Archive for the ‘You Had Me At Unconstitutional’ Tag

A Weighty List of Grievances: Will Congress Ever Hold a Hearing Against the Department of Education?   1 comment

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Even though I don’t like bumper stickers, I proudly slapped a U.S. Senator Mike Lee bumper sticker on my car because he’s that rare legislator who honors in actions as well as in talk, that priceless treasure, our freedom-friendly U.S. Constitution.  And this week, I waited on the phone for a long time to ask him a question during his virtual town hall meeting this week.

I never got my chance, and that’s understandable because  I heard the announcer say that 15,000 Utahns were attending, so…  I’ll ask it now.

 

How weighty does the list of grievances need to be for Congress to convene a hearing on the Department of Education? duncan

It seems like any one of the grievances that I’ll list next, would deserve action.  Taken together, these assaults on Constitutional rights of individuals is almost unbelievable.

What are your thoughts on this list:  as a legislator, as a parent, as a teacher (especially if you are a special ed teacher) as a student, as a taxpayer, as a citizen with Constitutionally protected rights?  When should Congress hold the Department of Education accountable for:

 

  1. TAKING AWAY SPECIAL ED  –  The Department of Education has, unbelievably, removed state authority over special education, effective this week.  It used fake research to assume its new position of forcing federally aligned testing –without modifications– on special education students. That fake scholarship was exposed by special education scholar and Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Gary Thompson. The No Child Left Behind “final rule” has supposedly authorized the federal government to “no longer allow” states to call the shots on special education.
  2. ADMITTING IT FORCED STATE ALIGNMENT TO COMMON CORE – Department of Education official Joanne Weiss has just now not only confessed, but boasted, that the federal government deliberately “forced alignment” and “deployed tools” to push states into Race to the Top/Common Core, in this recent report. ( See the Pulse2016 article.)    Important note:   Weiss’ confession starkly contrasts with countless claims  in the past three years from the Department, that Common Core was “state-led” and that any other view was “nonsense”. Duncan then said:

“… a new set of standards—rigorous, high-quality learning standards, developed and led by a group of governors and state education chiefs—are under attack as a federal takeover of the schools. And your role in sorting out truth from nonsense is really important.” – 2013 speech by Sec. Duncan.

 

3.   STALKING CITIZEN DATA – The Department of Education –stunningly–  succeeded in bribing states to build what is essentially each state’s own stalking system, 50  federal/state database systems, called SLDS, that were built to federal specs, with federal interoperability, and with federally aligned data tags, essentially putting 50 state databases on a federal gridwithout a vote and without asking for parental or taxpayer consent to collect personal, behavioral, and academic data about citizens, longitudinally, for life, using schools as a government stalking mechanism.

4.  DELETING PRIVACY LAWS –  The Department of Education altered previously protective federal FERPA laws, altering policy that changed the definition of what IS personally identifiable information (PII). PII can now include biological and behavioral data (biometric data) about children or about any citizen who once was in a publically funded school. The Department also reduced to just a “best practice” –a.k.a. “optional”–  the previously protective FERPA  rule that parental consent had to be received prior to any sharing of student PII. The Department was sued by the Electronic Privacy Information Center for doing this. Read details at that site.

5.  STANDARDIZING  THE P-20 DATA MINE –  The Department of Education partnered with a private, closed-door group called CCSSO (the co-creators, by the way, of Common Core) to co-produce common data standards, called CEDS, which further standardizes the data mining ability of the federal government over American citizens from early childhood through the workforce, in an initiative known as P-20 (or P-20W).

6.   TEACHING AND IMPLEMENTING SOCIALISM, ALMOST AS A NATIONAL RELIGION – The Department of Education’s official blog, as well as Secretary Duncan’s speeches themselves, have unilaterally redefined education– as the teaching of socialism, aka social justice.  Who passed a law that social justice would be the foundation  for student learning? Who was authorized to take the entire population of U.S. school children down that path?  In “Education is Social Justice” and other official articles and speeches, we learn that no longer will our education dollars teach our children to cherish Constitutional ideals like individual rights, property rights, separation of powers, or religious; instead schools will teach social justice, which is, unfortunately, not justice.  It is theft.  It allows the Department of Education (or others) to steal teachers, money, or data from one group to redistribute to another, without consent.  Duncan can’t seem to give a single speech without spreading “social justice” and his Equity and Education Commission‘s publications reveal that the Department is promoting not just the teaching, but the implementation of socialism and forced redistribution, nationally.  Shouldn’t there at least have been a vote?

7.  SUBMITTING TO GATES – The Department of Education worked closely with, and accepted money from, the worlds’ second richest man and implemented nationwide policies based not on voter intent but on Gates’ intent.  As Diane Ravitch wrote: “The idea that the richest man in America can purchase and — working closely with the U.S. Department of Education — impose new and untested academic standards on the nation’s public schools is a national scandal. A congressional investigation is warranted.”

 

dunc

 

In conclusion:

“When the story of the Common Core is finally told, it’s going to be ugly. It’s going to show how the sponsors of the Common Core made a mockery of the Constitution and the democratic process. It’s going to show how the Obama administration pressed a completely untested reform on the states, evading public debate at both the federal and state levels. It’s going to show how a deliberative process that ought to have taken years was compressed into a matter of months. It’s going to show how legitimate philanthropic funding for an experimental education reform morphed into a gross abuse of democracy. It’s going to show how the Obama Education Department intentionally obscured the full extent of its pressure on the states, even as it effectively federalized the nation’s education system. It’s going to show how Common Core is turning the choice of private — especially Catholic — education into no choice at all.”

That quote comes from Stanley Kurtz’s article  for “The Ethics and Policy Center”entitled “Time for Congressional Hearings on Common Core”.

So maybe it’s good that I didn’t get to ask this question on the phone with my senator this week.  I can mail it to him now.  Maybe others will, too.

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You Had Me At Unconstitutional.   14 comments

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All over the internet, all over Facebook, and not just in America we see problems with Common Core –confusing math, twisted worksheets, stressful high-stakes tests. They’re troubling. But what about the blatant unconstitutionality of the system itself?

This week’s striking op-ed by Michael Lotfi at BenSwann.com and Alyson Williams’ recent speech at a debate in Utah (posted here) each make the point that commentary about Common Core should end when we realize it is unconstitutional!

Lotfi writes:

“We cannot oppose Common Core because it does not align with our values. We must oppose it because it violates this country’s principles. The pundits, journalists, etc. who report and commentate on Common Core only serve to further the disease. The commentary should end at Common Core being unconstitutional because it is not an explicit power delegated to Congress and therefore the Tenth Amendment is remedy.

Say Common Core was struck down because of the values it teaches, but was kept in place with neutral, or conservative values. Again, many would applaud this as victory. However, you’ve only picked off the flower of the weed, which has roots growing ever deeper through the soil. This is no victory. For it is only a matter of time until someone strikes at the values again and replaces them with their own, thus growing the flower back.”

Williams says:

“My opposition to the way we’ve adopted Common Core (and the rest of the education reforms introduced in the Stimulus) is not just about the education of my children, it is about the type of government I hope my children will inherit when they have children of their own. I believe we can set high standards for math and English without circumventing, stretching, or ignoring the high standards for self government that have made our nation unique in all the history of the world. This is the Constitution of the United States of America.”

How is Common Core unconstitutional?

1. IT LACKS A REPRESENTATIVE AMENDMENT PROCESS. If the Common Core Initiative was in harmony with the Constitution, it would be amendable by those governed by it. You and I would have a voice. But it’s only amendable by the NGA/CCSSO, according to their own words and website. They claim: “The Standards are intended to be a living work: as new and
better evidence emerges, the Standards will be revised.” Revised by whom? Again, from the official Common Core site: (their caps, not mine) “ANY USE OF THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS OTHER THAN AS AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS LICENSE OR COPYRIGHT LAW IS PROHIBITED. ANY PERSON WHO EXERCISES ANY RIGHTS TO THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS THEREBY ACCEPTS AND AGREES TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS… NGA Center/CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards, and no claims to the contrary shall be made.”

2. IT LACKS CHECKS AND BALANCES. The use of checks and balances was designed to make it difficult for a minority of people to control the government and to restrain the government itself. If the Common Core Initiative– a nationalized system of standards, aligned tests, data collection and teacher accountability measures promoted federally— if this initiative were in harmony with the Constitution, it would not be held in the power of a minority of the people (of the NGA/CCSSO and of the Dept. of Ed which is partnered with CCSSO). It would have been vetted prior to implementation by the proper means outlined in the Constitution– but it wasn’t. As Alyson Williams points out, “There is no such thing in the U.S. Constitution as a council of governors… Governors working together to jointly address issues and create rules that affect the whole nation is not a legitimate alternative to Congress, our national representative body.”

3. IT LACKS AUTHORITY. If the Common Core Initiative was in harmony with the Constitution, it would have been born legitimately: but its only “authority” is the unprecedented assigning of money to the discretion of the Education Secretary without proper congressional oversight. From that Stimulus money came the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the Race to the Top grant programs that enabled the Department of Ed to get away with setting up their own, experimental rules for us to follow in exchange for the money – rules that normally would be determined by the States alone.

4. IT ALTERS THE LIMITS OF FEDERAL POWER. If the Common Core Initiative was in harmony with the Constitution, it would not be admitted even by its most notorious proponent, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, to alter the traditionally limited role of the federal government.

Duncan said, in his 2010 “Vision of Education Reform” speech: “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… The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more… 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… America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform… In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to develop standards and assessments… 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 Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it.”

Common Core governance is a slap in the face to the work of the Founding Fathers.

Yes, we should rightly be shuddering at the math disasters and the high-stakes tests, should be gasping at the lack of any cost analysis to taxpayers, and at the privacy-robbing aspects of the Common Core agenda. But these arguments are secondary to the hairiest of the reform devils, the destruction of individual liberty.

“I don’t know how you feel, my brethren and sisters, but I’d rather be dead than to lose my liberty…” – Ezra Taft Benson, 1952.

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