Euphemism Alert: on Education Reforms and Communities That Care   2 comments

   Is the federal government just unwilling to call anything what it really is?

“Career and College Readiness” and “Education for All” both mean creating a mediocre standard that narrows the high achievers and raises the low achievers to a common, narrow, mediocre standard that aims no higher than nonselective community college.

“State-led” doesn’t mean the states rather than the federal government promoted it; it means the states are supposed to believe they had a hand in starting it before the federal government took it over.

“No Child Left Behind” means no (or very few) decisions by teachers or administrators will be left to their own judgment.

Rigorous standards” doesn’t mean rigorous compared to the best; it means rigorous compared to the worst.  It means mediocre nationalized standards, which are lower for many states and higher for some, depending on the state and the school subject.

“Data sharing” means data baring. It means standing privacy-stripped before a web of citizen surveillance you didn’t vote for and can’t repeal. (Ask around: what do P-20 and State Longitudinal Database Systems mean? Why is E.P.I.C. suing the Dept. of Ed over privacy?)

Sustainable Development” means giving plants and animals equal rights with humans, and making property rights a thing of the past.


So, today I’ve been studying the latest euphemism:  Communities That Care. 

Such a nice sounding name.  Would any community be against it, or want to be one that doesn’t give a hoot?

But the more I study what Communities that Care (CTC) is all about, the less I like it.

 Like Common Core, Communities that Care is a youth-oriented, government promoted, data collecting, reform program.  (Common Core says it’s creating better schools.  Communities that Care says it’s cutting down on youth crime/substance abuse.)  In both cases, voters don’t get to vote on the programs, and state legislators don’t get to discuss adoption of the programs.  A tiny group (city council, or school board) gets to sign the rest of us up for it.

  Like Common Core, Communities that Care is presented first of all as free money.  (With Common Core, the first introduction to it was Obama’s Race to the Top grant; with Communities that Care, our city’s first introduction to it is the appealing form of a $10,000 grant from the Dept. of Health and Human Services.)

But when you look beyond the words, in both cases, these federally funded, “progressive” programs are ways for the federal government to control localities.


Well, look at this,

The document is called Using the Communities That Care (CTC) Youth Survey. 

It assumes guilt.  It assumes kids are drinking and doing other detrimental things.

It also falsely assumes that having guns in a community increases crime.  I’ve known all my life –haven’t you?– that in towns/countries where there are high numbers of gun owning citizens, there’s more often less, not more, crime.

Obviously, the authors of this CTC document are believers in having only the government own the guns, and that young people can not be trusted around guns. Well, many people would disagree.

Here’s what the document calls “risk factors”:

Risk Factors and Scales in the Communities That Care Youth Survey

Availability of Drugs

Availability of Firearms

Community Laws and Norms Favorable toward Drug Use, Firearms and Crime

Transitions and Mobility

Low Neighborhood Attachment and Community


Family History of the Problem Behavior

Family Management Problems

Favorable Parental Attitudes and Involvement in the Problem Behavior

Academic Failure Beginning in Late Elementary School

Lack of Commitment to School


Friends Who Engage in the Problem Behavior

Gang Involvement

Favorable Attitudes toward the Problem Behavior

Early Initiation of the Problem Behavior

Constitutional Factors

Perceived Availability of Drugs and Handguns

Laws and Norms Favorable to Drug Use and Handguns

etc. etc. etc.

But that’s not all!

Some things about the Youth Surveys are creepy.  See survey here:

Some of the questions seem to assume guilt.  They introduce substance abuse, depression, suicide  and other ideas to the minds of the youth who take the surveys, even those who may be so innocent that they don’t even understand the question.  (Why can’t we write our own, better questions if we really need this type of data for our local police or youth groups?)

For example:

  • What are the chances you would be seen as cool if you a) smoked cigarettes b) began drinking alcoholic beverages regularly c) smoked cigarettes d) carried a handgun    [Shouldn’t this be an essay question at the very least? There is no room in multiple choice]
  • Used derbisol in your lifetime?     [what the heck is derbisol and how do I mark a multiple choice quiz to say huh?]
  • We argue about the same things in my family over and over.       (Yes, YES, No, or NO)     [what a question.]
    Well, I’m not going to spend much time fighting Communities That Care.  Let the local city council make this choice.  As a parent, I’m not going to let them survey my children, anyway.

2 responses to “Euphemism Alert: on Education Reforms and Communities That Care

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  1. Thank you dear fellow English teacher. This is all so Orwellian. I am waiting for those who drive public opinion to institute the Ministry of Truth. Oh, maybe it’s name is DOE? Write on! Words are powerful weapons of truth.

    • There already seems to be a Ministry of Truth at our State Office of Education. They put out “fact v. fiction” fliers to give the “official facts” about Common Core, but they give no references so nobody can verify a word they’re saying. And when you ask them for references, your emails get ignored. When you ask for an appointment face to face to ask questions, you are denied the meeting. It is shocking how many people in high ranking positions are absolutely sold on what some of us see as threats to legitimate education. So thank you, Mrs. Tolles, for standing up for the actual truth. Two and two will never equal five. Not even if they give out fat grants and NCLB waivers to those who are willing to say so.

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