Archive for the ‘Dallin Oaks’ Tag

Little Children and Freedom of Speech   2 comments

A few days ago, fifth grader Aaron Bencomo spoke to the Arizona Senate, explaining in his own words, using his own experience to express how bad the Common Core is.  He quoted the Declaration of Independence.  He talked about the pursuit of happiness.  He described the “one size does not fit all,” boring, wasteful reviews of last year’s math in this year’s math.  He talked about not every child being the same, but being treated as if they were the same, under Common Core. His speech was a beautiful example of how even a little child can be an agent for freedom and truth.  Watch from minute 1:20 to 4:05.

 

Children do have great power.

Aaron is not the first child to speak out powerfully against the Common Core agenda’s destruction of individual freedoms.  Teenager Patrick Richardson of Arkansas spoke out.   Ethan Young of Tennessee spoke out.  Sydney Lane of Connecticut spoke out.   Please watch and share these videos if you haven’t already!

Freedom of speech is, of course, closely tied to freedom of religion; both are versions of free exercise of conscience and of free thought.

Inspired by Dallin Oaks’ article in this month’s Ensign Magazine, I reminded my children this week that they are not government employees living under rules that constrain religious speech in a school setting.  In other words, children may say, write, report, and share their faith in God freely, including in a public school if they want to.

Elder Dallin Oaks reminded us that freedom of religion is not limited to the inside of a church.  He wrote:  “…oppose government officials and public policy advocates who suggest that the free exercise of religion is limited to “freedom of worship.” In the United States, for example, the guarantee of “free exercise” protects the right to come out of our private settings, including churches, synagogues, and mosques, to act upon our beliefs, subject only to the legitimate government powers necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare. Free exercise surely protects religious citizens in acting upon their beliefs in public policy debates...

I also reminded my children of a well-loved story in the Book of Mormon about the “Army of Helaman.” In the story, adults with histories of evil had made promises not to take up their swords to kill again, but their innocent children were under no such obligation; when attacked by an enemy, the boys took up their swords and defended their own lives and the lives of their families.  God preserved those young men, and helped their families, through them.  (See Alma 56-58)

I tell my children never to assume they are under the same obligation as their public school teachers are.  Children can speak positively about their religion.  Children have great freedom of speech.  If they feel they want to, they should speak and write about their beliefs, including belief in Constitutional liberty, and belief in God, wherever they are.

Hats off to those who are doing so.

Education Leaders v. Religious Leaders   5 comments

Education Leaders v. Religious Leaders

By Susie Schnell and Oak Norton

http://www.saveasd.com/prominent-educators-vs-religious-leaders/

“And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.” -Mosiah 23:14

Dewey, Goodlad, McKay, Benson

Education Leaders: Goodlad, Dewey, Bloom, etc.                 v.        Religious Leaders:  Benson, Packer, McKay, Lewis, etc.

Public   education has served as a check on the power of parents, and this is   another powerful reason for maintaining it.” – John Goodlad, Developing Democratic Character in the Young, pg. 165“[schools] should liberate   students from the ways of thinking imposed by religions and other traditions   of thought.”    -John Goodlad, “Education and Community,” in Democracy, Education, and the Schools, Roger   Stone, pg. 92. “There   is a spirit working among the Saints to educate their own offspring. If our   children will be all we will have for a foundation of glory in eternity, how   needful that they be properly trained… There   are wolves among us in sheep’s clothing ready to lead astray our little ones…   Wolves do not devour old sheep when there are any young ones. I have herded   sheep long enough to know that. Look after your children.” – Elder John W. Taylor, (Collected Discourses 2:138.)“There   are three dangers that threaten the   church from within, and the authorities need to awaken to the fact   that the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see   them, they are flattery of prominent   men in the world, false   educational ideas, and sexual impurity.”-President Joseph F. Smith (Gospel Doctrine p. 312-313.)
“Most youth   still hold the same values of their parents… if we do not alter this pattern,   if we don’t resocialize, our system will decay.” – John Goodlad, Schooling for the Future, Issue #9, 1971 “Many activities link the values of one generation to   the next, but perhaps the most central of these activities is parents teaching children in the home.   This is especially true when we consider the teaching of values, moral and ethical standards, and faith.” -Elder L. Tom Perry, April 2010 LDS General Conference
Parents do not   own their children. They have no ‘natural right’ to control their education   fully.” – John Goodlad   / Developing Democratic Character in the Young, pg. 164 “[We should] reassert the primary right and   responsibility of parents for the total education of their children, including social values, religious   convictions, and political concepts. Schools should be reminded that their   primary field of competence is academic, not social adjustment, or world   citizenship, or sex education. Parents should stand firm on this and not be   intimidated by ‘professional educators.’ After all, it’s their children and   their money.” -Ezra Taft Benson (An Enemy Hath Done This, p. 231)
Education is a   task for both parents and state. The state, parents, and children all have interests that must be protected.” – John Goodlad, Developing Democratic Character in the Young, 2001, pg. 164 “While   other institutions, such as church and school, can assist parents to ‘train   up a child in the way he [or she] should go’ (Proverbs 22:6), ultimately this   responsibility rests with parents. According to the great plan of happiness, it is parents who are entrusted with the   care and development of our Heavenly Father’s children. ” -Elder L. Tom Perry, April 2010 LDS General Conference
“The curriculum of the future will be what one might   call the humanistic curriculum.” – John Goodlad   / Directions of Curriculum Change, The NEA Journal, March 1966“Education is thus a most powerful ally of   Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What   can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and   teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day   program of humanistic teaching?” -Charles   Potter, co-signer with John Dewey of the Humanist Manifesto, “Humanism: a New   Religion”, pg. 128(Humanism   is the denial of God and elevation of man. It is the “Korihor” doctrine if   you are LDS.) “Humanism is a threat to the work of the   Lord. One   of the greatest threats to the work of the Lord today comes from false   educational ideas. There is a growing tendency of teachers within and without   the church to make academic interpretations of gospel teachings – to read, as   a prophet leader has said, ‘by the lamp of their own conceit.’ Unfortunately,   much in the sciences, the arts, politics and the entertainment field, as has   been well said by an eminent scholar, ‘all dominated by this humanistic approach which ignores God and   his word as revealed through the prophets.’ This kind of worldly system   apparently hopes to draw men away from God by making man the ‘measure of all   things’ as some worldly philosophers have said.” -Harold   B. Lee, Conference Report 10/68 p. 59.“There is promise, given under inspiration from the Almighty, set forth in these beautiful words: “God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost.” (D&C 121:26.) The humanists who criticize us, the so-called intellectuals who demean us, speak only from ignorance of this manifestation… They have not heard it because they have not sought after it and prepared themselves to be worthy of it. … Do not be trapped by the sophistry of the world which for the most part is negative and which seldom, if ever, bears good fruit. … Rather, “look to God and live.” (Alma 37:47.)” -Gordon B. Hinckley,  10/83 GC, Be Not Deceived“We   are very particular to forbid anyone from preaching Catholicism, or   Protestantism, or Mormonism, or Judaism, in a public school classroom, but   for some reason we are very patient with those who teach the negative   expression of religion. In the separation of church and state we   ought to demand more protection from the agnostic, from the atheist, from the   communist, from the skeptic, from the humanist and the pragmatist, than we   have yet been given… I   submit that the atheist has no more right to teach the fundamentals of his   sect in the public school than does the theist. Any system in the schools or   in society that protects the destruction of faith and forbids, in turn, the   defense of it must ultimately destroy the moral fiber of the people.” -Elder   Boyd K. Packer, What Every Freshman Should Know, September 1973 Ensign
Enlightened   social engineering is required to face situations that demand global   action now.” – John Goodlad / Schooling for a Global Age, pg. xiii “If they embark on this course the difference   between the old and the new education will be an important one. Where the old initiated, the new merely   ‘conditions’. The old dealt with its pupils as grown birds deal with young   birds when they teach them to fly; the new deals with them more as the   poultry-keeper deals with young birds- making them thus or thus for purposes   of which the birds know nothing. In a word, the old was a kind of   propagation-men transmitting manhood to men; the new is merely propaganda.” –C.S. Lewis, Abolition of Man, Pg. 22
“…educators   must resist the quest for certainty. If there were certainty there would   be no scientific advancement. So it is   with morals and patriotism.” – John Goodlad / Education for Everyone: Agenda for   Education in a Democracy, Woods Learning Center, pg. 6“…a student attains ‘higher order thinking’   when he no longer believes in right or wrong. A large part of what we   call good teaching is a teacher´s ability to obtain affective objectives by   challenging the student’s fixed beliefs. …a large part of what we call teaching is that the teacher should be   able to use education to reorganize a child’s thoughts, attitudes, and   feelings.” -Benjamin   Bloom, psychologist and educational theorist, “Major Categories in the   Taxonomy of Educational Objectives,” pg. 185 Unfortunately, other educators deny   the existence of God or deem God irrelevant to the human condition. Persons who accept this view deny the existence   of moral absolutes. They maintain that right and wrong are relative   concepts, and morality is merely a matter of personal choice or expediency.” -Elder   Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, October 1992, pg. 60“God uses scripture to unmask erroneous   thinking, false traditions, and sin with its devastating effects. He is a   tender parent who would spare us needless suffering and grief and at the same   time help us realize our divine potential. The scriptures, for example, discredit an ancient philosophy that has   come back into vogue in our day—the philosophy of Korihor that there are no   absolute moral standards, that “every man prosper[s] according to his   genius, and that every man conquer[s] according to his strength; and   whatsoever a man [does is] no crime” and “that when a man [is] dead, that   [is] the end thereof” (Alma 30:17–18)” -Elder   D. Todd Christofferson, April 2010 LDS General Conference
I walked out   of jail and into my first teaching position—and from that day until this   I’ve thought of myself as a teacher, but I’ve also understood teaching as a   project intimately connected with social justice.” -Bill Ayers at the World Education Forum in Caracas,   Venezuela in front of Pres. Hugo Chavez“It is my expectation that Teacher Education for   Democracy and Social Justice will   become a rich resource for continuing this multi-layered conversation-from   democratic belief to democratic action-that is the hallmark of educational   renewal.” -John Goodlad’s forward to “Teacher Education for Democracy and Social   Justice,” Nicholas Michelli and David Lee Keiser “In a   complete reversal from a century ago, many today would dispute with Alma   about the seriousness of immorality. Others would argue that it’s all   relative or that God’s love is permissive. If there is a God, they say, He   excuses all sins and misdeeds because of His love for us—there is no need for   repentance. Or at most, a simple confession will do. They have imagined a Jesus who wants people to work for social   justice but who makes no demands upon their personal life and behavior.” -Elder   D. Todd Christofferson, April 2010 LDS General Conference“I wonder how much we offend Satan if the proclamation   of our faith is limited only to the great humanitarian work this church does   throughout the world, marvelous as these activities are. When we preach the gospel of social justice, no doubt the devil is   not troubled.” -President James E. Faust, Liahona, November 1995, pg.   3
“…the state we   should strive for is better described in Deweyan terms as a social democracy.” – John Goodlad, Developing Democratic Character in the Young, 2001, pg. 153 I feel to warn you that one of the chief   means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our   educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is   advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes   of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close   to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose the   deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, John Keynes and others.   There are much worse things today that can happen to a child than not getting   a full education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our   children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at   subversion and amorality.” -Ezra   Taft Benson (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 307.)
“I do not see how any honest educational reformer   in western countries can deny that the greatest practical obstacle in the way   of introducing into schools that connection with social life which he regards   as desirable is the great part played by personal competition and desire for   private profit in our economic life. This fact almost makes it necessary that   in important respects school activities should be protected from social   contacts and connections, instead of being organized to create them. The Russian educational situation is   enough to convert one to the idea that only in a society based upon the   cooperative principle can the ideals of educational reformers be adequately   carried into operation.” – John Dewey, Impressions of Soviet Russia   and the Revolutionary World, pg. 86“I believe that the school is primarily a social   institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply that form   of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be   most effective in bringing the child to share   in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers for social   ends. I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not   a preparation for future living.” -John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed, January 1897 When you speak of peace, the Communists   mean the cessation of all opposition to Communism, the acceptance of a   Communist world. Then, and only then, can there be peace. This alone is   what peace means in Communist language. Once this is understood the utter   falsity and hypocrisy of Communist references to peace becomes at once   obvious. I have mentioned these things   simply to emphasize one dominant force which has as its ultimate achievement   and victory-the destruction of capitalism, the destruction of the free agency   of man which God has given him, and that destruction may be brought about-as   advocated by Marx himself-in a brutal way. What is the other force? It is   just the opposite. Jesus said to the man who came and asked him which is the   greatest law, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou   serve, and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as   thyself.’ When Marx was asked one time what was his object, he answered, ‘To   dethrone God.’ -David   O. McKay, Two Contending Forces, BYU Speech, May 18, 1960
Every child in America entering school at   the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances   to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents,   toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this   nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these   sick children well – by creating the international child of the future.” -Dr.   Chester M. Pierce, Harvard Professor of Education and Psychiatry, in an   address to the Childhood International Education Seminar in 1973 “From the   5th grade through the 4th year of college, our young people are being   indoctrinated with a Marxist philosophy and I am fearful of the harvest. The younger generation is further to the   left than most adults realize. The old concepts of our Founding Fathers are   scoffed and jeered at by young moderns whose goals appear to be the   destruction of integrity and virtue, and the glorification of pleasure,   thrills, and self-indulgence.” -Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pg. 321
Education should aim at destroying free   will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout   the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school   masters would have wished …” -Bertrand   Russell, quoting Gottlieb Fichte the head of psychology that influenced Hegel   and others. “Wherefore,   because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him…I caused that he should be cast down;” -Moses 4:3“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will,   and bring to pass much righteousness;” -Doctrine & Covenants 58:27“We must protect this American base from   the brainwashing, increasingly administered to our youth in many educational   institutions across the land, by some misinformed instructors and some wolves   in sheep’s clothing. Their false indoctrination, often perpetrated behind the   front of so-called academic freedom, is leaving behind many faithless   students, socialist-oriented, who are easy subjects for state tyranny.” -Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1962

The Battle Over the American Classroom   3 comments

There is a battle going on for control of American classrooms.

It’s a battle about which many students, teachers and State School Board Members are still blissfully unaware.

It’s a battle between the rights of each individual and each locality, versus the collective, as defined by the United Nations and, now, even by the U.S. Dept. of Education.

It’s a battle for what gets planted in the mind of the child.

It’s a battle for constitutional, local control (of students’ standards, tests, and curriculum) versus worldwide control (with education to be determined by federal and global cooperatives without any significant local representation.)

It’s also a battle between teaching the traditional academics: reading, writing, math, science and history, versus teaching the United Nations’ Agenda 21, which envisions a new “education” —that many are calling indoctrination.

The new “education” marginalizes academics.

It calls itself “World Class Education” but it is only a communistic sameness of learning across all countries.  It prioritizes “sustainable development,” “Social Justice” (redistribution of global wealth), the “collective good,” “going green” and “global citizenship” far above teaching academics.

And it presents “climate change” as if it were a real and settled science.

     The Department of Education, sadly, has betrayed us, lining up with the United Nations in this battle.  Link: http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed

Today,  the battle for the rights over a child’s life and learning has hit the news in a new form, under the title of  a United Nations treaty for the Disabled.   But it’s the same fight.  It’s a fight for our children.  http://news.yahoo.com/republicans-oppose-vote-un-disability-treaty-223300511.html

In the U.N. Disability treaty, the word “disability” is fuzzily defined.  Not really defined.  It uses an “evolving” definition.  Slippery!  Does “disabled’ mean a child with a mental handicap, including dyslexia or another common academic struggle?  Does it mean someone with a missing finger? A missing leg? A missing tooth?  And why should the government be the one to determine what is in such a child’s best interests, over the parents’ feelings?  This is a slippery slope of giving another sacred, hard-won American freedom, of parental rights over the child, utterly away.

This United Nations treaty poses as a helpful move, to ensure rights for the disabled, but what it really does is make the government, and not the parents, decision makers about what is in the best interest of a child, including whether home schooling is legal.

That provision, in the words of Rick Santorum, is “a direct assault on us and our family.”

Some also say that the treaty calls for people with disabilities to have “access to the same sexual and reproductive health programs as others” which means it might be linked to abortion.

So often, what starts off as an apparently  kindly socialistic “access to” a thing, soon becomes compulsory.

Former Utah Supreme Court Justice Dallin H. Oaks ruled that:

“Family autonomy helps to assure the diversity characteristic of a free society.  There is no surer way to preserve pluralism than to allow parents maximum latitude in rearing their own children.  Much of the rich variety in American culture has been transmitted from generation to generation by determined parents who were acting against the best interest of their children, as defined by official dogma.  Conversely, there is no surer way to threaten pluralism than to terminate the rights of parents who contradict officially approved values imposed by reformers empowered to determine what is in the ‘best interest’ of someone else’s child.”

—Dallin Oaks’ point is so vital.  Parents’ idea of what is in the best interest of their children does NOT necessarily match the “official dogma” of governments. 

No education reformers –U.S. Dept. of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, President Obama, Pearson CEA Sir Michael Barber, Bill Ayers, UNESCO– have the right to determine what is in the best interest of someone else’s child.  Period.

Arne Duncan’s 2010 speech exposes the U.S. Dept. of Education’s stance: that education should be the same everywhere, globally, and that competition and innovation is of the past.  Listen to this communist speak.  He is our U.S. Secretary of Education.  He is in charge of American K-12 children.  He even quotes Sir Michael Barber as if that’s a good thing.

“It is an absolute honor to address UNESCO. During the last 65 years, UNESCO has done so much to advance the cause of education and gender equity…   The promise of universal education was then a lonely beacon—a light to guide the way to peace and the rebuilding of nations across the globe. Today, the world… faces a crisis of a different sort, the global economic crisis. And education is still the beacon lighting the path forward—perhaps more so today than ever before.

Education is still the key to eliminating gender inequities, to reducing poverty, to creating a sustainable planet… education is the new currency…

… the Obama administration has an ambitious and unified theory of action that propels our agenda. The challenge of transforming education in America cannot be met by quick-fix solutions or isolated reforms. It can only be accomplished with a clear, coherent, and coordinated vision of reform.

Second, while America must improve its stagnant educational and economic performance, President Obama and I reject the protectionist Cold War-era assumption that improving economic competitiveness is somehow a zero-sum game, with one nation’s gain being another country’s loss.

I want to make the case to you today that enhancing educational attainment and economic viability, both at home and abroad, is really more of a win-win game; it is an opportunity to grow the economic pie, instead of carve it up.

As President Obama said in his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last year, “Any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail.”

There is so much that the United States has to learn from nations with high-performing education systems… I am convinced that the U.S. education system now has an unprecedented opportunity to get dramatically better. Nothing—nothing—is more important in the long-run to American prosperity than boosting the skills and attainment of the nation’s students… Closing the achievement gap and closing the opportunity gap is the civil rights issue of our generation. One quarter of U.S. high school students drop out or fail to graduate on time. Almost one million students leave our schools for the streets each year. That is economically unsustainable and morally unacceptable.

One of the more unusual and sobering press conferences I participated in last year was the release of a report by a group of top retired generals and admirals. Here was the stunning conclusion of their report: 75 percent of young Americans, between the ages of 17 to 24, are unable to enlist in the military today because they have failed to graduate from high school…   education is taking on more and more importance around the globe. In the last decade, international competition in higher education and the job market has grown dramatically…

Yet there is also a paradox at the heart of America’s efforts to bolster international competitiveness.

To succeed in the global economy, the United States, just like other nations, will have to become both more economically competitive and more collaborative.

In the information age, more international competition has spawned more international collaboration. Today, education is a global public good unconstrained by national boundaries.

… economic interdependence brings new global challenges and educational demands…. America alone cannot combat terrorism or curb climate change. To succeed, we must collaborate with other countries.

These new partnerships must also inspire students to take a bigger and deeper view of their civic obligations—not only to their countries of origin but to the betterment of the global community. A just and socially responsible society must also be anchored in civic engagement for the public good.

…Yet even as the United States works to strengthen its educational system, it is important to remember that advancing educational attainment and achievement everywhere brings benefits not just to the U.S. but around the globe. In the knowledge economy, education is the new game-changer driving economic growth.

Education, as Nelson Mandela says, “is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

From Indonesia to Pakistan to Kenya, education has immeasurable power to promote growth and stability. It is absolutely imperative that the United States seize the opportunity to help Haiti build a stronger school system from the ruins of its old, broken one—just as America coalesced to build a fast-improving, vibrant school system in New Orleans after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

…Educating girls and integrating them into the labor force is especially critical to breaking the cycle of poverty. It is hard to imagine a better world without a global commitment to providing better education for women and youth—including the 72 million children who do not attend primary school today.

And don’t forget that a better-educated world would be a safer world, too… My department has been pleased to partner with the U.S. Agency for International Development to help ensure that our best domestic practices are shared world-wide.

The United States provides over a billion dollars annually to partner countries working on educational reform.

Our goal for the coming year will be to work closely with global partners, including UNESCO, to promote qualitative improvements and system-strengthening…

Ultimately, education is the great equalizer. It is the one force that can consistently overcome differences in background, culture, and privilege…

Now, it is true that not all will share equally in the benefits of the knowledge economy. College-educated workers will benefit the most. That makes President Obama’s 2020 goal, the goal of once again having the highest proportion of college graduates, all the more central to building U.S. competitiveness.

… President Obama, a progressive president… wants to improve teacher evaluation…The President and I both recognize that improving educational outcomes for students is hard work with no easy answers. And transformational reform especially takes time in the United States…

The North Star guiding the alignment of our cradle-to-career education agenda is President Obama’s goal that, by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That goal can only be achieved by creating a strong cradle-to-career continuum that starts with early childhood learning and extends all the way to college and careers.

In the U.S., early learning has come into its own. It is now recognized as the first and most critical stage in human development. We have a special opportunity today to build a bigger and better coordinated system of early care and education that prepares children for success in school and life—in place of a system with uneven quality and access.

…Tragically, low-income and minority students do not have equitable access to effective teachers in the United States. Too often, the children who need the most help get the least. Too often, we perpetuate poverty and social failure—and that has got to stop.

…The United States cannot substantially boost graduation rates and promise a world-class education to every child without ending the cycle of failure in the lowest-performing five percent of our schools. Year after year, and in some cases for decades, these schools cheated children out of the opportunity for an excellent education. As adults, as educators, as leaders, America passively observed this educational failure with a complacency that is deeply disturbing.

Fewer than 2,000 high schools in the United States—a manageable number—produce half of all its dropouts. These “dropout factories” produce almost 75 percent—three-fourths—of our dropouts from the minority community, our African-American and Latino boys and girls.

…Our vision of reform takes account of the fact that, in several respects, the governance of education in the United States is unusual. Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy.

Before the 1960s, almost all policymaking and education funding was a state and local responsibility. In the mid-1960s, the federal role expanded to include enforcing civil rights laws to ensure that poor, minority, and disabled students, as well as English language learners, had access to a high-quality education.

As the federal role in education grew, so did the bureaucracy. All too often, the U.S. Department of Education operated more like a compliance machine, instead of an engine of innovation. The department typically focused on ensuring that formula funds reached their intended recipients in the proper fashion. It focused on inputs—not educational outcomes or equity.

The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more to support reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities. While the vast majority of department funding is still formula funding, the Recovery Act created additional competitive funding like the high-visibility $4.35 billion Race to the Top program and the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund, which we call i3.

I’ve said that America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform. And this is very much a revolution driven by leaders in statehouses, state school superintendents, local lawmakers, district leaders, union heads, school boards, parents, principals, and teachers.

To cite just one example, the department’s Race to the Top Program challenged states to craft concrete, comprehensive plans for reforming their education systems. The response was nothing less than extraordinary. Forty-six states submitted applications—and the competition drove a national conversation about education reform. Thirty-two states changed specific laws that posed barriers to innovation. And even states that did not win awards now have a state roadmap for reform hammered out. [UTAH]

The i3 program also had a phenomenal response. The $650 million i3 fund offered support to school districts, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education to scale-up promising practices.

…I said earlier that the United States now has a unique opportunity to transform our education system in ways that will resonate for decades to come. Last year and this year, the federal government provided unprecedented funds to support education and reform.

…In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to “develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.” Virtually everyone thought the president was dreaming.

But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted [state-crafted] Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it. Over three-fourths of all U.S. public school students now reside in states that have voluntarily adopted higher, common… standards… That is an absolute game-changer …

The second game-changer is that states have banded together in large consortia to develop a new generation of assessments aligned with the states’ Common Core standards. In September, I announced the results of the department’s $350 million Race to the Top assessment completion to design this next generation of assessments.

Two state consortiums, which together cover 44 states and the District of Columbia, won awards. These new assessments will have much in common with the first-rate assessments now used in many high-performing countries outside the U.S. When these new assessments are in use in the 2014-15 school year, millions of U.S. schoolchildren, parents, and teachers will know, for the first time, if students truly are on-track for colleges and careers.

For the first time, many teachers will have the assessments they have longed for…

    Sir Michael Barber’s book, Instruction to Deliver, reminds us that the unglamorous work of reform matters enormously…

…we are committed to establishing a different relationship with the 50 states—one more focused on providing tailored support to improve student outcomes.

… America has a great deal to learn from the educational practices of other countries…

…I welcome this international dialogue, which is only beginning. In December, in Washington, I will join the OECD Secretary General for the global announcement of the 2009 PISA results. In March, we will be sponsoring an International Summit on the Teaching Profession

Thinking of the future as a contest among nations vying for larger pieces of a finite economic pie is a recipe for protectionism and global strife. Expanding educational attainment everywhere is the best way to grow the pie for all…”   – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, 2010 speech

Full text:

http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed

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