By Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog.
Two women, one in Maryland and the other in Missouri, are extremely concerned about what’s happening in public education. One is sounding the alarm about Common Core, the other about Race to the Top and her district planning to apply for the RTTT “direct to district” grants, bypassing the state educational agency. Who needs state educational agencies when the Federal government will give your district money and mandates? The Federal DOEd has bypassed state agencies and will direct district education from Washington DC, hardly a constitutional power granted to the federal government.
Cindy Stickline-Rose, a parent, wrote a two part article first appearing at www.TheTentacle.com for parents and taxpayers about Common Core standards. Excerpts are reprinted below with permission from Ms. Stickline-Rose and TheTentacle. From Taking Parents Out of The Equation – Part 1:
Beginning today Frederick County Public Schools will be hosting a series of education nights to familiarize parents with The Common Core Standards.
As a parent advocate, I want interested persons to be fully informed before setting one foot inside their propaganda rooms. I don’t hold the school system wholly responsible for the spin. Most are ignorant as to how what we know as “Common Core” grew from an ideology to an idea and into reality.
I’ll share the facts I know and let you decide if you want this in our local classrooms.
First, let’s start out calling Common Core what it is: a National Curriculum. It was sold to schools, parents and educators as a way to level the playing field for career and college readiness. Students in Miami would be taught the same as students in Seattle.
It was sold as standards in math and English; but, oh, looky here, come this December Social Studies will be added in.
Before I continue, let me point out that there are two groups working on “education reform.” Group One I call the “faux reformer.” They seek to transform the American education system into the Department of Labor. Group Two is the one I and my associates are working on. It seeks to re-establish the parent as the entity with first and final authority over how and what our children are taught under a “true partnership” with our educators.
So, you should not be surprised that less and less control is being had on the local level because it is the faux reformers who have current control over education.
Power is being siphoned away from local jurisdictions back to the states and will ultimately arrive at the feet of the federal government. The conduit is Common Core. The end game of this reform is to remove the parents and the states completely.
How a nationally run education system is put in place starts with three pieces of legislation from 1994: Goals 2000 Act (also known as the Educate America Act), School to Work Act and Improving American Schools Act. They run in concert with the No Child Left Behind Act (the reauthorized, tweaked version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act), Race to The Top and Common Core Standards.
What these pieces of legislation set out to do:
· Bypass local school boards and parents by having federal funding go directly to the states, through the governors, not to the schools.
· Centralize all student information into a national data base. This information would include personal, identifying information such as family information, social security numbers, academic, medical, mental and behavioral information as well as information from guidance counselors in K-12, college and the work place.
· National standards and testing. To solidify control, the 12th grade diploma will be replaced with a Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM). No person will be able to get a job without a CIM.
Don’t think it’s being implemented in our local schools? Take a look at the Frederick County Board of Education’s position paper to the local legislators in 2012: “Today’s investments in Frederick County Public Schools are key to a prosperous economy, strong business growth, and students’ ability to compete for good jobs in a global, high-tech economy.”
I’m not seeing a whole lot of language about educating our children today so they can have bright futures tomorrow based on what they choose for themselves. It looks like an employment and economy pitch not an education pitch.
Ms. Stickline-Rose has done an excellent job informing folks of what common core is and who is behind it and why it is being implemented. It’s not so much “for the kids” as it is for a managed economy.
Laura Martin, a school board member from Camdenton, Missouri, is raising questions about educational direction and programming as well. Her superintendent wants to receive Race to the Top grants given directly to districts, bypassing the state educational agency, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. From Camdenton School District faces scrutiny from within over Race to the Top:
According to the application, the grant, offered by the U.S. Department of Education, would allow Camdenton R-III, Marshall and Knob Noster school districts to partner with State Fair Community College and the University of Central Missouri to build a facility to house some of Camdenton’s programs; it would provide personalized learning environments in the form of take-home laptops, iPads and tablet computers for all middle and high school students in the three districts; and it would allow the districts to integrate career planning systems and develop curriculum designed to focus on “real-world applications” of academic content in order to allow students pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and their parents to better plan for the future.
Camdenton Schools had expressed interest in program to the U.S. Department of Education by Aug. 30, according to district officials.
“We had just gotten out from under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program so I was leery about rushing into something else offered by the federal government,” Martin said, adding that her concern quickly grew when she realized the board was being asked to approve the grant so it could be submitted by the deadline of Oct. 30. “It might be a great deal but I wanted to read our application and research the program before committing,” she said. “To me, this had undertones of Nancy Pelosi’s ‘sign-it-now, read-it-later’ handling of the health care law.”
Others apparently agreed. The board told the superintendent to continue pursuing the grant but decided to table the vote until the next meeting. That meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 7:30 a.m., Oct. 23, and will include a presentation by Pat Gillman, the director of College and Career Readiness for State Fair, who took the lead on preparing the grant.
In the meantime, Martin said she set out to learn as much as possible about Race to the Top.
The article details the excellent questions Martin has about RTTT regarding the cost, the federal control, the emphasis on career training for the entire district, teacher evaluations, the sustainability requirements, the lack of teacher input and tax levies necessary when the grants ran out. Martin is doing the job a school board member should be performing; asking questions on debt, future ramifications of decisions to taxpayers and students and the reasons “reforms” are being adopted by the Board. You can find more of Martin’s concerns here on her blog, The Sunshine Seeker.
The War of Women on Corporate/Governmental Educational Reforms is here. Join women (and concerned men) to fight these reforms that are not “for the kids” but for special interests and the federal control of education. These reforms are not “state led”. In fact, these reforms actually make state education agencies, school boards and taxpayers powerless and useless.
The federal mandates are funded by the taxpayers. These taxpayer funded mandates (not voted on by the taxpayers) are administered by bureaucrats who have no power except by which they are “granted” by the Federal Department of Education and private corporations. Are these educational mandates an example ”of the people, by the people, for the people”? Hardly. Instead of education being a Declaration on Independence from the Federal Department of Education, these education reforms are more akin to a nationalized version of managing human capital for state/corporate purposes.