Posts Tagged ‘Monopoly’
Common Core is a federal attempt to nationalize curriculum. We MUST oppose this, from every school board!
Critics of the Common Core State Standards had our fears confirmed on Monday when Education Week reported that the Department of Education will oversee the assessment test design for the new national standards. This is no April Fool’s joke: Washington will soon be directly regulating what America’s schoolchildren learn and on what they are tested. This massive expansion of federal power is concerning considering the federal government’s failed history of intervening in public education.
As I recently explained in AFP Foundation’s school choice policy report, the federal government has had its meddling hands in America’s public schools for decades. From the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to No Child Left Behind today, Congress has provided Title I federal funding to schools with low-income student bodies for the past half-century. But, this money is by no means free. As is often the case with federal funds, Title I comes with strings attached – which explains how Washington has been such a major player in American education despite the fact that public schools are function of the states.
[...] After decades of failed federal intervention in America’s public schools, Common Core’s similar approach of centrally planning public schools has worried education reformers since the initiative was launched in 2009. For years, proponents of the standards have tried to soothe these fears by emphasizing that they are not administered by the federal government. Common Core’s official website, for example, downplays the protests by claiming “[t]he federal government had no role in the development of the Common Core State Standards and will not have a role in their implementation.”
Perhaps this claim could hold water four years ago, but today it’s evident that Common Core is nothing more than a federal ruse to exert even greater control over America’s classrooms. [...]
[I]t looks like Common Core is poised to repeat and amplify the federal government’s failed educational interventions by giving the central government even greater control of what American schoolchildren are learning. If the success of school choice has taught us anything, it’s that education is most effective when controlled by actors on the local level, like teachers with freedom in how to teacher their students at charter schools, or parents with options of where to send their child to school through opportunity scholarships. Choice from the bottom, not force from the top, leads to effective learning.
Creepy doesn’t begin to describe this.
As part of the government’s initiative to institute Common Core standards for education, so comes a system that would mine information about students to establish best practices for effective teaching. But some think the technology that would conduct the mining crosses a line.
[...] In the draft “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century” report released in February by the Department of Education is a section detailing how to measure such qualities in a student through Behavioral Task Performance.
“Behavioral task performance measures are the broad set of methods used to capture behaviors consistent with perseverance or lack thereof—and in many cases, associated emotional experiences, physical movements or facial expressions, physiological responses, and thoughts— that students do in response to a particular challenge,” the report states.
[...] Understanding the emotions or physiological state of a student while they’re presented with a challenge, the report said, can be measured through “analysis of facial expressions, EEG brain wave patterns, skin conductance, heart rate variability, posture and eye- tracking.”
The report presents this figure showing a variety of sensors that could be used to determine the emotional state of a student while performing a certain task:
“Sensors provide constant, parallel streams of data and are used with data mining techniques and self-report measures to examine frustration, motivation/flow, confidence, boredom and fatigue,” the report states.
It presents MIT’s Mood Meter — a device that captures facial expression through a camera on a laptop while software analyses the mood — as an example of technology that can conduct these measurements. [...]
A study in 1999 published by MIT researchers delved into the use of a posture-sensing chair to evaluate a student. The experiment using a chair with pressure sensors on the seat and back evaluated student interest in order to better learn how to improve the experience for students in a computer-learning situation.
But a camera, chair, mouse and wristband equipped with sensors to track different metrics isn’t not all. The report also highlights the value of FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imagery), which would reveal different areas of activity in the brain through scans.
Apparently they see classrooms full of children as guinea pigs who can be used for their Frankenexperiments – a captive audience that can’t leave once they find out that they have become the show.
As a parent, it is chilling to see how much government bureaucrats presumptiously claim the right to intrude into our children’s lives. Since the moment the federal government took control of education (thanks, Jimmy Carter!), it has been progressively demanding more and more control over the system, the content, and even the most personal matters of the students themselves.
Children are the future. If the state gains absolute control over the hearts, minds and choices of future voters and citizens, they will learn look to the state to be their provider, caregiver, and master. It’s already happening. If we don’t stop them, we will wake up one day to discover that our children have become wards of the state, with parents having little – if any – input.
While many Americans worry about government drones in the sky spying on our private lives, Washington meddlers are already on the ground and in our schools gathering intimate data on children and families.
Say goodbye to your children’s privacy. Say hello to an unprecedented nationwide student tracking system, whose data will apparently be sold by government officials to the highest bidders. It’s yet another encroachment of centralized education bureaucrats on local control and parental rights under the banner of “Common Core.”
As the American Principles Project, a conservative education think tank, reported last year, Common Core’s technological project is “merely one part of a much broader plan by the federal government to track individuals from birth through their participation in the workforce.” The 2009 porkulus package included a “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund” to bribe states into constructing “longitudinal data systems (LDS) to collect data on public-school students.”
These systems will aggregate massive amounts of personal data — health-care histories, income information, religious affiliations, voting status and even blood types and homework completion. The data will be available to a wide variety of public agencies. And despite federal student-privacy protections guaranteed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Obama administration is paving the way for private entities to buy their way into the data boondoggle. Even more alarming, the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging a radical push from aggregate-level data-gathering to invasive individual student-level data collection.
[...] Home-schoolers and religious families that reject traditional government education would be tracked. Original NEDM data points included hair color, eye color, weight, blood types and even dental status.
How exactly does amassing and selling such personal data improve educational outcomes? It doesn’t. This, at its core, is the central fraud of Washington’s top-down nationalized curricular scheme. The Bill Gates-endorsed Common Core “standards” are a phony pretext for big-government expansion. The dazzling allure of “21st-century technology” masks the privacy-undermining agenda of nosy bureaucratic drones allergic to transparency, accountability and parental autonomy. Individual student privacy is sacrificed at the collective “For the Children” altar.
Fed Ed is not about excellence or academic achievement. It’s about control, control and more control.
However, there is currently a way for parents to opt out:
The good news: An independent grassroots revolt outside the Beltway bubble is swelling. Families are taking their children’s academic and privacy matters out of the snoopercrats’ grip and into their own hands. You can now download a Common Core opt-out/disclosure form to submit to your school district, courtesy of the Truth In American Education group: CLICK HERE.
Parents caught off guard by the stealthy tracking racket are now mobilizing across the country. Echoing families across the city, Big Apple public advocate Bill de Blasio blasted the tracking database in a letter to government officials: “I don’t want my kids’ privacy bought and sold like this.” On Wednesday, prompted by parental objections, Oklahoma state representatives unanimously passed House Bill 1989 — the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act— to prohibit the release of confidential student data without the written consent of a student’s parent or guardian.
[...] Research fellow Joy Pullmann at The Heartland Institute points to a February Department of Education report on its data-mining plans that contemplates the use of creepy student monitoring techniques such as “functional magnetic resonance imaging” and “using cameras to judge facial expressions, an electronic seat that judges posture, a pressure-sensitive computer mouse and a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists.”
The DOE report exposes the big lie that Common Core is about raising academic standards by revealing its progressive designs to measure and track children’s “competencies” in “recognizing bias in sources,” “flexibility,” “cultural awareness and competence,” “appreciation for diversity,” “empathy,” “perspective taking, trust (and) service orientation.”
That’s right. School districts and state governments are pimping out highly personal data on children’s feelings, beliefs, “biases” and “flexibility” instead of doing their own jobs imparting knowledge – or minding their own business. And yes, Republicans such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bushcontinue to falsely defend the centralized Common Core regime as locally driven and non-coercive, while ignoring the database system’s circumvention of federal student privacy laws.
Why? Edu-tech nosy-bodies are using the Common Core assessment boondoggle as a Trojan horse to collect and crunch massive amounts of personal student data for their own social justice or moneymaking ends.
Don’t waste any time. OPT OUT NOW!
It is maddening how a century of “progressive education reform” has conditioned American parents to unquestioningly surrender their children to a system that has proven to fail no matter how much money it gets or reforms are tried.
It’s maddening that we have tacitly accepted the notion that government bureaucrats should decide where, when, how, and even what our children learn.
It’s maddening that no matter how much their child’s needs are not being met, poor parents are virtually powerless to do anything about it, while their children remain trapped in failing and – often dangerous – government schools.
Every parent deserves a choice. Every child deserves a chance. It’s LONG past time to take back the power that rightfully belongs to parents to determine what is best for their children when it comes to education.
The third annual National School Choice Week is officially underway. Once again, school choice advocates—including parents, teachers, schoolchildren and administrators, and many others—will come together to promote educational choice, with more than 3,600 events taking place nationwide.
School choice is something to celebrate, because it gives families the power to choose the best schools for their children—helping children to improve educational outcomes and increasing overall parental satisfaction.
School Choice Students Graduate at Higher Rates
For example, students who participate in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP)—a private school voucher program for low-income K-12 students—graduate at significantly higher rates than their peers, according to the results of a “gold standard” (randomized, control group) study. More than 90 percent of DCOSP students graduate high school, compared to just 70 percent of their peers.
Similarly, research reveals that students who participate in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP)—the nation’s longest running school choice program—for all four of their high school years had a 94 percent graduation rate, compared to a 75 percent graduation rate for their peers who attended four years of public high school.
School Choice Means Academic Gains
Research also shows that students who participate in school choice programs do better in school. In a review of all the “gold standard” evaluations of school choice programs in the United States, researchers found that nine of the 10 studies revealed positive, albeit generally modest, academic improvement for school choice students.
Parents Are More Satisfied with their Child’s Academic Experience
Parents of school choice students also report high levels of satisfaction with their children’s schools. In Florida, 93 percent of parents whose children participate in the McKay Scholarship Program—a voucher program for special-needs students—report being satisfied with their child’s school, compared to just 33 percent of parents whose special-needs children were enrolled in public schools. DCOSP parents are also more likely to report satisfaction with their children’s schools and are more likely to describe their schools as safe. And Milwaukee school choice parents also report high satisfaction rates with the schools their children attend.
Education comes in many forms—from private school choice to online learning, to charter schools and public schools and home schooling. Parents should be empowered to give their children the education that best meets their child’s unique learning needs. School choice makes this possible by giving families from every background the ability to set the course for the brightest educational future for their children.
This week, find out how you can get involved in National School Choice Week.
Learn more about Freedom of Education
Learn more about the Separation of School and State
PJTV: How the Obama Administration Is Dumbing Down Education
View on YouTube
Wouldn’t want the little comrades to read classic literature and get any ideas that don’t fit the government-approved narrative, now would we?
A war of words is brewing. But this one doesn’t involve slinging insults. It’s a battle over what forms of writing – novels, poems, and non-fiction – will define English instruction for millions of American schoolchildren in the years to come.
Sparking this war is the Common Core standards push – an effort to nationalize the standards and assessments upon which every public school in America would base its curriculum. The Obama administration has poured billions of dollars into the effort via federal “Race to the Top” grants.
As always when it comes to federal largesse, there are strings attached. And in this case, it’s pulling the rug out from under classic literature.
Literacy experts point out that The Common Core denigrates the value of teaching literature in the classroom. Instead, English teachers are being told that 50 percent of their course material must be derived from “informational texts.” (Actually, the informational text requirement starts at a “mere” 25 percent of reading material for kindergarteners. It rises to 70 percent for high school seniors.)
What, exactly, meets the definition of informational texts? Among those recommended on the national standards list we find The Federal Reserve Bank’s “FedViews,” “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag,” and “Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas.” And, roll over “For Whom the Bell Tolls” it’s time to make way for that GSA classic: “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.”
Thus is the literary genius of Washington bureaucrats elevated over that of Hugo, Heller, and Huxley.
It’s a common characteristic for dictators to want to control what a nation’s children can and cannot learn in schools.
President Obama’s bid to control what your children learn in school is surely one of the most important and disturbing of his many transformative plans. Not only is Obama’s attempt to devise what is in effect a national K–12 school curriculum arguably unconstitutional and illegal, the fact that most Americans have no idea that the new “Common Core” (a.k.a. Obamacore) even exists may be the most troubling thing about it.
Today’s Washington Post features an article on the controversy being kicked up by the new English curriculum that 46 states and the District of Columbia are just now waking up to. Not coincidentally, this new education war is hitting less than a month after Obama’s re-election, just in time to prevent the public from taking the most effective step it could have to block the changes. You have to get nearly to the end of today’s Postarticle even to get a hint of the fact that Obama is the real force behind the new curriculum. Following that link takes you to an article that more frankly lays out Obama’s role in commandeering the substance of what’s taught in the nation’s schools. The print version of this September 21, 2012 article featured a more revealing headline than the web version: “Education overhaul largely bypasses Congress.”
To say the least, the legality of Obama’s curriculum power-grab is dubious, as George Will explains.
[...] All is not lost. Indiana and Utah already have popular rebellions in progress against the Common Core. If you want help fighting Common Core in your area, contact the American Principles Project.
New Jersey isn’t a “Right to Rescue” state, apparently. If you’re not a union worker, they’d rather you leave shivering survivors without heat or power and that decimated wreckage right where you found it.
Utility crews from several states East of the Mississippi River hit the road this week to volunteer their time and talents in Northeastern states hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. But crews from Alabama got the shock of their lives when other workers in a coastal New Jersey town told them they couldn’t lend a hand without a union card.
Derrick Moore, who works for Decatur Utilities in Decatur, Ala., told WAFF-TV in Huntsville that crews in Seaside Heights, N.J. turned him and his crewmates away, saying they couldn’t do any work there because they’re not union employees.
As a result, crews from Decatur and Huntsville left the Jersey shore and headed to Long Island to pitch in.
Of course, I’m sure the victims of this storm aren’t so particular about who helps them.
How desperate is hurricane-ravaged New Jersey? Not desperate enough to suspend a union monopoly that keeps the state in the bottom ten states for economic competitiveness (and #48 for business friendliness). Relief crews from Alabama who were specifically called to New Jersey found themselves diverted to Long Island, NY after they arrived because they use non-union labor. Alabama is a right-to-work state.
Where’s Gov. Chris Christie when you really need him to stand up to the unions right now? Unfortunately, he’s busy back-slapping Obama.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated incident. In New York, the unions demanded that volunteer crews join the union immediately and start paying dues before they could help:
A business coordinator at a power company in western Georgia told The Daily Caller Friday afternoon that workers from his electric-utility employer were not permitted to help restore power to New York consumers because they would not join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
[...] “They worked in Maryland, and they went up to New York, and when they got up there it was, ‘out come the union papers.’”
“And our guys were like, ‘Hey, we’re not joining nothing. We came up to help, but if you don’t want it, that’s fine.’ So they turned around and drove all the way back here to Georgia.”
[...] Decatur Utilities general manager Ray Hardin said Friday during a Fox Business Network broadcast that ”we were presented with documents from IBEW that required our folks to affiliate with the union. And [that's] something that we could not agree to. And it was our understanding, and still is, that that was a requirement of working in that area.”
On Friday TheDC spoke with a veteran electric utility worker from central Florida whose crew was kept idling for two days while his managers dealt with the union’s membership demands.
Don’t depend on politicians and bureaucrats to rescue you, because this is the kind of crap they pull. Be prepared to take care of yourself and your loved ones in case of emergencies!
It is a dangerous conflict of interest for any government to control an education industry which shapes the hearts and minds of future voters. School choice is crucial to breaking the state monopoly and restoring parents’ God-given right to direct the education of their children – which is why the Left so vehemently opposes it.
Though he sends his own children to private school, Obama cares more about pleasing his Big Labor campaign donors than he does about giving poor children a chance to escape failing schools and have the same opportunity as his daughters.
In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama spoke about the importance of kids staying in school and even urged states to raise the dropout age to 18. So it’s passing strange that his new $3.8 trillion budget provides no new money for a school voucher program in Washington, D.C., that is producing significantly higher graduation rates than the D.C. public school average.
The Opportunity Scholarship Program offers vouchers to low-income students to attend private schools. A 2010 study published by Patrick Wolf of the University of Arkansas found that the scholarship recipients had graduation rates of 91%. The graduation rate for D.C. public schools was 56%, and it was 70% for students who entered the lottery for a voucher but didn’t win.
Because the president’s teachers union allies are opposed to school choice for poor people, Mr. Obama ignores or downplays these findings. He repeatedly has tried to shutter the program, even though it is clearly advancing his stated goal of increasing graduation rates and closing the black-white achievement gap.
If there’s one thing unions can’t stand, it’s competition. Like true Marxists, they demand complete control of a complete monopoly, and will be satisfied with nothing less.
MINNESOTA — Charter schools are popping up all across the nation, with 41 states offering families access to the alternative public schools.
Because the large majority of charter schools are not unionized, they can focus solely on serving students instead of pacifying the financial demands of school employee unions.
The unions know they cannot stop the spread of charter schools, so they have decided to take them over.
Late last year, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers decided to authorize its own charter schools. An email written by MFT President Lynn Nordgren and posted on Eduwonk.com explains the union’s decision.
“ … [C]harter schools are not going away despite 20 years of protesting,” Nordgren writes. “Because of this, it is time to figure out how to… stop the de-professionalization of teaching, the bleeding out of our unions and the miseducation of too many students… It is time to ‘get in the game’ and make it ours.”
We all know that “the miseducation” of students is really the unions’ specialty, and they guard it jealously.
Nordgren writes that the MFT’s decision to open charter schools will “keep our union responsibilities and rights as an option, and make sure teachers are respected and have a voice in the schools in which they work.”
Translation: the unions want charter schools to choke on all their rigid work rules, pay schedules and adult-centered demands which will render the alternative public schools no different than their government-run counterparts.
The union’s new philosophy about charter schools is simple: if you can’t beat ‘em, infiltrate and destroy them from within.
- Teachers unions are the special interest blocking school choice
- The Cartel: Education + Politics = $
- Unions’ new strategy: Intimidation for dummies
- Union Protesters Superglue Catholic School’s Doors Shut, Intimidate Staff & Students During Gov. Walker Visit
- Malkin’s Photo gallery: What Big Labor protesters are teaching kids (language warning)
- Union General Counsel declares “it’s not about children, it’s about power”
- Another thug union puts self-preservation over children
- Teachers Union Recommends its Members Read Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals”
- American teachers should revolt against corrupt teachers unions
- Time to Stand and Deliver Education Reform: A Tribute to Jaime Escalante
I love teachers. I really do. And I’m certain that, truth be known, most are overworked and underpaid. No one is certainly getting rich from teaching kids. I applaud the hard-working teachers across this land.
But what are our state legislators to do if states are going broke? Never ask teachers and other public workers to contribute to a further share of costs, like millions of others are forced to do because of tough economic times? I believe the children are our future, but they’ll have no future if our states and the U.S. go down the fiscal tubes.
And, like in Wisconsin, when teachers unions muscle legislators like the mafia, and Democrats abandon their voting posts because they don’t like projected outcomes, haven’t we abandoned the very foundational principles of our republic? Where was the “be civil” mainstream media police Friday morning when union demonstrators literally screamed at legislators on the Wisconsin assembly floor while they voted on legislation?
Another proof of union monopoly came out Tuesday, when Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board released a report that disclosed the top 10 lobbying groups in the state. Look who is at the top of the list – No. 1:
1. Wisconsin Education Association, 7,239 hours, $1,511,272
2. Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, 1,427 hours, $777,430
3. Forest County Potawatomi Community, 1,492 hours, $756,512
4. Altria Client Services Inc., 1,321 hours, $755,733
5. Wisconsin Hospital Association, 5,126, $605,033
The Wisconsin Education Association leads the pack of lobbyists compared to its closest lobbying competitor with twice as much spending ($1.5 million) and five times the amount of advocate hours (7,239 hours) in pursuit to buy, bribe and bamboozle legislators to do as it wants.
What also chaps my hide is that a gigantic chunk of the WEA’s gangster monies and time is used to lobby against alternative choices in schools (including charter schools) and against tuition tax credit programs that aid parents to send their children to private schools.
The fact is that teachers-union-sponsored protests spreading across the land are not primarily about the teachers or the students. They are about the unions and feds maintaining their mafia-style rule over education and our kids, and preventing parents and anyone else from choosing educational alternatives.
A new spate of documentaries and media coverage have all centered on the role teachers unions play in blocking necessary change and innovation in public schools.
At this point in the national discourse, a majority of Americans are convinced that our education system is in crisis and are looking for someone or something to blame.
Unfortunately for effective teachers across America, the finger has been pointed in the wrong direction. It is the teachers unions – the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – that are largely responsible for a system that is failing far too many of our children, especially those trapped in the inner cities.
It’s no secret that the rise of the teachers unions is aligned with the decline of public schools. For over 40 years, unions have collected hundreds of millions of dollars in membership dues each year and used that money to elect friendly politicians and lobby for policies that favor the growth of unionism. Policies that, by the way, do very little to help little Johnny read, write and compute.
One area the unions block at all costs is school choice, the cornerstone of the growing education reform movement.
School choice allows parents, regardless of income level or a zip code, to have the ability to choose a school that best suits their child. With school choice in play, children would not have to suffer in silence at the hands of failing schools.
Despite the hope of success for students and empowerment for parents, unions quickly condemn the idea of school choice as an “assault on public education.”
School choice-oriented options such as tax credits, charter schools, and virtual schools are all seen as threats; threatening enough for the unions to spend millions of dollars fighting them every year.
Why are the teachers unions the largest roadblock to school choice? The answer is simple: greed. School choice would allow teachers more opportunities to teach in environments that are not easily unionized –public charter schools, parochial schools, private schools, and virtual schools. If teachers aren’t paying dues to the union, the union loses money and power.
Furthermore, unions have been able to successfully unionize traditional public schools. Teachers unions have a building representative in nearly every schoolhouse in America who reports to a regional representative, who in turn reports to the state and national levels.
It’s an extensive, costly system that took decades to build. So naturally unions are against any reform that threatens their system. The monopolists never want to lose their monopoly.
This system, however, caters to adults and not to schoolchildren. With school choice options, the system is turned on its head and gives the power back to parents to determine what kind of learning environment is best for their children.
How do the teachers unions protect a system that fills their coffers? Fear. Their rhetoric on school choice is classic double-talk and sends mixed messages to their members and the public at large.
Careful not to sound too anti-reform, AFT leaders suggests that they support charter schools, and then go on to say that charters “exploit” staff and need to be unionized to “improve academic outcomes.”
NEA literature labels school choice backers as radical zealots, “Religious conservatives push ‘choice’ as a way of shoving children into private schools, and emasculating the effect of NEA.”
The truth is school choice is neither Left nor Right but common sense policy. Leaders in this movement range from Mayor of Newark Cory Booker, a Democrat, to Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner.
The unions are quick to silence those education reformers who work tirelessly to improve the system. Proven leader and former D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee recently outlined school choice policies in her new student-focused organization’s policy agenda.
Union leaders issued statements that same day accusing Rhee of fear mongering. Rhee’s “so-called solutions play to people’s fears rather than promote a positive and collaborative agenda for improving America’s public schools,” exhorted AFT President Randi Weingarten.
Reality tells a different story. It is the unions that play on the fear of teachers. The unions work tirelessly in making hard working educators believe they’ll be out of a job with school choice.
This week is National School Choice Week. School choice stands apart from other education reforms, not only in its growing bipartisan support, but also in its ability to deliver results without increasing costs to taxpayers.
One school choice reform that is getting results is Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program for low-income kids. Florida’s program began in 2001 providing tax credits for scholarships to students from low-income families. In 2007-08 alone, the program supported about 23,000 students, about 95% of whom would not have been able to attend a private school otherwise. It has helped bring Florida from among the lower performing states in educational achievement to among the best. While Education Week now ranks Florida as 5th in the nation, Oregon (despite having a more privileged population and spending more per student) is ranked at 43rd.
The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is also saving the state millions of dollars every year, as the size of students’ scholarships is less than what public schools spend on students. Oregon, too, could save $7.7 million per year if it would adopt a scholarship tax credit program like Florida’s, according to a report by Cascade Policy Institute.
Forty-four percent of Oregon parents would choose a private school if they could afford it, but few can. It doesn’t have to be that way. Tax credits for scholarship programs would save Oregon millions of dollars, while restoring power to parents and taxpayers and bringing more children the kind of education that fits them.
January 23rd – 29th is National School Choice Week
My position is that it’s incredibly dangerous for any government to be involved in the education of future voters and citizens – a HUGE conflict of interest!
At the time of the American Revolution, there was no compulsory public education, yet the population was 95% literate. How did they learn? Some were taught at home by parents or tutors. Some attended one-room classrooms. Some took apprenticeships. Many, once they learned how to read, simply self-taught. Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” was written in the language of the common farmer and spread like wildfire through the colonies, but the average college student today finds its vocabulary too advanced.
For the past 100 years, each generation has entered adulthood less educated than the one before it, despite having spent more and more time in the classroom. The “progessive” social experimenters (called “educators”) always insist that the problem is that they don’t have enough money, control, or time with your kids. Schooling used to be mandatory only from ages 9 to 12. Then they kept adding a year or two at either end every decade or so, because their lousy system took them more time to teach your child less stuff than the generation before him had already known at his age. The more money, control, and time they take from the parents, the worse it gets.
Now you have five generations of Americans who are accustomed to their children being taken and practically parented for them for 12 straight years, and you wonder why Americans aren’t more adept and experienced parents? They’ve been TRAINED to hand their kids over to the “experts”! The results have been disastrous. But what is the solution they propose? Why, start YOUNGER, of course!
The links below will help you understand how we got where we are and why MORE of it will only make things worse. I have spent the past two years researching our education system from all of these sources and more. I would encourage you to read up and recognize that a socialist education system can never work, no matter how many times you reform it, because SOCIALISM DOESN’T WORK. PERIOD.
We understand how allowing government to take over health care is the wrong road and how much it will raise costs and decrease quality, yet we refuse to acknowledge that our education industry is failing for all the same reasons. We can’t argue that socialism and redistribution are wrong in every area EXCEPT the education industry. It’s hypocritical.
It’s time to take a stand!
Learn more about Freedom of Education
Learn more about the Separation of School and State
If there was an award for Issue of the Year it would go to education reform in 2010. Basing pay for teachers on merit, ending life-time tenure for school employees, closing failing schools rather than trying to save them, clearing the way for more charter schools—they all became hot topics in the press and online. The year began with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan dangling millions of dollars of Race to the Top grants in front of states in a push for wholesale reforms. It ended with Shanghai topping other places around the world in tests for high school reading, math and science. U.S. teenagers’ performance was once again mediocre, assuring that the national education debate won’t end any time soon.
Three documentary films this year helped drive the discussion. “Waiting for Superman” made the biggest splash. It focused on five grammar-school students and their efforts to get a decent education. Earlier there was “The Lottery,” which zoomed in on the make or break lotteries that parents and children endure to escape bad schools. But before those there was “The Cartel,” which takes apart the education establishment in one state—New Jersey—by exposing everything from the billions wasted in a school construction program to the remarkably high number of luxury cars in a Newark school administrators’ parking lot. Presaging the two movies that followed, its most compelling moment comes when it visits the annual lottery for a Newark charter school and keeps the camera on the students as they slowly realize their numbers are not going to be called.
The Cartel was put together as a labor of love by 41-year-old, Hoboken, N.J., TV journalist Bob Bowdon. Seizing on the reform zeitgeist, it captured nine film-festival awards and opened in theaters in 25 cities around the country. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, who’s made a national name for himself by going to battle with the teachers’ union and ushering in a wave of school reforms since taking office last January, saw it twice and—in a YouTube clip in October–gives Bowdon credit for helping him to inspire his education policies. This month The Cartel was released on DVD, cable TV video on demand and other platforms.
The movie leaves many people enraged as they leave the theater and that’s how Bowdon felt as he dug into the topic. Like most people—especially people who don’t have children—he was blissfully unaware of the many practices, mechanisms and laws that keep schools under-performing and budgets bloated. He had not yet encountered the infamous education blob of union leaders, administrators and elected officials that absorbs and defuses just about any attempt at reform. Early in the decade he was hosting a call-in cable show and the topic one day was tenure. “It sounded like something out of a Third World country, a decree that no one could be fired,” he says in an interview in his Hoboken office. “Then I found out we have that here. And yet people who were intelligent didn’t consider that a job for life in this high-tech economy was a preposterous anachronism. I was dumbfounded.” Then he had a friend who got a job as a public high school English teacher and he began hearing the stories—the work rules that limited how a school could deploy its staff most effectively, the incompetent teachers who got the same guaranteed raises as the best teachers, the innovative programs—like distance learning—that got killed because they threatened the union. “I saw that the union is very good at muddling their interest and the kids’ interest.”
Another thing he saw was that rarely did anyone in the press write about this, and rarely did anyone connected to education even talk about it. “I felt there was an edict of silence being forced on people to discourage speaking out about the abuses,” he says. “That’s one reason I did the movie. The country’s been asleep. I did the movie to wake people up, shock people.”
The underbelly is indeed dark, and like the other movies, fingers are pointed directly at the unions, and their unholy alliance with elected officials locally and in state capitals. Teachers’ union campaign contributions that get recycled right back into enormous salaries and gold-plated benefits.
From the Alliance Defense Fund:
It’s one pretty dependable sign that you’re doing the right thing when you find the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Atheist Alliance International, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation lined up against you in a single case.
That’s just a sampling of the extraordinary opposition aggravated by and aggregated against the notion that parents should have the freedom to choose where their children go to school. And right now, that collective legal hostility is directed specifically toward destroying the choice permitted by the tuition tax credit in Arizona.
Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization, like other school tuition organizations (STOs) cropping up around the country, is a non-profit group that provides scholarships through private donations for families who want to send their children to private schools, but can’t afford the higher tuition. Anyone can contribute money to an STO in exchange for a credit on their state income tax. These STOs have opened all kinds of new educational opportunities for children from low and medium income families – and drawn harsh criticism and lawsuits from the ACLU and citizen groups who object to private and Christian educational options, and to giving the ultimate authority to parents, rather than the government, to decide what is best for their own children.
The Alliance Defense Fund is representing ACSTO in a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on November 3rd – a case that will determine a) whether the government is ‘establishing religion’ by giving tax credits to those who contribute to STOs, and b) whether the ACLU’s clients have any legal stake in deciding whether children do or don’t attend a private or religious school.
How is the parent who wants his youngster in public school hurt when another parent is able, through an STO scholarship, to send their child to a private one? She isn’t. Nor is she under any legal obligation to contribute to an STO. What’s more, those parents who take advantage of tuition tax credits still pay taxes to provide public school facilities for other children.
Given, then, that STOs don’t compel the government to support religion (tax credits are awarded to those funding scholarships for a variety of private schools – not just Christian ones), and that those opposing the STOs incur no personal injury as a result of these scholarship programs, the only rationale left for those so aggressively opposed to the idea is a desire to bully parents with limited financial resources into accepting a government school education for their children, regardless of the success or failure of such schools in their community.
Please be in prayer for this case, which obviously has such profound implications for families nationwide and for the religious freedom of all Americans.