" He's got brains and feet, and can go in any direction he chooses. He's fresh and excited about his latest adventure, and he knows nothing will stop him.

Decisions in Oh! The Places You'll Go
The boy can choose whether or not to go down certain streets. Dr. Seuss stresses how smart and capable the boy is. And we all are, even us girls (but sometimes we ignore our gut feelings). Oh The Places You'll Go is about making good decisions.

Read the summary (or the book) and you will understand the boy's decisions are up to him on how to live his life. He learns to make good decisions.  He learns life is a series of ups and downs and how to enjoy the good times and stay strong through the hard times.   It's a coming of age book and the character learns the direction of his life is up to him.

When I read the article Oh, the Data We’ll See and the Places We’ll Go! from Data Quality Campaign (DQC) I was speechless.  It is written by a Texas principal, Vera Wehring, about her use of data and how it must be monitored and for what purpose.  My first thought was "Dr. Suess must be turning over in his grave".  She borrows Suess' book title about a character determining his own life's path and turns it into an exercise of using data to determine a student's life.  The student's innate abilities, desires and decisions are now funneled into data sets for school success, not the student's personal success.  From the DQC article:

Individual Students
One of the challenges we have faced as a campus is in not meeting some of the rising accountability standards. Each time scores have been below standards, it has been by just a few students, and students from different subpopulations within our school. Thus we learned that we must look at individual student progress and individual student needs, and then individualize student interventions. To do so, we access student testing trends, projections of future success, and suggested interventions based on student profile. This particular data source helps us identify teachers’ value-added performance, identify students in target groups, and drill down to student detail. These data are used alongside traditional classroom assessments, campus and district assessments, and any other information that may be gleaned about individual students so that all students are monitored to ensure they are reaching their potential and achieving at appropriate academic levels. Progress is monitored by students themselves, classroom teachers, the campus leadership team, and the entire faculty.

Over the last several years, we have established processes and procedures to make data collection, analysis, reflection, and action an ongoing and embedded expectation. We do not claim to be perfect, nor do we claim to have found a panacea for all achievement ills. We do continue to refine and adjust our processes as data points change, teacher and leader capacity grows, and student needs alter.

The responsibility in Suess' world depends on the individual to determine his destiny.  DQC and data driven educators believe the responsibility to determine students' destinies rely on their services based on student data.  Read the entire article and you can understand how swamped these educators are with data driven mandates and how to manage the data requirements:

On a daily basis, principals are bombarded with a myriad of data points. It is easy to take a cursory glance at the piles of data, become overwhelmed, and move on to the next item on our to-do lists. It is also tempting to become bogged down in the data and spend hours on end sorting, analyzing, and then failing to act on them. The most effective leaders prioritize data, analyze them, and use them to make data-informed school improvement decisions.

What this data mining accomplishes is for school improvement benchmarks.  Wehring mentions student individualization, but this individualization is based on standards imposed by data sets.  How is "projection of student success" measured?  If a child doesn't show "promise" by a certain age?  If a child is an auditory learner and material is taught visually, is that child not a projected "success"?   What this principal doesn't seem to understand is that "the places you'll go" isn't about DQC or her data.  It's about taking life by the "hoo-has" and living life to its fullest:

My cousin, Todd Parker, however, has definitely lived up to Dr. Seuss’ philosophy of life. He is a 2003 graduate of Petal High School. He was awarded the Presidential Scholarship from the University of Southern Mississippi and was dedicated to his education.

While in school he worked part time at Purple Parrot where he developed the skill and love for cooking. Against his parents’ advice and the advice of many others, he decided to forfeit his scholarship and head for New York City in pursuit of becoming a chef. That decision took a great deal of courage.

My cousin enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in 2006 in New York City, and the art of cooking became his passion. He completed an eighteen week internship in New Orleans and graduated from the Culinary Institute in 2008.

After graduation he returned to New Orleans and worked for approximately two years when he was asked to move to Germany to expand his education under some of the most world-renowned chefs. So, do you think he jumped on the opportunity? You bet your grits he did.

I propose Dr. Suess had this type of life journey in mind for people rather than a school/data company/government program of placing human capital into specific slots in a managed economy.  Students' futures are not up to administrators, data companies or the government.  The following quote was meant for individuals, not corporations/government agencies making decisions for the individuals: 

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!  
Link here for more quotes from "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

If Principal Wehring is going to use this title of a Suess book to support a data driven agenda, she might want to read the book to understand what she advocates is far from what Dr. Suess meant to convey to readers.  Perhaps she took this tongue in cheek book review as fact and data to support her data driven argument.  This actually is the argument of the managed economists, don't you think?


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hydra Lernaia AKA Race to the Top: Camdenton MO Superintendent Needs to Study Greek Mythology

...or Race to the Top.  The monster with many heads.

The Camdenton MO School Board met this week to discuss whether to apply for Race to the Top funding.   The funding would be supplied to Camdenton schools directly from the Federal Department of Education.  Since the State of Missouri didn't win its two proposals for Race to the Top funding, the DOEd decided to bypass state agencies directly and award monies to districts and establish yet another version of Race to the Top.

Sit with that thought for a moment.  The Federal Government has bypassed a state agency to give money directly to local districts.  Why do we even need state agencies to be the middle man for federal funding to schools?  Why not just let the Federal government take over local districts and dictate how/what those districts teach?

This is the scenario this endless round of "free" money from the Federal government creates.  But the secret the superintendents don't tell the taxpayers is it's not free.  It creates underfunded mandates and never ends.  The taxpayers are on the hook for the mandates (not set by their local districts) and the funding of the programs when the funds run out.  This has all been accomplished without a vote by the taxpayers.

Here is some advice to Superintendent Tim Hadfield, Dr. Gail White, Board Member Selynn Barbour and Pat Gilman of State Fair College, proponents of this district RTTT grant:  study Greek mythology and Hydra Lernaia:

HYDRA LERNAIA was a gigantic, nine-headed water-serpent, which haunted the swamps of Lerna. Herakles was sent to destroy her as one of his twelve labours, but for each of her heads that he decapitated, two more sprang forth. So with the help of Iolaos, he applied burning brands to the severed stumps, cauterizing the wounds and preventing regeneration. In the battle he also crushed a giant crab beneath his heel which had come to assist Hydra. The Hydra and the Crab were afterwards placed amongst the stars by Hera as the Constellations Hydra and Cancer.

Race to the Top is education's modern Hydra Lernaia.  It keeps coming back in various forms, mandates and financial carrots to cash strapped districts unable to satisfactorily accomplish impossible Federal educational goals.  It's no wonder Common Core wants to focus on scientific text.  If students/teachers/administrators/board members were exposed to the truths via mythological stories about monstrous programs in their everyday lives designed to take away personal/professional autonomy to create a managed workforce, they would have brought fire to the first Race to the Top program and burned the RTTT monster to a crisp.

The MexicoLedger.com covered the Camdenton School Board meeting:

Before the full discussion about the grant, community members expressed their concerns with Race to the Top. Many had unanswered questions. Nancy Osborne of Camdenton asked what type of involvement the federal government would have in the district if they were chosen as a recipient and what type of involvement teachers have had in writing the grant proposal among other things. "Money is not going to make students read. Teachers teach students how to read," Osborne said. Another resident, Brenda Goodman, asked what happens when the grant money is spent. She raised concern about the federal government's involvment, as well. "I don't like federal government intrusion on local school districts," Goodman said.

Various other residents spoke concerning their lack of information on the topic. Some board members echoed their concerns. "What message are we sending to them [teachers] that we aren't including them?" John Beckett said. Board Member Jim Besankez questioned how much extra work this grant would create for teachers.

The Camdenton School Board is following the Nancy Pelosi style of governance.  It wants to sign onto the program before it knows what's in it or how much it will cost the taxpayers.  Questions on specifics remain unanswered.  You can't finance a personal budget as does Pelosi or this local school board, but your government can spend your money with impunity on untested, unproven and underfunded theories/practices.

Here are the questions and issues the Camdenton School Board should have focused on instead of listening to yet another head of Hydra Lernaia Race to the Top talking heads, from truthinamericaneducation.com:

Making school districts directly beholden to the federal Department of Education undermines, rather than advances, local control.
  • Announced by the US Department of Education (USDOE) on May 22, 2012, this program is designed to bypass states and go directly to local districts to persuade them to accept strings-attached federal grants. In this way, USDOE can undermine sovereign state decisions with which it disagrees.
  • The competition consists of a $400 million fund that will lure applications from eligible districts or groups of districts (defined as those serving at least 2,500 students, 40% or more of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunch).
  • Districts will be expected to “create plans for individualized classroom instruction aimed at closing achievement gaps and preparing each student for college and career.”
  • “Eligibility . . . will be determined by a district’s demonstrated commitment to RTT’s four core reform areas.” These core areas include adopting standards acceptable to USDOE and building massive student-data systems.
  • Among the 17 categories of vague promises the competing districts must make is the requirement that they show they can track students from pre-K through college, and tie student outcomes back to individual teachers.
  • One of the more bizarre requirements is that competing districts promise to implement evaluation systems that consider student outcomes – not just for teacher and principal performance, but also for district superintendents and school boards. Is USDOE suggesting it can fire school boards if it deems them inadequate? Where does Arne Duncan get the authority to tell individual districts how to do their job?
  • The competition “offers competitive preference to applicants that form partnerships with public and private organizations to . . . offer services that help meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs . . . .” So local schools will have to answer to School Superintendent Duncan for whether students are well-adjusted socially and emotionally.
  • This district-level program is a full-scale assault on state sovereignty. It is a power-grab through which the federal government will skirt citizens’ elected statewide bodies and negotiate directly with school districts to embrace federal policy. It will also undermine the state governmental structure by grouping school districts together on policy decisions and thereby making it more difficult for the group do disengage from federal programming.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Architect of Your Future - Data Quality Campaign

We all remember the Life of Julia, where the Obama Administration laid out how government programs were going to affect someone's entire life. But in order for those programs and policies to be there to ferry Julia from one life stage to another, some government agency had to design and implement them. Someone had to anticipate future problems and create programs that would address them. In today's world you only do that with data which is collected, crunched, analyzed and finally used to justify policy. That data collection begins at birth and ends at death. A social security number is applied for at birth which creates a permanent record for that individual. A death certificate is registered at the end of that life.  In the middle other data are collected: a student ID, a driver's license, a mortgage account, a credit report, a criminal record, a health record, etc. All this data tells the story of us. Or it would if it were all easily accessible in one place which up until now has not been possible.

Enter the Data Quality Campaign, whose goal is "to ensure that every citizen is prepared for the knowledge economy." In their most recent document Pivotal Role of Policymakers as Leaders of P–20/Workforce Data Governance the DQC wrote, "Achieving this goal requires unprecedented alignment of policies and practices across the early childhood; elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education; and workforce sectors (P–20W). Consequently, many policy questions require data from multiple agencies to answer."

See, they need data from all these agencies in order to answer policy questions about education.  But they have a problem.  Though states have independent databases that track the information policy makers claim they need (we'll get back to that in a minute) they run into "challenges" accessing this information due to: turf, time, technical issues, and trust.

Challenge 1 Turf - Data is power and money. One does not just casually hand that over to another agency just because the other agency has claimed a need for it. Those who currently manage the data "silos" need assurance that they will not lose control or have another entity assigned oversight on what they do. This is a reasonable concern since education data collection which started in the states has had rules and restrictions placed on it by the states that cannot and should not be violated. DQC's response is to "define clear and distinct roles and responsibilities aligned to commonly established goals. This creates and fosters a culture of shared responsibility..."

Challenge 2 Time - Only so many hours in a day and money to pay people to manage all this data. And since all that money comes from taxpayers, regardless of whether it is a government employee or a government contracted company, there needs to be assurances in place that the time/money is well spent on data management.

Challenge 3 Technical Issues -each agency defines its own data standards and protocols and procedures for data use, making sharing data difficult and inefficient. Here is where DQC can really shine because their goal is to make all these databases talk to each other so sharing data across them is - they use the word efficient, but let's call it - easy.  These inefficiencies and mismatching may be the last  thing protecting your privacy and DQC is working like bunnies to strip that away.

Challenge 4 Trust -"Agencies are concerned about how their data might be used once the data are linked, matched, and shared."  How about parents? Mightn't they be concerned about how this data will be used once matched and shared? Throughout this entire document the people who really "own" this data, the children and those who speak for them, their parents, are never mentioned.

Maybe I came too late to the discussion. When was it discussed that the government had a right to collect and use personal data on every single American? That seems to already have been agreed upon by unelected bureaucrats who don't answer to parents. Here are the Board members of DQC.

Tom Luce, Chair Chairman, National Math and Science Initiative
John Bailey Director, Dutko Worldwide
Tammi Chun Policy Analyst, Office of the Governor, State of Hawaii
Kathy Cox CEO, U.S. Education Delivery Institute
Kati Haycock President, The Education Trust
Bruce Hoyt Former Board Member, Denver Public Schools Board of Education
Sharon Robinson President and CEO, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
Bob Swiggum Chief Information Officer, Georgia Department of Education
Gene Wilhoit Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers

Their process looks like this:
  • Link Systems to allow for efficient matching of data that have been deemed necessary for specified purposes.
  • Match Data to create datasets with connected records on the same individuals from two or more databases.
  • Share information to provide participating agencies and institutions knowledge that was unavailable prior to the data matching. 
There are circumstances where some data would be useful. How could colleges improve their course offerings if they didn't track how many of their graduates got jobs and in what fields? How would high schools know whether they were truly preparing their graduates for the real world if they didn't track how many went to college and how many got jobs?

The problem is more in the Field of Dreams area.  If you build it, they will come. If you begin to create a completely integrated data stream of personal data (which everyone always refers to as lacking individually identifiable data, right) with guidelines on how to set up new databases that can link to it and job descriptions that include making sure your data is compatible with the integrated system, you begin to create something so powerful that its governance should not be in the hands of any single individual or agency. Try preventing that from happening.

Most people only look at the privacy issues in terms of the individual databases. So what if someone knows my kid's student ID. Who cares if I'm part of the public record as someone who receives unemployment payments. With groups like DQC working to connect all this data and develop policy on it, who knows what kinds of policies could be developed because of someone's interpretation of that data. Maybe a policy needs to be established that requires an automatic visit by Child Protective Services for every child whose parent has become unemployed because past data showed a statistical potential for neglect when a parent loses a job.

The bigger issue is that government agencies will be self directed by data to address problems that the public has not asked to be addressed.  Our elected representatives could, in essence, be replaced by databases.  Whatever efficiencies or solutions might be gained by creating such a system should be weighed heavily against the possibility of such systems being abused by someone you don't agree with. In addition should always be the concern of  such data being compromised, maybe even from entities outside the U.S. One of the key elements in the P-20 system is that it be accessible. That means, by definition, outside entities need to have a way in. There is no such thing as a completely secure system that needs broad access and any honest IT person will confirm that. So how much data do we want to put in such a system?  Has anyone asked us?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Your Future is Not in Your Hands.

Educational tidbit for the Day: The government is here to plan your life via data tracking.  You are incapable of making your own decisions.

Below is a short video explaining how the Oklahoma P20 Statewide Longitudinal Data System will operate and how it will place students in jobs based on data gathered on them from birth. 

This data is not so much for education as it is to provide workforce data and how that student's data will (or will not) fit employers' specifications.  The video holds true about data information for any state that has adopted common core standards.  Remember, the common core standards initiative is the vehicle that drives the longitudinal data system.  Without the adoption of the standards, the data system could not collect the amount of student data needed to supply various federal agencies and private researchers for workforce purposes.

From the youtube description: 

 P20 describes a Statewide Longitudinal Data System(SLDS)--a framework into which descriptors describing American students from P (PreK) to 20 years of age can be loaded. This provides " a unified longitudinal student data system (SLDS) to provide interoperability and efficient and effective storage, use and sharing of data among the State Department of Education, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, legislature, other policy makers and executive agencies, and the general public." This all comes, of course, with many concerns about government control, privacy, and "Big Brother" watching us.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The War of Women on Federal Control of Local Schools Being Waged in Maryland and Missouri.

Education Reformers and Washington DC take over your local schools and students' education.  You bet it's a war women and men must fight.

Two women, one in Maryland and the other in Missouri, are extremely concerned about what's happening in public education.  One is sounding the alarm about Common Core, the other about Race to the Top and her district planning to apply for the RTTT "direct to district" grants, bypassing the state educational agency.  Who needs state educational agencies when the Federal government will give your district money and mandates?  The Federal DOEd has bypassed state agencies and will direct district education from Washington DC, hardly a constitutional power granted to the federal government.

Cindy Stickline-Rose, a parent, wrote a two part article first appearing at www.TheTentacle.com for parents and taxpayers about Common Core standards.  Excerpts are reprinted below with permission from  Ms. Stickline-Rose and TheTentacle.  From Taking Parents Out of The Equation – Part 1:

Beginning today Frederick County Public Schools will be hosting a series of education nights to familiarize parents with The Common Core Standards.

As a parent advocate, I want interested persons to be fully informed before setting one foot inside their propaganda rooms. I don’t hold the school system wholly responsible for the spin. Most are ignorant as to how what we know as “Common Core” grew from an ideology to an idea and into reality.

I’ll share the facts I know and let you decide if you want this in our local classrooms.

First, let’s start out calling Common Core what it is: a National Curriculum. It was sold to schools, parents and educators as a way to level the playing field for career and college readiness. Students in Miami would be taught the same as students in Seattle.

It was sold as standards in math and English; but, oh, looky here, come this December Social Studies will be added in.

Before I continue, let me point out that there are two groups working on “education reform.” Group One I call the “faux reformer.” They seek to transform the American education system into the Department of Labor. Group Two is the one I and my associates are working on. It seeks to re-establish the parent as the entity with first and final authority over how and what our children are taught under a “true partnership” with our educators.

So, you should not be surprised that less and less control is being had on the local level because it is the faux reformers who have current control over education.

Power is being siphoned away from local jurisdictions back to the states and will ultimately arrive at the feet of the federal government. The conduit is Common Core. The end game of this reform is to remove the parents and the states completely.

How a nationally run education system is put in place starts with three pieces of legislation from 1994: Goals 2000 Act (also known as the Educate America Act), School to Work Act and Improving American Schools Act. They run in concert with the No Child Left Behind Act (the reauthorized, tweaked version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act), Race to The Top and Common Core Standards.

What these pieces of legislation set out to do:

·        Bypass local school boards and parents by having federal funding go directly to the states, through the governors, not to the schools.

·        Centralize all student information into a national data base. This information would include personal, identifying information such as family information, social security numbers, academic, medical, mental and behavioral information as well as information from guidance counselors in K-12, college and the work place.

·        National standards and testing. To solidify control, the 12th grade diploma will be replaced with a Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM). No person will be able to get a job without a CIM.

Don’t think it’s being implemented in our local schools? Take a look at the Frederick County Board of Education’s position paper to the local legislators in 2012: “Today’s investments in Frederick County Public Schools are key to a prosperous economy, strong business growth, and students’ ability to compete for good jobs in a global, high-tech economy.”

I’m not seeing a whole lot of language about educating our children today so they can have bright futures tomorrow based on what they choose for themselves. It looks like an employment and economy pitch not an education pitch.

Troubled yet?

 Ms. Stickline-Rose has done an excellent job informing folks of what common core is and who is behind it and why it is being implemented.  It's not so much "for the kids" as it is for a managed economy.

Laura Martin, a school board member from Camdenton, is raising questions about educational direction and programming as well.  Her superintendent wants to receive Race to the Top grants given directly to districts, bypassing the state educational agency, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  From Camdenton School District faces scrutiny from within over Race to the Top:

According to the application, the grant, offered by the U.S. Department of Education, would allow Camdenton R-III, Marshall and Knob Noster school districts to partner with State Fair Community College and the University of Central Missouri to build a facility to house some of Camdenton’s programs; it would provide personalized learning environments in the form of take-home laptops, iPads and tablet computers for all middle and high school students in the three districts; and it would allow the districts to integrate career planning systems and develop curriculum designed to focus on “real-world applications” of academic content in order to allow students pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and their parents to better plan for the future.

Camdenton Schools had expressed interest in program to the U.S. Department of Education by Aug. 30, according to district officials.

“We had just gotten out from under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program so I was leery about rushing into something else offered by the federal government,” Martin said, adding that her concern quickly grew when she realized the board was being asked to approve the grant so it could be submitted by the deadline of Oct. 30. “It might be a great deal but I wanted to read our application and research the program before committing,” she said. “To me, this had undertones of Nancy Pelosi’s ‘sign-it-now, read-it-later’ handling of the health care law.”

Others apparently agreed. The board told the superintendent to continue pursuing the grant but decided to table the vote until the next meeting. That meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 7:30 a.m., Oct. 23, and will include a presentation by Pat Gillman, the director of College and Career Readiness for State Fair, who took the lead on preparing the grant.

In the meantime, Martin said she set out to learn as much as possible about Race to the Top.
The article details the excellent questions Martin has about RTTT  regarding the cost, the federal control, the emphasis on career training for the entire district, teacher evaluations, the sustainability requirements, the lack of teacher input and tax levies necessary when the grants ran out.  Martin is doing the job a school board member should be performing; asking questions on debt, future ramifications of decisions to taxpayers and students and the reasons "reforms" are being adopted by the Board.  You can find more of Martin's concerns here on her blog, The Sunshine Seeker.

The War of Women on Corporate/Governmental Educational Reforms is here.  Join women (and concerned men) to fight these reforms that are not "for the kids" but for special interests and the federal control of education.  These reforms are not "state led".  In fact, these reforms actually make state education agencies, school boards and taxpayers powerless and useless.  

The federal mandates are funded by the taxpayers.  These taxpayer funded mandates (not voted on by the taxpayers) are administered by bureaucrats who have no power except by which they are "granted" by the Federal Department of Education and private corporations.  Are these educational mandates an example "of the people, by the people, for the people"?  Hardly.  Instead of education being a Declaration on Independence from the Federal Department of Education, these education reforms are more akin to a nationalized version of managing human capital for state/corporate purposes.

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