Archive for the ‘School Choice’ Tag

Trump’s Common Core Pick: Betsy DeVos   11 comments

 

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machine to block, rather than to assist, the Stop Common Core parents’ nearly successful legislation that would have repealed the Common Core.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.

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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.

shiny-moana

 

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:

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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.

 

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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.

https://podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/8273838?autoplay=false

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?

Trump said:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 

 


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A Related P.S.

WANNA TESTIFY?

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.

CEP information:

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.

Jenni White: Common Core Makes School Choice No Choice   Leave a comment

School Choice?  What’s That?

By Jenni White

There is no way choice and the Common Core can exist simultaneously.

See:  Restore Oklahoma Public Education  http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/01/school-choice-whats-that.html

This week is School Choice Week across the nation. For a number of years now, Republican-based organizations from Heritage Foundation to Friedman Foundation to our own OCPA, have been calling for School Choice.

We here at ROPE believe that parental choice is of ULTIMATE importance in the creation of education that works for students and families. Gone should be the days in which children are locked into districts whose Board of Educations are NOT responsive to the needs of their students and parents.

After much study, however, we also believe that until the COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS (CCSS) are removed from the states that have adopted them (including OKLAHOMA) THERE CAN BE NO CHOICE IN EDUCATION! In fact, there is no way Choice and the CCSS can exist simultaneously.

Why would you, as a parent, move your child from one school to another when the same COMMON standards shape the curriculum at EVERY school in the district or city? Yes, one school may have a better teaching staff, or one might be perceived to be ‘safer’, but if the teaching curricula of all schools are derived from the same COMMON standards, how can one school produce a more exceptional student than another? How can schools in states who have adopted the CCSS really differentiate themselves one from another when the basis of all educational knowledge is derived from the same COMMON standards? Where is the ability for any school to create a student that excels beyond what is “common”?

Sadly, it’s not simply government schools that are effected by the COMMON CORE phenomena.

Did you know that private schools and charter schools are turning to Common Core so they will have books to use that contain “COMMON” curricula developed for the standards so private school students will have the same advantage as government school kids on tests such as ACT – which are being shaped to match the standards?

Many large textbook companies like Pearson, threw their lot in with the Council of Chief State School Officers (a private national association) and the National Governor’s Association (also a private association to which NOT all governors belong) to create and insinuate the CCSS in American government schools. The free market is wonderful, but in this case, textbook companies with smaller market share are forced to mold their materials to the CCSS or lose business to those companies producing CCSS-aligned texts.

This also works with education retailers. Did you know that companies who sell to the home school market, like Mardel, are selling Common Core materials?

Not only that, but what if home school students are forced to test to the Common Core as they are implemented across states? What if universities will no longer take transcripts of home school students if they haven’t been taught using the COMMON standards or they haven’t taken the CCSS standardized tests? In fact, the Home School Legal Defense Association has condemned the CCSS for these and other reasons.

In closing, why follow blindly behind School Choice advocates when there is really NO CHOICE in education as long as states are perpetuating the CCSS?

It is important – no necessary – to make sure Republicans pushing these Obama/Duncan overreaching education reforms understand that parents understand the issue of Core vs Choice. Let’s let legislators, the media and School Choice advocates know we will NOT raise COMMON children here in Oklahoma and that Common Core is NOT OK!

Every child deserves better than a COMMON education!

– – – – – – –

Thanks to Jenni White of Restore Oklahoma Education (ROPE) for sharing her research.

Flashreport from Pacific Research Institute: On Common Core   Leave a comment

Reposted highlights from:

http://www.flashreport.org/featured-columns-library0b.php?faID=2012100907463885

ROMNEY BASHES OBAMA’S NATIONAL ED STANDARDS THAT DUMB DOWN CALIFORNIA MATH

by Lance T. Izumi

October 9, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown recently approved a new law that will eliminate algebra from California’s eighth-grade math standards.  While troubling, even more disturbing is the fact that this move is dictated by Sacramento’s adoption of less rigorous national standards supported by President Obama.

Thankfully, in the first presidential debate and in recent interviews, it’s clear that Mitt Romney realizes what Barack Obama can’t seem to fathom: the federal government is not the nation’s school board.
SB 1200, which Gov. Brown just signed, says that the state Board of Education shall ensure “One set of standards is adopted at each grade level.”  Those standards will be the Obama-backed national standards.  As education journalist John Fensterwald points out, the law will remove California’s algebra requirement and “will leave [the national] Common Core pre-algebra standards as the default course for eighth grade.”

Why did California opt for the lower national standards?

In the debate, President Obama touted his Race to the Top grant program, which requires applying states to implement the national standards.  California applied for a grant, didn’t win one, but was still stuck with Obama’s standards…
In an interview with NBC News prior to the debate, Romney said, “I don’t subscribe to the idea of the federal government trying to push a common core on various states.”  Why are national standards dangerous?  Chief among the reasons is that they will lead to a national curriculum.


As California’s experience proves, changing over to a national-standards system will affect what’s being taught in every classroom.  According to Fensterwald, “Last year, about two-thirds of California students had taken Algebra 1 by the eighth grade.”  Now, because the national standards will change the state’s math curriculum, relatively few students will likely take algebra in the eighth grade.
Romney says that for the Obama administration “to financially reward states based upon accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum, I think, is a mistake.”  Specifically, Romney says that he worries about the federal government promoting an agenda through national standards, tests and curricula.  For the Obama administration, its agenda neatly coincides with the agenda of the teacher unions.


The American Federation of Teachers is a longtime supporter of national standards and its members helped write the Obama-supported standards.  In legislative testimony, Stanford University math professor James Milgram, who served on an advisory committee for the national standards, said that special-interest groups, like the unions, “were mainly focused on things like making the standards as non-challenging as possible.”  He said that the national math standards “are written to reflect very low expectations.”

Obama and his union allies have triumphed by overturning California’s rigorous state standards.

During the debate, Romney articulated a very different strategy that would empower, not special interests, but parents.  Rather than a top-down Washington-centric approach, Romney proposed attaching federal funds, such as Title I money for disadvantaged children, directly to students.  These dollars would “follow the child and let the parent decide where to send their student” and allow children “to go to the school of their choice”, where school-choice programs have been enacted.

When asked by debate moderator Jim Lehrer about the federal government’s role in education, President Obama said, “I think that it has a significant role to play.”

Indeed, his nationalization of education has already altered and distorted math education in California.  In contrast, Mitt Romney envisions more local control and more parental choice.

It is now up to Americans to decide which future they want for their children.

___________________________________________________
Lance T. Izumi is Koret Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education  Studies at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (PRI), California’s premier free-market public-policy think tank based in  San Francisco.

Minute Mom Magazine on Common Core   Leave a comment

http://issuu.com/minutemom/docs/sep_12

In the September 2012 issue of Minute Mom Magazine, there’s an article called “The Agenda 21 of Education,” by Melissa Smith and Sherry Marquelle. The authors make an important point:

“…parents will find that despite the rhetoric about school choice and vouchers, for the majority of students there will be only one choice–the Common Core… school choice and common core ironically go hand in hand…  ”

Worth reading!

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