I agree with Joy Pullman: “I shouldn’t have to give a flying fig about whom Donald Trump picks for this position.”
But we care, and the figs are flying, because there’s so much power unconstitutionally wielded by the executive branch over local education.
Although Trump did say in a campaign interview that he wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, it does not look as though that’s going to happen, sadly. The next best thing is to name a local-control oriented, constitution-loving Education Secretary.
Will Trump do that?
Trump’s choice of ed guru Bill Evers to his transition team spoke hope to those opposed to Common Core. Evers, a scholar at Hoover Institute (Stanford University) had been speaking out and writing books, white papers, think tank documents, and columns against Common Core; he served on panels and published opinion editorials against the nationalization of our formerly autonomous educational system. He’d been featured widely for his scholarship and activism; see for example, Breitbart, CSPAN, Stanford University, Utahns Against Common Core, Education Reporter.
Evers proclaimed that Common Core “violated the traditions of open debate and citizen control that are supposed to undergird public schooling” and said that “Common Core’s national uniformity runs counter to competitive federalism”.
Surely Evers would turn the Common Core machine around, thought parents and freedom loving teachers across this nation, and they took action.
A public letter from United States Parents Involved in Education last week pleaded with Trump to choose Dr. Bill Evers for Education Secretary. (See who signed that letter here.)
A similar public letter from Parents Against Common Core asked Trump to consider, along with Dr. Bill Evers, Dr. Larry Arnn, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Dr. Peg Luksik, or Dr. William Jeynes.
You can still sign that letter here.
Frighteningly though, this week Trump interviewed Michelle Rhee, one of the top ten scariest education reformers in the nation, for the job; the scandal-pocked former Commissioner of Education in D.C. and author of a creepy ed reform book, “Radical” is no friend to children, to opt-out liberty, or to the free market. Of “letting them choose wherever they want to go,” she said, “I don’t believe in that model at all.” So, Goodbye freedom, under Rhee.
There should be no chance that she’s chosen. (Even though she’s suddenly, cutely, dressing in red, white and blue to meet the president elect, do not be fooled!)
I hope Trump’s receiving a storm of anti-Rhee letters this week from parents and educators at his public input website. He’s probably going to make his announcement this week. Please, please speak up.
#BillEvers for Secretary! #NeverRhee!
This must-read article is partially reposted from Emily Talmage’s blog (Maine mom against common core). I think my favorite part is the video clip at the end, depicting a real cat and a real alligator, where the cat swats and intimidates the alligator, causing it to retreat in fear. What an iconic metaphor for what we the little people are trying to do as we fight the machine.
Read the whole article at EmilyTalmage.com.
Several weeks ago, I wondered in a blog post whether or not public education would survive the next administration. Admittedly, I was all but certain at the time that Hillary Clinton would be our next president, and my predictions were more than dismal: more screen time for even our youngest children, inflated local budgets, invasive school-wide and individual data collection, a proliferation of low-quality online K-12 and higher education programs, etc.
Ever since the big shock of Tuesday night, however, I’ve been scrambling to say something coherent about what we can expect now that Donald Trump really is going to be our next president.
Will public education survive?
Here’s the funny (and by that I mean incredibly scary) thing about federal public education policy: the big agenda – the real agenda – seems to survive no matter who is put in charge.
The real agenda – the ongoing march toward a cradle-to-grave system of human capital development that relies on the most sophisticated data collection and tracking technologies to serve its unthinkably profitable end – is fueled and directed by a multi-billion dollar education-industrial-complex that has been built over the course of decades.
It’s an absolute beast, an army of epic scale, and it’s a system that has the same uncanny ability to blend in with its surroundings as a chameleon.
Take, for example, the new “innovative assessment systems” that are being thrust on us every which way in the wake of ESSA. Under the banner of free market ideology, the far-right American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is promoting the very same assessment policies that far-left groups like the national unions and the National Center for Fair and Open Testing are now pushing. And though some claim that one ideology is merely “co-opting” the ideas of the other, the reality is that they lead to the same data-mining, cradle-to-career tracking end.
Consider, too, the massive push for blended, competency-based, and digital learning – all unproven methods of educating children, but highly favored by ed-tech providers and data-miners.
Most of these corporate-backed policies were cooked up in Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, and then made their way not only to the far-right ALEC, but also to left-leaning groups like the Center for Collaborative Education, the Coalition for Essential Schools, and the Great Schools Partnership. Depending on what sort of population each group is targeting, these wolves will dress themselves up in sheep’s clothing and make appeals to different values. For the right, they will package their policies in the language of the free market and choice; for the left, they will wrap them in a blanket of social-justice terminology.
Pull back the curtain far enough, however, and you will see they are selling the same thing.
There is, of course, no question that Hillary Clinton has been deeply entrenched in the education-industrial-complex for many, many years – even profiting from it personally – and that the big agenda was going to move full speed ahead if she were elected.
But what will happen now that we’re guaranteed to have a President Trump?
Unfortunately, we need look no further than the man leading Trump’s education transition team to understand how much trouble we are in.
Not long ago, Gerard Robinson, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was one of only eleven members of the Executive Team of Jeb Bush’s “Digital Learning Now!” council, along with Joel Klein of NYC Public Schools, Gregory McGinity of the Broad Foundation, and Susan Patrick of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.
Former Gates Foundation executive Tom Vander Ark, who sits on the board of the world’s creepiest education organizations while overseeing a giant portfolio of digital and online learning companies, picked Robinson as one of his top ten reformers to watch back in 2010.
It should be no surprise, then, that Robinson recently told EdWeek: “I see [Trump] supporting blended learning models, alternative learning models,” and that he will “likely want to continue significant investments in colleges and universities, but also closely track how well graduates do in the labor market.”
That’s all part of the big agenda right there, and here is no big surprise: for-profit education chains are already seeing their stocks rise.
For those of you now protesting that Trump said he would get rid of the Department of Education, well, President Reagan said that too, but then he sponsored a report called “A Nation at Risk” which kicked the role of the federal government in education into high gear. According to Robinson, Trump may “streamline” the department …whatever that means.
As for rumors circulating that either Ben Carson or William Evers of the Hoover Institute will be tapped for the role of Education Secretary under Trump, I think we’re more likely to get someone akin to what Robinson told Edweek: “Someone from the private sector, who may not have worked in education directly, but may be involved in philanthropy or some kind of reform.”
So what does this mean for us? For our kids, our schools and our communities?
More than likely, it won’t be much different nor any less dismal than what I wrote when I assumed Hillary would be president: more screen time for even our youngest children, inflated local budgets to support one-to-one tech initiatives, invasive (way more invasive) school-wide and individual data collection, and a proliferation of low-quality online K-12 and higher education programs.
And this is a big unless..
Unless parents and activists from across the political spectrum can mobilize now and stand up now to say enough is enough. We knowwhat the big agenda is, and we aren’t going to manipulated by superficial policy change anymore.
This means that those who lean right can’t afford to go back to sleep once they hear talk of school choice and vouchers and the elimination of Common Core, and those leaning left can’t afford to throw in the towel or be led astray by phony anti-privatization movements run by neoliberal groups pushing the same darn thing as everyone else…
Read the rest here…
I can’t wait to read Drilling Through the Core.
I’m sharing this brand new book before reading it myself, because I know these authors and I’ve read their work, making it a must-read for me.
You can check out the book’s review at: The Corner (National Review) by Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Buy the book here.
of Drilling Through the Core
says: “It’s all here, from the most basic explanation of what Common Core is, to the history, the major arguments for and against, and so much more. The controversies over both the English and math standards are explained; the major players in the public battle are identified; the battle over Gates Foundation’s role is anatomized; the roles of the tests and the testing consortia are reviewed; concerns over data-mining and privacy are laid out; the dumbing-down effect on the college curriculum is explained; as is the role of the Obama administration and the teachers unions. I found the sections on “big data” particularly helpful. I confess that despite my considerable interest in Common Core, I hadn’t much followed the data-mining issue. Boy was that a mistake.
It strikes me that the potential for abuse of personal data is substantially greater in the case of Common Core than in the matter of national security surveillance. With Common Core we are talking about databases capable of tracking every American individual from kindergarten through adulthood, and tremendous potential for the sharing of data with not only government but private groups…
Click to hear this week’s KFI radio interview with Dr. Bill Evers on Common Core, on KFI AM, Los Angeles. Dr. Evers is a scholar at the Hoover Institute of Stanford University. He has been an outspoken critic of the Common Core initiative from the beginning of the movement.
In addition to this radio Q & A with Dr. Evers, you’ll get to hear some VERY lively clips of parents, including a terrible one I hadn’t heard before about “daddy-baby biology”. (It is an example of the kinds of negative “curricular” value shifting that’s trickling into school rooms now, as more and more local control goes away under the Common Core power shift.)
In this interview, Dr. Evers also reminds listeners that they can legally opt their children out of any test for any reason at any time.
A few weeks ago, Vacaville, California hosted a pro- and con- Common Core Forum.
Speakers include Bill Evers, of Hoover Institute, Stanford University; Wendy Hart, of Alpine School Board, Alpine, Utah; Daly Gordon Koch, 4th grade teacher; Jeannette LaFors, former teacher and education analyst.
Pro Common Core:
Daly Jordan Koch, California Teachers Association teachers union
Jeannette LaFors, Education West-West
Con Common Core:
Bill Evers, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
Wendy Hart, parent, Highland, Utah
Opening statements begin at minute 11:30, followed by a round table discussion, questions and responses among panelists; and questions and answers with audience members.
This week, concerned parents of the Conejo Valley Unified School District in California held a forum about Common Core.
One of the first panelists in the video is Stanford Professor and Hoover Institute researcher Bill Evers, who shares facts, experiences, lively stories and teacher quotes that point out the absurdity of accepting the Common Core, on academic and on federalism-related issues.
Professor Sandra Stotsky is another panelist. Dr. Stotsky served on the official Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on the standards because they do not prepare students adequately and because they reduce literary study.
Here’s the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srYHUdSpuR0
Jamie Gass, of the Boston-based thinktank Pioneer Institute, speaks at a news conference as Indiana Senator Scott Schneider and Hoover Institute Scholar Bill Evers observe.
Indystar article by Jill Disis explains what’s being debated in Indiana about Common Core: http://www.indystar.com/article/20130115/NEWS05/130115032/Sen-Scott-Schneider-reintroduces-bill-withdraw-state-from-Common-Core-standards
Here are highlights from the Indystar article–
Jamie Gass of Pioneer Institute spoke this week at a news conference in support of Indiana Senator Scott Schneider’s proposal to withdraw Indiana schools from the Common Core Initiative.
Senator Schneider has stated that “Common Core nationalizes education and dumbs down Indiana’s previous academic standards.” Common Core is a program “backed by President Barack Obama’s administration,” and “the administration offered states an incentive to participate by tying federal grant money to the program,” the Indystar reported.
Independent sources say the Common Core makes traditional methods of teaching and learning more challenging. For example, Bill Evers, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and former U.S. assistant secretary of education for policy, attended the news conference in support of Senator Schneider’s bill.
Evers explains that the Common Core method of adding two numbers together is less useful for learners: “Normally, you start from the ones (column) and you normally start by borrowing or what’s otherwise called regrouping… There are some other ways, some alternative, not-as-good ways.”
But in a Common Core Indiana math book, children are instructed to add from the 100s column and move left-to-right.
“You can do it that way, but it’s harder to teach.”
Proponent of Common Core Larry Grau, the Indiana State Director of Democrats for Education Reform, said “Common Core doesn’t change the way things are taught.”
Larry Grau, Director of Indiana Democrats for Education Reform
Full article: http://www.indystar.com/article/20130115/NEWS05/130115032/Sen-Scott-Schneider-reintroduces-bill-withdraw-state-from-Common-Core-standards