Skip to comments.Parents Deserve Louder Voice in Country's Education Debate
Posted on 04/12/2010 10:04:12 AM PDT by rabscuttle385
While Washington, D.C., focuses on the federal power grab in health care, there's another ongoing drive for regimentation that hasn't received the scrutiny it deserves. A panel of educators assembled by 48 state governors and school superintendents just released a uniform set of math and reading standards for the nation's students.
If the Common Core State Standards Initiative were totally voluntary, there would be little to fear. But for too many education reformers, whatever is not forbidden is compulsory.
Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said that "if we accomplish one thing in the coming years, it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America."
Last year's stimulus package gave Duncan more than $4 billion to hand out to states doing D.C.'s bidding. "No other education secretary has ever had that much cash at his disposal," the National Journal noted.
Louis Napoleon's education minister once bragged to a visitor that a glance at his watch would let him determine what literary passage every French student was studying at that moment.
In a recent New York Times op-ed, "One Classroom From Sea to Shining Sea," Susan Jacoby decries the "crazy quilt" of educational approaches that results from the American "tradition of state and local control."
But the drive for federal standards ignores the risks inherent in enforced uniformity. Under Bill Honig, superintendent of public instruction from 1983-93, California embraced "whole language" reading, which replaces a structured phonics approach with one that encourages children to guess at words they don't know and get creative with spelling.
Little wonder, then, that reading scores plummeted during Honig's tenure.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has resisted the drive for national standards, keeping his state out of both the Common Core Initiative and the competition for Duncan's federal "Race to the Top" dollars.
However, Texas' recent battle over textbooks shows that even on the state level, fastening a government-imposed curriculum on people of disparate backgrounds causes bitter divisions. Two weeks ago, the GOP-dominated Texas Board of Education made national news by revising the social studies curriculum in accordance with red-state values over the protests of liberal and centrist parents.
From my libertarian perspective, the revisions seem a decidedly mixed bag: introducing kids to Hayek and Friedman (good), while downplaying Jefferson and Darwin (bad).
As my colleague Neal McClusky points out in "Why We Fight: How Public Schools Cause Social Conflict," "Throughout American history, public schooling has produced political disputes, animosity, and even bloodshed."
Given the one-size-fits-all nature of government-run schooling, those fights are inevitable unless and until we move toward a decentralized system "in which individual parents are empowered to select schools that share their moral values and educational goals for their children."
"Education standards must be determined by Texas, not Washington," a Perry news release proclaimed. And that's a start. But how about letting parents decide?
Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said that “if we accomplish one thing in the coming years, it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America.”
It goes along with the Obama mentality - punish achievers and dumb them down as their punishment.
The problem is, all human beings are EQUAL, however we are NOT all EQUAL in ability. We must get away from this outcome based education that tries to “level the playig field” in the wrong direction.
The leftists have been emboldened by Bush's "conservative" initiative No Child Left Behind, which on face value appears to strengthen accountability of public schools to parents and students but effectively begins the march towards total Federalization of education.
What conservatives should fight for is a TOTAL end to Federal intervention in education and an end to the Department of Education, as originally promised by the GOP over thirty years ago. Federal meddling has done nothing but deprive individuals of their parental rights, transformed schools into government indoctrination centers, and created a culture of debt slavery for anyone who dares go near a college.
Half of the most uninformed people are parents; the other half are NEA members.
If it's government imposed it's almost never good. Government employees tend to be less educated, less driven and less creative than the private sector, which is why they work for an entity that is 100% funded by the private sector. No government agency is self supporting, they've become a massive bureau of lazy, dependent dolts. Anything they conjure up and impose on the free people of America only serves as a chisel to chip away at our pillars of freedom, (the Constitution and the Bill of Rights). More now than at any time in our history government has become a convocation of "us-against-them" bureaucracy rather than their original purpose of public servants performing a public service.
You have to change the politics of the school curriculum.
I do not remember one thing in grades kindergarten-8th that had political overtones.
Were we involved with the world?? You bet. We recycled newspapers, rags, bottles..it came naturally...our parents taught us...not the schools.
Get the damn politics out of schools including sex education which became the cover for abortion, homosexuality and every other liberal policy.
Green is the cover for anti-coal, oil, gas...the policies of the enviro naziis...
If parents want a special say, they should home school or go private.
The Edcuational System should belong to the people who fund it and use it, not to the elist, ant-western, anti-JudaeoChristian radicals who have taken it over - the NEA and their minions in the Teachers’ Unions and other establishment liberals.
By poisoning the minds of America’s youth against their own country and heritage, they are setting the groundwork for future Obamas.
By controlling and poisoning young minds, these leftists have created generations of “educators” to re-infect new generations, generations of attorneys to twist common sense and Constitutional Law, and generations of historically challenged voters who don't realize the consequences of their votes and failure to stand up to the establishment.
But we must take the system back - one small determined battle at a time, until we get back to basic common sense and core values.
Exactly! Fights are inevitable! This is the ONE thing that government schools are very good at. They set one group of citizens against the other.
Why? Because fundamentally a religiously, culturally, and politically neutral education is IMPOSSIBLE!! It is axiomatic!
No matter what the government does, government school bureaucrats will ESTABLISH the non-neutral religious, political, and cultural worldview of some citizens, and then TRASH the worldview of others.
ALL government schools are a First Amendment and freedom of conscience abomination! The only solution is to begin the process of closing down all government schools and privatizing universal K-12 education.
I spent a lot of my academic career fighting leftism off, almost literally in ‘hand to hand’ combat (of course a pen was my primary weapon).
These people are entrenched in tenure. It will be VERY difficult to remove them. I think our best weapon is parents. I was able to survive the bombardment because my parents instilled the right values in me before the ‘educators’ could get to me. But so many don’t.
I went to “Red” Rutgers in Newark, New Jersey, 1964-1969.
Had to put up with:
An outspoken atheist History Teacher
Removal of ROTC from campus
A take over of the campus by the Black Organization of Students (B.O.S.S.) and shutting down of classes
The Newark Riots - shut down campus
Numerous other examples of leftist propaganda in class.
“Red” Rutgers made me a die hard conservative.
How about this. We get the Federal Government out of education completely.
Let the parents run the schools.
Or just abolish government schools and be done with it.
Wow. Now I bet those were some interesting times.
private schools, Catholic schools, religious schools, reform schools, trade schools
What doesn't work:
We have been "reforming" them for decades, and they just get worse and worse and worse. Gee! Let's close down all neighborhood schools, consolidate them into huge factory schools on the edge of town (the all-knowing government mandates optimum size and space, you know), then bus children all over town in a misguided effort to achieve an articial racial equilibribrium, sending children miles from home and literally ripping apart the fabric of society, and then quadruple the number of worthless administrators (along with the size of their paychecks as we bilk the taxpayers for $10K to $15K per pupil per year . . . far more than the cost of most private schools), and then, tax the hell out of parents so that they have to become two-income households, thereby creating a generaltion (or two) of latchkey kids, and then, with no one at home and all parents working to exhaustion, we throw up our hands when nothing works and say "Parents need to get involved," as we meanwhile dumb down all textbooks in an effort to achieve "basic minimum competence" (how inspiring!) as we make sure that all teachers (er, uh "educators") don't talk over kids' heads (that would lower their self-esteem) and are therefore given a systemetized "educational traing" in psycho-babble and jargon (not core subject matter) which amounts to what can only be called "certified inferiority," and at the same time require them to take on the role of psychologists, parents, and cops, who, yes, also have lunch duty, bathroom duty, and crosswalk duty (insurance companies and lawyers having abolished honor students with orange sashes and flags), but then, the concept of kids being able to walk home from school is out-dated, you know. Oh well. It's just the future of the country at stake. "No prob, man! It's cool." [Who in the hell thought all this up?! Saul Alinsky has nothing on this guy!]
(SNIP) A panel of educators assembled by 48 state governors and school superintendents just released a uniform set of math and reading standards for the nation's students.... Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said that "if we accomplish one thing in the coming years, it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America."
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What Arne means: in other words, we want to eliminate the high standards that a few states try to maintain.
The reasoning here is stupid itself.
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