Archive for the ‘constitutional issues’ Tag
Betsy DeVos, America’s newly appointed Secretary of Education, is quite adorable. She interviews like America’s Sweetheart, her name sounds like Betsy Ross, and she says she’s opposed to the Common Core.
But the parents who began Stop Common Core in Michigan say DeVos used her Michigan big-funding machine to block, rather than to assist, the Stop Common Core parents’ nearly successful legislation that would have repealed the Common Core.
DeVos’ Greater Lakes Education Project (GLEP) sounds like the Michigan version of Utah’s Education First / Prosperity 2020. Organizations like Michigan’s GLEP or Utah’s Education First are wealthy Common Core-promoters that give ear candy to, and then fund, any candidate who is willing to take their ear candy and campaign cash. Then they’re obliged to vote as the Common Core machine calls the shots.
DeVos, like Bill Gates, is on board with Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Educational Excellence (another huge Common Core promo tank.) DeVos, like Gates, also wrote checks to the Clinton Foundation.
So where are Betsy DeVos’s loyalties?
As Jane Robbins recently noted, “It simply doesn’t make sense that DeVos would contribute boatloads of money to – and even lead — organizations that actively push a policy with which she disagrees. Would a pro-life philanthropist write checks to Planned Parenthood because the abortion mill provides the occasional Pap test?”
A true liberty lover would only do this if she, like so many Americans, doesn’t fully understand what the Common Core machine is doing. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. I know a lot of good people who have only the vaguest idea what the Common Core machine is doing or will do.
So let’s clarify.
The Common Core machine loves money, not children. It clearly steals from children. It really is that simple.
I’d like to see DeVos speak out about the following:
The initiative has stolen academic freedom and privacy. It is stealing social-emotional data without parental consent. It is stealing what we used to call classical education. It is stealing the local ability to make decisions about what will be on the test –and, by extension, what will be in the book and on the essay. It is stealing student dollars that could go elsewhere (to teachers, buses, field trips, desks, basketballs, glue sticks, pencils) and is diverting it to tech coffers: Pearson, Microsoft, etc. No profit left behind.
Money, money, money –and comforting ear candy– make the machine’s operators feel great about being it’s operators.
Ever since Bill Gates openly courted American legislators in 2009 and identified as a “large, uniform base of customers” the sitting ducks (schools) waiting to be bankrolled, schools and legislative ed committees have become the hot market for businesses and philanthropic activists. This power grab, away from parents and local school boards, toward the corporate-governmental partnerships, has been monumental.
Core pushers’ “ear candy” sells well. They make it sound as if the machine’s primarily about ed tech progress –bringing new, good things to kids– but it’s primarily about adults who love money.
How many ed tech salesmen, governors, senators or representatives have really stopped to consider consequences –intentional or unintentional– of the standardizing of everything in education and in education governance?
They’ve pushed data mining without informed parental consent, pushed common, national ed data systems, pushed unvalidated tests and curriculum –on an entire nation of student guinea pigs.
It has been, and continues to be, a mad dash toward Gates’ vision of schools as the shiny, shiny, “uniform customer base”:
If you’ve seen the latest Disney movie: remember how the creepy bling-crab looks at Moana? That’s how I picture Mr. Bill “Uniform Customer Base” Gates, the ed tech corporations, the government data miners, and the business-model charter pushers, looking at schools.
School dollars are so shiny! It’s the money, not what’s best for children, that they see.
But as I watched DeVos’ interview in which she explained her vision of the school choice movement, I thought: she’s sincere in her belief. She really buys the school choice line.
But has she (or most Americans) really thought it all the way through?
It’s as if we were buying a house. We love the curb appeal and the front door of the School Choice idea. We take a step inside and shout, “Sold!” But… what about the rotted attic that no one checked? What about the weird, moldy basement? Is there a kitchen? Are there enough bedrooms?
Why aren’t more people asking SERIOUS questions about School Choice and about the Common Core machine? Because the words on the surface just sound good? Because the entryway of the house looks fantastic? (Who would be opposed to allowing disadvantaged kids in to better schools? Who wouldn’t like choice? That’s sweet ear candy, right?)
The notion of school choice is a false choice, because where government dollars are, government mandates are.
It’s like the old Ford ad:
Think about it.
Vouchers for school choice are not reimbursed cash; they’re government subsidies, and anything that the government subsidizes, it regulates.
The beauty of private schools has always been freedom. Parents can pay the nuns to teach their Catholic children right out of the Bible. What happens when a disadvantaged child from a Catholic family takes a government voucher to pay for private religious school tuition?
That particular money can destroy that particular school.
By putting vouchers into private schools, we turn those private schools into government-regulated schools (aka public schools) and those private schools will not longer be free to teach –things like religion or morality. Nor will those private schools be free to continue to protect data privacy of teachers or students; human data is always one of the items that federal monies trade schools for, in exchange for cash. Read that paragraph again.
“He who pays the piper calls the tune” means that if the feds pay then the private schools, as pipers, have to play what they’ve been paid to play. And that’s the music of the Common March.
The beauty of (some) charter schools has been the illusion that parents had more say in what went on (almost like a private school). But under Common Core, that’s changing. Many charter schools now have businesses running them, not elected board members running them. Where’s the local control in that? This gets rid of voters’ voices, parents’ voices. With the Great Commonizing, even legitimate, good differences between public schools and charter schools seem very temporary.
Under the Common Core machine– with its federally approved schoolrooms, nationalized “truths” that trump local academic freedom, federally urged data mining, disregard for parental consent to data mine, disregard for teaching autonomy –what’s any real, lasting difference between what a child in a charter will experience and what a child in a public school or (eventually) even a private school would ultimately experience? The Common march means there will be no real differences permitted at length.
I am guessing that DeVos doesn’t know that the Common Core machine is building a socialistic, factory model of education according to the vision of the Tucker-Clinton conspiracy. I’m guessing, too, that she hasn’t heard (or dismisses) what whistleblower Charlotte Iserbyt has been saying for years:
“The goal of school choice… is the takeover of the public and private school sectors through partnerships with the corporate sector in order to implement socialist work force training… Carnegie Corporation, in its little blue book entitled “Conclusions and Recommendations for the Social Studies” 1934, called for using the schools to change our nation’s free market economy to a planned economy.” Hmm– a planned, centralized economy– that means, no local control. I don’t believe that’s what DeVos really hopes to build. I don’t think she, or Heritage Foundation, or FreedomWorks, have really thought this all the way through while wearing their Constitution-framed glasses.
In her Florida interview, DeVos said (minute 7:40-8:09) that she wanted people to rethink the public school “system that was brought to us 200 years ago by the Prussians, very much an industrial, factory model of education… Technology has brought so many new opportunities… we need to allow people who are innovative and creative to come and help us think differently about how we can do education”.
I don’t think she understands that the factory model’s exactly where the school choice movement eventually leads: First, it leads there because vouchers can strip private schools of religious, moral and academic freedom, and second, because if we move away from the elected-board-run public schools to business-owned, no-elected-board charter models, we have erased our own voices and votes even in public education.
While you’re folding laundry or jogging later today, listen to Constitution-defending lawyer KrisAnne Hall as she explains the trouble with DeVoss, vouchers and school choice in this podcast.
Hall notes that Americans are confused about their desire for limited government and local control versus their desire for big socialist programs: “Amongst our conservative circles… we want limited government –unless we want government to define marriage. We want limited government –unless we want government to control our consumption of plants. We want limited government –unless it has to do with education.”
She also notes that while Trump wants to give $20 billion in federal grants to poor children— not to all children. The middle and upper classes are not invited to the school choice party.
Have the Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks considered that?
As president, I will establish the national goal of providing school choice to every American child living in poverty. If we can put a man on the moon… we can provide school choice to every disadvantaged child in America…”
If you remember nothing else from this blog post, remember this:
- School choice and vouchers are not for all American children; they are for those whom the federal government will designate as recipients. It’s favoritism and it’s socialism and it’s legal plunder: A pays for B to go to the school of B’s choice. If A doesn’t pay, A goes to jail.
- Whether B goes to this school or that one is only a partial liberty because all the schools receiving money from government school vouchers must abide by federal regulations: data mining kids, removing religious and academic liberty from private schools, and controlling teachers.
A Related P.S.
On January 5, 2017, there will be a new public hearing in Chicago, where unit record identifiers and Public Law 114-140 will be discussed. The federal Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking (CEP)’s boiled-down purpose seems to be to cater to the federal/corporate desire for more student “evidence,” in the form of school-gleaned personal data, minus student/parental rights of privacy/ informed consent; but, to do it with the “public input” box checked off. So let’s comment. If you can go to Chicago, go. If not, submit written comment to CEP.
To learn about the last such hearing, click here and here.
Submit your request to participate to Input@cep.gov no later than Sunday, December 18, 2016
Include in your request the following information:
- Name and Professional Affiliation (if applicable)
- 2-3 Sentence Abstract
- Written Statement (preferably in .pdf format)
Commission staff will inform you of your assigned speaking time and logistical details no later than December 23, 2016.
Visit CEP.gov closer to the event date for webcast and caption details.
Additional Upcoming Meetings & Hearings:
- December 12, 2016, Washington, DC (National Press Club) – Federal Models for Evidence – Building
- January 13, 2017, Washington, DC (National Academy of Sciences) – State and International Models for Evidence- Building
- February 9, 2017, San Francisco, CA – Public Hearing
I would absolutely love to see Betsey DeVos at that CEP Chicago hearing next month. I would love to see her fight for students’ data privacy rights against the federal Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking (CEP). I want to see her true colors.
I so hope that I’ve read her completely wrong; I so hope she’s truly opposed to what the Common Core Initiative has wrought.
At the #AboutTheChild conference in Houston last week, B&L Network speakers said that even in the middle of a struggle we might seem to be losing, we have great power and great hope.
Although America is seeing dangerous shifts in who can and who cannot amend tests, in who controls (and does not protect) children’s data; in who gets to redefine even babies’ “educations” as a collective-economy-purposed thing; while we see corporate and federal “central planners” ram initiatives without a vote to assume “stakeholder” rights over our little ones– even in this awful situation, we can defend children’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happy education; that is, time-tested, soul-enlarging, non-Common Core education.
I cannot do the conference justice briefly, yet I want to try. A few moments that stood out came from these speeches:
1 Troy Towns, an Alabama minister and political activist, spoke about the numbers of people who should be actively involved in the fight against Common Core and other false reforms. He retold the story of Gideon in the Old Testament. Not only did it not bother the Lord that Gideon was vastly outnumbered; the Lord told Gideon to reduce his numbers, by sending away all warriors who were fearful. Then the Lord instructed Gideon further, to send away all those who were not alert to the enemy while drinking at the stream. Reduced to 300 people, surrounded by countless armies, the Lord then led Gideon’s group to victory… It’s not about numbers. It’s not about who appears to be winning in the moment. It is about who is on the side of true and honorable principles.
2. Daisy Whisenant, Texas advisor in the Christian Educators Association International, a Christian teacher’s union, implored listeners to let teachers and students know the truth about “separation between Church and State”. That idea is designed to prevent governments from promoting one religion above another, while upholding all religions’ freedom of speech. It is not designed to shut down religious discussions. A teacher is a government employee, but a child is not. Nongovernmental citizens (students of all ages) may speak and write freely about their religious beliefs. For more information, visit CEAI.
3. Jason Hoyt, Florida radio personality and author, discussed what “Consent of the Governed” means. The concept is also the title of his book. (Click here to find the book Consent of the Governed. ) I read it on my trip home. It teaches the history of local, state, and federal grand juries, and outlines the disintegration of that constitutional authority, which serves –or should serve– as a fourth branch and a check on the other three branches. The book shows that if “We the People” reclaim proper controls of our grand juries, we can reclaim vital, lost political power –more effectively than if we rely only on elections as the means to enforce fair government.
4. Angelique Clark, a Las Vegas high school student, spoke about the stand she took and the fight that ensued as she founded a pro-life group for teen activists. When her application for a high school pro-life club was denied, Angelique fought for her First Amendment rights inside a school, with a lawsuit to the school district that finally allowed her to form the pro-life club. She won. Her story has been seen on Fox & Friends, On the Record with Greta, Fox, Bill O’Reilly, and elsewhere.
5. Dr. Karen Effrem, a pediatrician, author and researcher, a leader of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition and of Education Liberty Watch, spoke about the amount of data being collected on every public school student in the nation without parental knowledge or consent; about the psychological and belief data-gathering goals outlined in the US Department of Education’s “Developing Grit, Tenacity and Persistance” Report; about the unfortunate, newly passed, Every Student Succeeds Act; and about the monster on the horizon, the “Strengthening Education Through Research Act“. Her presentation should be seen by every member of the U.S. Congress.
6. Dr. Peg Luksik, a former reform evaluator for the U.S. Department of Education, a lifelong teacher, speaker, and honoree by multiple U.S. Presidents, spoke about the idea of common standards. She asked the audience if there was such a thing as good standards, and answered her question: no. There is no such thing as a good set of standards because every child is so different. She has a child who is a math genius, who cannot do ballet. She has a daughter who is a ballet genius, who cannot do math. She asked: where would the proper, common standard be for those two children? The idea of top-down decision making for teachers and students is ridiculous. She said that years ago, “Outcome Based Education” was pushed on the nation, and was defeated by a handful of level-headed patriots. Common Core and its related initiatives are the same thing, repackaged. Those who would be central planners of all children’s lives must be defeated again.
7. Dr. Duke Pesta, an energetic literature professor and administrator at Freedom Project Academy, spoke about the devious history of the Common Core Initiative, up to its promoters’ most recent coup against liberty, the Every Student Succeeds Act. He emphasized the words of Arne Duncan about the Every Student Succeeds Act, and pointed out that even trusted Republican leadership betrayed liberty with ESSA. We must be smarter and faster in overturning the deceptions of this fight. (FYI, Utahns: rumor has it that Dr. Pesta will be speaking in Utah this April.)
8. Neil Mammen, a minister and activist at NoBlindFaith.com (author of 40 Days to a More Godly Nation and Jesus Is Involved in Politics: Why Aren’t You?) echoed the message given by Troy Towns (about Gideon and the numbers-of-warriors issue, above) as he spoke about the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V. In the scene, when Westmoreland laments not having ten thousand more men to help them fight, the king responds:
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day. (Read the whole speech.)
9. Joan Landes, a Utah therapist, crystallized the issue when she said that the problem with government initiatives like Common Core and its web of tests and controls is that it hurts human relationships. Her presentation about reversing Saul Alinsky’s evil tactics, and her idea of asking every concerned citizen to spend five minutes or five dollars as often as they can, were truly remarkable.
I spoke, too. The heart of my speech, “Reclaiming Parental Power” came from a realization I had a few nights before the conference, as I thought about the awful situation that is U.S. Education Reform today. As I wondered how we can keep going in the face of losing, losing, and losing (Common Core is still here; Common Education Standards and Longitudinal Databases are still here; the ESSA federal law makes things so much less free; and SETRA may soon make them even worse) –I had a clear thought: HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH A MOM IN CHINA– or a mom in any socialist/communist nation, for that matter? You would have no freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom to publish, freedom to work to repeal bad laws. You hardly have freedom to think, in China. A lover of freedom living in China, loving her children, would give her arms or legs to have the opportunity to face the problems that we face. Arms and legs.
The glass will always be half full– never half empty– as long as there is a person left in America who remembers the words and the spirit of the U.S. Constitution.
Freedom is always worth the fight.
Children will always be the reason.
This blog post is a partial, inadequate sampling that has not included many additional, wonderful speakers at the conference. Every speaker (see biographies and speaker list here) –was moving.
If you missed the conference and the livestream, you can still watch it as part of a package deal with B&L* Network by purchasing a B&L year membership here. I’m advertising it because:
The conference speakers were an inspiration, and their words need to be heard far and wide, as do the messages from United States Parents In Education (USPIE) which held a press conference as part of this conference, rolling out a campaign to #StopFedEd. Also, importantly, consider this: the conference organizer was Alabama homemaker and radio show host Diana Crews, who, with her sweet husband, a professional trucker, went into debt to make this conference happen. If nobody watches, she stays in debt. This was her sacrifice because she believes in making this issue About The Child. It’s not about the “global economy” or the “school to workforce pipeline” or about “human capital”. It is about the child.
To support B&L, click here.
* (If you want to know what B & L stands for– and I asked, and was so glad I did– it’s Bears and Lord; as in, Mama & Papa Bears and their Lord).
Senator “Let’s-Don’t-Talk-About-Common-Core” LaMar Alexander has proposed a bill to amend ESEA (No Child Left Behind Act) in order “to restore freedom”. The bill is called the “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015“.
I read the 387-pager after I learned that education experts, slated to testify against the bill, had abruptly been dismissed and were told that the bill had been “fast-tracked,” so there wouldn’t be time for them to speak. —No time to hear testimony and debate about a historic, child-impacting bill?
I read this bill with these six facts and questions in mind:
Fact 1. There’s a de facto federal database composed of fifty individual databases with interoperable State Longitudinal Database Systems. These feed on the federal school testing/data collecting system, and feed different federal databases and their powerful branches. This clearly violates “consent of the governed” because nobody can opt out.
QUESTION 1: Would LaMar’s bill restore “consent of the governed” to education and to student data mining?
Fact 2. There’s a federal testing system comprised of Common Core aligned, synchronized testing partnerships: PARCC, SBAC, and AIR. This violates Constitutional separation of powers since the federal government has no business in state-directed educational affairs such as testing.
QUESTION 2: Would LaMar’s bill restore separation of powers and deny federal supervision of school tests?
Fact 3. There’s a corporate cartel of educational technology and text sellers (Pearson Inc, partnered with Gates/Microsoft, etc) advising the federal testing system. This violates the Constitutional principle of agency; individuals and states are coerced to use certain corporations’ products with federal approval.
QUESTION 3: Would LaMar’s bill restore a diverse exchange of academic ideas to the American textbook and technology market?
Fact 4. The corporate cartel finances the private groups that created and copyrighted the common education and the common data tags programs. Federal approval of such financing and implementation is clear by the official partnering of the U.S. Dept. of Education with the private creator-copyrighter groups. That violates consent of the governed, too.
QUESTION 4: Would LaMar’s bill create fairness and freedom for non-Common Core aligned education providers?
Fact 5. Because Common Core standards are copyrighted, states (voters, teachers, you and I) don’t get to vote on them. There’s no amendment process for any state to alter Common Core Standards nor the Common Education Data System (CEDS). Federal promotion and partnershipping with those who copyrighted nonamendable standards, violates states’ rights and consent of the governed.
QUESTION 5: Would LaMar’s bill move us away from these chokehold national standards and restore individual agency?
Fact 6. Both Republican and Democratic politicians are hacking at the limbs of the Constitution openly, aiming to phase out the authority of the states and of parents regarding educational authority, privacy and other issues. Aiming to “phase out the authority of states” is blatantly unconstitutional.
QUESTION 6: Would LaMar’s bill stop the Department of Education’s agenda to “phase out state authority”?
Now, to the bill.
I knew from page one that this was going to be a big, fat two-tongued document because the bill’s purpose statement: “to restore freedom” conflicts with its own title: “The Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015“.
This bill by its title and throughout its text cements the Common Core Initiative into federal law without once using the term “Common Core”. How?
Did you know that the phrase College and Career Ready has been repeatedly, federally and corporationally defined in multiple places as only Common Core. (See College and Career Ready definition: the Dept. of Education defines college and career ready standards as “standards common to a significant number of states.” There is one thing that meets that definition. Anytime you see “college and career ready,” run; it equals only the Common Core.
Can a bill claim to restore freedom while it promotes the exact, synonymous term that takes freedom in education away?
On page three I found red flag #2: “Close the achievement gap between high and low performing children“. It’s another way of saying “everyone has to be the same at any cost– even at the price of slowing or dumbing down high achievers.” Posing as fairness, it’s precisely the opposite, as nonsensical as the Handicapper General in Harrison Bergeron. ( The funny, tragic short story of Harrison Bergeron is online if you haven’t read it.)
The bill explains how money must be allocated to ensure that the achievement gap-closing happens. The Harrison Bergeron-ian “fairness” will be enforced with (our) tax dollars in federally set ways.
On page 8 we learn: States will have to create a peer review board with the purpose of promoting “effective implementation of the challenging State academic standards“. A mandated review board will promote implementation of Common Core, the very thing so many hope to eradicate. Note the slickness: later on the same page, it says: “with the goal of supporting State- and local-led innovation”. It’s pleasant sounding, but it’s a lie; one can’t support local innovation while implementing centrally controlled, Common Core standards on a federally mandated review board.
I already don’t want to read the rest of the 379 pages. I’m only on page 8.
Next is a section called “State Plan Determination, Demonstration and Revision” which makes me wonder: why should states demonstrate to the federal government, when education is not in federal jurisdiction? (Calling for “accountability” without authority to make that call should always raise eyebrows. I’m envisioning Emperor Arne being fed grapes while the Constitution is being used as bird cage liner.) This gets worse when the bill says that the Secretary of Education can decline to approve a State plan (pages 8 and 9) and that the Secretary of Education would withhold funds from states who don’t comply. (page 12) This is clearly out of harmony with the bill’s stated purpose “to restore freedom” as well as being out of harmony with the U.S. Constitution.
Page 13: The same standards have to be used throughout the entire state. They have to be aligned with state college standards. (They can’t be lower, but they can’t be any higher, either, than the worst of any state college. They can’t align with any unusually high private university standards.) This control freakishness –and this obvious dumbing down, may succeed in closing that achievement gap but only by harming high achievers, it seems to me.
Page 16: In complete contradiction to pages 8 and 9, this section says that the Secretary has no authority to supervise or direct state standards.
Page 17: Here we go with the assessments. Every state must use standardized tests aligned to the college-and-career-ready standards (Common).
Page 20: Here we go with the data collecting: tests must “produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports… include information regarding achievement on assessments… provided… in an understandable and uniform format” [meaning, I am sure: Common Educational Data Standards and SIF interoperability formats, which preclude strong privacy protection].
The data collected must be disaggregated, says the bill, by state and by school using these factors: gender, economic status, race, ethnicity, English proficiency, disability, migratory status, etc., but will not be personally identifiable. (Hmm. On page 20 they just said tests must report on “individual interpretive, descriptive and diagnostic reports.” How is that not personally identifiable?)
On page 34 I’m troubled by this: “achievement gaps between each category of students described“. So they will divide and label student achievement groups by race, by gender, by ability, by economic status, etc. to further identify groups.
On page 35 the bill identifies schools that must be “turned around”.
On page 37 the state assures the federal government that it will participate in the NAEP test for 4th and 8th graders.
On page 39 the bill mandates uniform state report cards.
On page 54 the “Local Educational Agency Plan” mandates identifying students and identifying achievement gaps. The plan also funds HeadStart or other government preschools.
Page 66 tells states how they have to spend any unused money.
Page 89 gives priority to low achievers.
Page 92-96 discusses private schools and how Title I funds will follow the low income child. Where funding goes, strings are attached and mandates (i.e., data mining and government tests) follow. Title I funds look like the way Common Core aims to infiltrate charter schools and private schools.
Page 99: Grants for Common Tests: The Secretary of Education will give grants to pay for tests and standards, if the states are working in partnership with other states.
Page 101: Summative, interim and formative tests will be developed or improved. (More Common Core testing, more frequently, and more in disguise–as practice or as assignments, rather than traditional end of the year summative tests.)
Page 111: “At risk” students will be indentified, intervened, and reported.
Page 117: If there is failure to reach consensus, the Secretary of Education is empowered to act on his own with the “alternative process” that “if Secretary determines that a negotiated rulemaking process is unnecessary...” he simply tells Congress (not asks, tells) –and then he does his own thing, allowing for public comment afterward, and then, finally, makes it an official regulation. I hope people are reading this.
Page 135: Here the states are told the conditions by which they will make subgrants to schools and to teachers.
Page 145: This fulfils Arne Duncan’s dream of replacing family with school as the centerpiece of life and community, “providing programs that…extend the school day, school week, or school year calendar.” Remember what the Secretary Duncan said in his Charlie Rose interview? This is his one minute video:
Page 153: “Secretary may waive” requirements. So this may be a Congressionally vetted law, but it’s more of a suggestion than a hard and fast law, always subject to the whims of the Secretary. This is repeated on page 224: “The Secretary may waive any statutory or regulatory requirement… with respect to charter schools.. if.. Secretary determines that granting such a waiver will promote the purposes...”
Page 163: Grant recipients must provide data to the federal Secretary of Education.
Page 226: On Charter Schools: “support the opening of… replication of… charter schools… expansion of high quality charter schools”.
Page 229: “A description of how the State will actively monitor and hold authorized public chartering agencies accountable… including… revoking the authority of an authorized chartering agency based on the performance of the charter school… in areas of student achievement… and compliance”.
Page 249: The Secretary of Education can take money out of the charter school’s reserve account if the grant wasn’t used in “carrying out the purposes” of the Secretary.
[On and on and on the bill rambles about charter school expansion and federal controls on the charter schools. Endless pages are devoted to charter schools. Why the increased interest of the federal government in supporting charter schools? Because charter schools don’t have elected school boards. The ruling bodies of charter schools are appointed, not elected. In some places, philanthropists and huge corporations are administering charter schools –with zero accountability to any parent or any voter. This is education without representation! This is why the Obama Administration is pushing to identify and “turn around” “low performing” public schools and turn them into voter-untouchable institutions of the cartels and governments who benefit from that kind of power.] I happen to have one child who attends a charter school and I know from personal experience that the board is under no obligation to listen to any parent, and no parent can vote a board member out. You’re just lucky if the board happens to be made of people with whom you share values and goals for children.]
Page 268 talks about using magnet schools to desegregate “students of different racial backgrounds”. I don’t agree with redistribution by government force of anything– not money, not teachers, not not principals, not standards, and not students of different races. But the Department of education does.
Page 276 “State Innovation and Flexibility“: think about the way that title rations liberty. What would the founding fathers say about the federal government creating a document with a section heading titled like that? States are allowed to have some innovation? Some flexibility? Those are sub-particles of a rationed freedom, not freedom at all.
Page 297: “Indian, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native Education” – This part has me confused. Someone please comment below if you understand it. Why would the federal government spend pages and pages and pages outlining different rules for these specific minority groups? Not just a few— a LOT of pages.
Page 369: “Participation by private school children and teachers” – By definition, private school children and their teachers are to be left completely alone by the government; that’s what private means. Why is this federal law taking the effort and time to mention them? If, according to page 92, the Title One funds follow the private school child to his/her school, then the government will be taking reports, data mining, and putting out mandates as well.
The answer to each of my six questions, from the top, is “no”.
The stated purpose of the bill is “to restore freedom”. Does this happen? No.
The bill –without even using the term “Common Core” a single time, works to cement Common Core. It supports more common tests and emboldens the collectors of both academic and nonacademic personal student data (without parental consent), will intrude on private schools; and decreases representative school decision making by replacing a large number of public schools with no-elected-board, no-vote-allowed, charter schools; all under the banner of equitably meeting student needs and “closing an achievement gap.”
Please do something positive: tell your senators and reps to help push an actual freedom-granting bill in education.
I learned with gratitude today from Utah’s Mia Love that she is working with Rep. Joe Wilson on a bill “to allow states to opt out of Common Core without being penalized.” Support Mia Love. Write to her. Rep. Wilson, too. Please call other Congressmen and ask them to work with her and support her.
David Vitters’ bill, too, sounds a thousand times more honest than Alexander’s ESEA “Every Child College and Career Ready Act of 2015”.
Vitters’ bill (S73) is “A bill to prohibit the Federal Government from mandating, incentivizing, or coercing States to adopt the Common Core State Standards or any other specific academic standards, instructional content, curricula, assessments, or programs of instruction.” https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s73 )
—But LaMar Alexander’s ESEA? No.
Peter Greene, teacher, blogger and Huffington Post writer, has written another funny and fascinating ed reform article. In this one, he highlights the findings of University of South Carolina law professor Derek W. Black. Black’s soon-to-be-published findings include the following:
“Two of the most significant events in the history of public education occurred over the last year. First, after two centuries of local control and variation, states adopted a national curriculum. Second, states changed the way they would evaluate and retain teachers, significantly altering teachers’ most revered right, tenure. Not all states adopted these changes of their own free will. The changes were the result of the United States Secretary of Education exercising unprecedented agency power in the midst of an educational crisis: the impending failure of almost all of the nation’s schools under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The Secretary invoked the power to impose new conditions on states in exchange for waiving their obligations under NCLB…. As a practical matter, he federalized education in just a few short months.”
Peter Greene divides the law journal article into four simple, easy-to-digest segments, and explains them. You will laugh as you learn.
For example, under “Part I: No Changing the Rules” Greene writes: “When the feds pass a law, they have to lay out all the rules that do and will apply to that law. You can’t pass a law, start folks working under it, and then years later announce, ‘Oh, yeah, and by the way, we’ve changed this law about making cheese sandwiches so that it also covers sloppy joes, and also, if you don’t go along with us on this, we get to take your car.”Also, you can’t suddenly say, ‘We’ve given my brother-in-law the power to judge your sloppy joes.’ Conditions for receiving federal fund must be “unambiguous” and non-coercive.”
Both the funny and easy-to-understand analysis of Duncan’s illegal waiver-waving, and the official law journal publication by Dr. Derek Black, as soon as it becomes available to the public, must be read and shared.
Let’s stop the Department of Education’s lawless disrespect for constitutional local control of education –and protect our children– by learning and then sharing these facts widely.
Folks, there can be no question that the federal government is using Common Core to take away our freedoms.
So why do many people still believe that “there’s no federal control of Common Core”? Because trusted education leaders are not being forthright with –or are not in possession of– the truth. Here in Utah, for example, the Utah State Office of Education, has a “fact-versus-fiction” pamphlet which still says that the standards “are not federally controlled.”
The fact is that states that adopted Common Core standards are being co-parented by two groups in partnership, neither of which takes seriously the constitutional rights of the states to govern education locally: these partners are 1) The federal government and 2) Private trade clubs financed by Bill Gates– NGA and CCSSO.
So first, here’s evidence of terrible federal controls: (click to fact check, please)
1. Federal micromanagement in Common Core testing grant conditions and now, Race to the Top grant lures that go directly to districts and ignore state authority over districts.
2.Federal ESEA 15% capped waiver conditions that deny states the right to add more than 15% to our standards;
3. Federal reviews of tests
4. Federal data collection
5. Federal disfiguration of previously protective FERPA laws that removed parental rights over student data;
6. President Obama’s four assurances for education reform which governors promised to enact in exchange for ARRA stimulus funds;
7.Obama’s withholding of funds from schools that do not adopt Common Core as read in his Blueprint for Reform (aka The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) which says, “Beginning in 2015, formula funds will be available only to states that are implementing assessments based on college- and career-ready standards that are common to a significant number of states.”
And here’s evidence of unelected, corporate controls of Common Core:
1) Common Core copyrights (and “living work” alteration rights) are held solely by two unelected, private clubs, the superintendents’ club (aka CCSSO) and a governors’ club (aka NGA).
2) These two clubs’ Common Core creation was influenced and funded not by voters/taxpayers, by the politically extreme Bill Gates, who has spent over $5 Billion on his personal, awful version of education reform– and that dollar amount is his own admission.
3) No amendment process exists for states to co-amend the “living work” standards. The “living work” statement means that OUR standards will be changed without representation from US as the states; it will be controlled by the private trade groups CCSSO/NGA.
4) Bill Gates and Pearson are partnered. (Biggest ed sales company partnered with 2nd richest man on earth, all in the effort to force Common Core on everyone.)
5) The speech of corporate sponsor Bill Gates when he explains that “We’ll only know [Common Core] this works when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.” This explains why he is giving away so much money so that companies can be united in the gold rush of creating Common Core curriculum.
6. Virtually every textbook sales company now loudly advertises being “common core aligned” which creates a national monopoly on textbook-thought. This, despite the fact that the standards are unpiloted, experimental (in the words of Dr. Christopher Tienken, Common Core is education malpractice.)
7. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many huge corporations (ExxonMobil) are loudly selling Common Core as a way of creating wealth, despite the standards’ untested nature.
The federal partnering with the private groups like CCSSO/NGA, means that mandates and thought-monopolies of Common Core are truly beyond even legislative control. –Because they are privately controlled, they’re beyond voters’ influence.
This is why nothing short of an outright rejection of all things Common Core can restore us to educational freedom.
Why should you care? Why should you fight this, even if you don’t have children in school? Because of the Constitution.
The Constitution sets us apart as the only country on earth that has ever truly had the “freedom experiment” work. This makes us a miraculous exception. Why would we ever shred the Constitution by accepting initiatives that disfigure our representative system?
The G.E.P.A. law states that “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”
So the federal government is prohibited from creating tests or instructional materials– but the private groups NGA and CCSSO, funded by Gates, are not! This is why the federal Department of Education officially partnered with these unelected, private corporate interests –groups which are not accountable to G.E.P.A. laws, to teachers, principals, taxpayers, voters or children. (This may also explain why Arne Duncan goes to such great lengths to distinguish between standards and curriculum. Everybody knows that standards dictate curriculum like a frame dictates the height and width of a house. But GEPA law doesn’t use the word “standards.”)
We are in unrepresented dire straits: In no way do voters or teachers (or states themselves) control what is now set in the Common Core standards.
This is true in spite of the so often-repeated “the standards are state-led” marketing line. Don’t believe the marketing lines! So much money is money being spent on marketing Common Core because of Bill Gates. Gates sees this whole Common Core movement as a way to establish his (and Pearson’s) “uniform customer base.”
Watch Gates say these words in his speech if you haven’t already. This speech needs to be widely known, especially by school boards –so that we can boycott this monopoly on thought and on our precious taxpayer dollars.
Please don’t let people keep getting away with saying that the Common Core is free from federal controls, or that “we can add anything we want to it” and “there are no strings attached.” It simply isn’t true.
(How we wish that it was.)