"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, May 4, 2013

Van Harvey Notes Citizens Wouldn't be "Nudged" at the Lindbergh DESE Common Core Meeting. No Choice Architects Allowed to Present the Grand Plan.

Van Harvey's perspective on the Common Core attempted Delphi meeting at Lindbergh School District was spot on.  From If Govt is reckless with money that's not theirs, just imagine how they'll treat your human capital (aka:children) - Common Core State Standards:


After attending our local Common Core 'presentation' by Missouri's DESE, I've only time for a brief pre-post post. This picture (H/T Adam Bohn) of the only informational hand out that the DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) people brought to the meeting tonight, should tip you off to how the evening went.

All they thought to provide interested parents, was a one sided questionnaire, to a meeting of parents who have been chaffing for a chance to comment on and ask questions about the monstrosity that is the Common Core Curriculum. Their handout has two sections. The first says:
"1. What do you like about the Common Core State Standards?"
, followed by a number of blank lines suitable for recording our praises, and then a second line:
"2. What questions do you have?"
and another section of lines, followed by an optimistic section to be filled out afterwards, for
"Location:___, Table Recorder:___, Table Facilitator:______".
They never got that far, as their 'Nudge' bombed, big time.

To lure people out of their lives in the expectation of information, discussion and debate, and then to make it clear that not only have you not come prepared to answer any of their questions, but she also made it clear that neither she nor DESE had ever had any intention whatsoever of answering any of our questions - that was infuriating. Her one comment to one of many questions on the CCSS summed it up well, and I quote:

"I can't answer your question in a public sense."
There ya go. They simply called us parents out of our evenings to be hosed down with a content-less presentation and a healthy heaping of condescension. Sums their educational philosophy up rather well.
Gretchen Logue of MEW


Towards the end of the Q&A that we finally forced upon them, I asked her, truly puzzled,
'Why are you surprised by the reaction of the people here?'
, and she was speechless. When I followed up afterwards, she so much as said that she really expected our common decency to yield to their completely disrespectful presentation. Surprise. Another DESE representative, Doug, I think his name was, said that he couldn't understand why anyone was the least upset, after all, he said,
"This is the first time, the very first time I can remember, where everyone agrees upon a plan. Our big corporations agree, our governors agree and the leaders of our educational system all agree, these standards are the best for all concerned - I can't understand why you don't welcome them."


Read more here.  To fully understand Van's reference to "nudge" and Doug's response above, read the Commissioner's Race to the Top proposal in 2010 (pg 11/299): 
The Race to the Top has provided an unprecedented opportunity for Missouri to bring its citizens together, to identify common goals and to develop a plan for a decade of educational reform designed to give Missouri’s children a competitive edge in tomorrow’s international competition.  Our vision for reform embraces the notion advanced in the book, Nudge, where Thaler and Sunstein outline the need for choice architects‖ to subtly steer choices toward positive results while leaving people, districts and schools free to choose.  We know that if Missouri’s public schools are to be the best choice for our citizens, they must produce the best results.  This Race to the Top competition has provided the nudge Missouri needed to pick up the pace.  (MEW note: Sunstein is Cass Sunstein, Obama's former regualtory czar)

Once people understand (and accept) that they are not considered "choice architects", it is inconceivable to bureaucrats that citizens could be concerned they are not consulted about the educational plans for their children that their tax dollars are funding.  That's the underlying theme of all the DESE meetings on May 2, 2010 to "communicate the message".  DESE really doesn't want to hear from you and doesn't care what you think or what you envision for your children.  "Trust them".  Allow yourself to be "nudged".  Make way for the governors and the private associations and the big businesses to develop/direct the education for your children.  They are the choice architects.  Just go along and everything will turn out just fine.

That explains the reaction of the presenter and other DESE official.  They really are surprised you little people would question the grand plan.


  1. Sorry, I can't keep it clean, this whole thing is just too dirty from top to bottom and it stinks.

  2. Is it just me, or do teacher inservice days and other education trainings seem to revolve around the Delphi technique as well?

    1. they certainly do..... No open discussion allowed

  3. "Our big corporations agree, our governors agree and the leaders of our educational system all agree..."

    Ummm...of course big corps would agree to something they devised to make kabillions. Ummm...the govs had to agree to get the money. Ummm...and the system leaders agree so they don't lose their nice high paying jobs.

    That was right up there with saying all your friends are jumping off a bridge, so it must be the right thing to do.

  4. "Common Core State Standards was a state-led initiative." Opening msg from DESE at the mtg 5/2 at Lindbergh was the first clue it was not going to be a truthful presentation. My personal thought is that this was a political strategy that backfired. They were hoping no one would attend so they could go back to the Education Lobby in Jeff City & say there is no need for SB210; we already held mtgs and no one showed up.

  5. I'm afraid that Lindbergh was an exception. How did it go in Chesterfield? I heard nothing about that...or Hazelwood?

    To say that 'everyone' agrees, Big Education, Big Businesses, and Governors..well, pretty scary stuff. Bill Gates agrees no doubt. But like most things, who would disagree with a 'system' that promises lots of bright young talent at the end of the day? The premise is faulty. But like I said...I'm afraid that the train has left the station on this.


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