Monday, March 15, 2010

US Government Proposes National Education Standards

Here comes yet another national power grab.

The US Government has created proposed education standards, in cooperation with "experts" who were appointed by the nation's governors and school superintendents. These standards spell out in detail what concepts and skills students should learn in every grade from K through 12 and they are supposed to replace State guidelines... that is if the State accepts yet another bribe from the Federal government. Yes, these new standards are being tied to the new Federal program "Race to the Top" which is a competition of sorts for school reform grants under the President's stimulus plan. States must approve these proposed standards in order to be able to apply for more than $4 billion in stimulus funds being offered under Race to the Top.

Of course a national curriculum will impact schools and taxpayers because new curricula, textbooks, tests, and teacher training will now have to be developed if these standards are adopted across the board. That'$ going to be expen$ive.

The New York Times report says this:
Under the proposed standards for English, for example, fifth graders would be expected to explain the differences between drama and prose stories, and to identify elements of drama like characters, dialogue and stage directions. Seventh graders would study, among other math concepts, proportional relationships, operations with rational numbers and solutions for linear equations.
Additionally under such proposed national education standards kindergartners would be expected to count by tens and eighth-graders to explain the Pythagorean theorem. Some educators are already concerned that the mathematics proposed for kindergarten is too rigorous. Some parts of the proposed standards do not make any sense at all. There is lots more and you should read through the Common Core State Standards Initiative for yourself; after all, you will end up paying for it if your state participates or not.

So yet again the Federal government is bribing the states to accept the entire plan and states will be co-opting their rights in order to get Federal money. Just like "No Child Left Behind", States are going to jump through some arbitrary hoops in the hopes of getting back money that they/we never should have sent to Washington to begin with! What a racket they are running.

Have these State legislatures and State Boards of Education learned NOTHING?
Do they not understand that with these proposals that they will endure increased regulation and scrutiny? They are will be losing their state sovereignty and ability to make their own decisions regarding education in their state.

Some states like Alaska and Texas are the only states that have wisely declined to participate in the standards-writing effort. In keeping his state out, Gov. Rick Perry argued that only Texans should decide what children in Texas should learn. Thank goodness there is one outspoken Governor who understands the role of the Federal government and the US Constitution vis-a-vis his own State government. Class, can you say "Tenth Amendment"?

The Hartford Courant reported:
The proposal will now be open for a month long comment period and then go to each state board of education for a vote by Aug. 1. If approved, the new standards could take as many as four years or more to be put into practice.

The group that developed the set of "common core" standards stopped short of calling the plan a national standard, a term that could alienate places that treasure local or state control over school systems, particularly New England. Texas already has opted out of the plan for that reason.

The idea that the plan is voluntary and developed by the states —not the federal government — is seen as an incentive to get the states to move forward.
It seems that school administrators, such as school superintendents and people at the State Board of Education, actually like the Federal proposals - I guess it takes the thinking and planning away from them - so they just have to do what the government tells them to do instead of having to do any work themselves and they really don't have to think about what really makes sense for the children of their own State. They are all "hepped up" on global competition and think this is going to make us better in worldwide standing. Keep dreaming. We all know it's another Federal program filled with a lot of nonsense.

I don't think these administrators have taken a serious look at what they are already teaching and the twaddle that is being presented as "education" in their own school's curriculum. Moreover, if they weren't so enamored with every newfangled study that passes as education research, maybe we'd have an education system that wasn't so broken. Over the years who hasn't seen the dismantling of programs that really work with replacement programs that are just plain wasteful and stupid? You know - like when they dumped phonics for whole language and created a whole generation of kids who cannot read or write.

These administrative ivory tower morons continually talk about local standards being so "20th century" as if the garbage they have delivered thus far to replace what actually worked years ago, has been so successful. Honestly, how many of you out there have been to a local store where the teenager at the register can barely make change?

If they truly want to "raise the bar higher overall", then they ought to return to a more classical education and have kids read decent literature instead of the inane and depressing reading selections they have shoved down kids' throats. How about learning some real mathematics skills instead of relying on calculators and round about ways of deriving answers? (read this)

The Teachers Unions won't like this - because it's going to make the teachers work harder and be mandated to teach to a national curriculum - probably with no room for creativity or even common sense.

The whole National Standards thing is just a way to increase the need for more Federal and State education dollars - and to increase Federal power over the States. This won't help kids achieve anything at all, and a good way to predict this is to look at the Federal track record. No Child Left Behind is a stunning example. There has been no real improvement at all, and has even though billions in education funding has been thrown around, we still have failing schools with kids and parents who have been left with nothing but empty promises. To top it off, they haven't even been decent opportunities and are trapped in a broken system. This was supposed to free urban kids from their crappy schools. For the most part it hasn't.

Thank goodness we have had a string of Charter schools set up by disgusted parents and educators which demand excellence and have gone back to the basics. Thank goodness we have had more parents pull their kids out of failing government schools in order to homeschool their kids.

The only race I see with "Race To The Top" and the National Standards is a race to see what States and what schools can get more tax dollars to pay higher salaries to already overpaid administrators who can administer another Federal program that is doomed to fail.

Good luck with that.

... Then of course, in CT, there is Senate Candidate Linda "I pretend to want smaller government" McMahon on the State Board of Education voting to pursue this Federal government intrusion for our State. She's right up there with self-proclaimed progressives who are also "fighting for Federal dollars" and more government intrusion.


Eric said...

"Have these State legislatures and State Boards of Education learned NOTHING?"

No they haven't. In TN, we are in the sweet 16 finalists at the Race to the Trough....YAY!

Even had a quote by a Dem. legislator along the lines of "well, I think this is completely unconstitutional, but IT'S JUST TOO MUCH MONEY TO PASS UP"


Eema-le said...

Un-friggin-believable.'s the government, so totally believable. I just hope that this doesn't mess with homeschoolers. I think that currently the national average of public school spending per child is $9500. I could easily homeschool my daughter for a full 12 years on that sort of cash.