An Open Letter To Representative Mike Lair

By David Epps

Homogeneity is good for milk not for a population!

Nazi Germany goose stepped into oblivion because of their highly regimented and homogeneous society was unable to counter the innovation by the allies on the battlefield.

  • The USSR fell because they attempted to standardize the population’s thinking.
  • The USA is lagging because all children are being taught the same mistakes.

China’s and Russia’s economy are now booming because of the now permitted entrepreneurial and enterprising thinking.

Common core is just a way to homogenize the spirit.

If all milk was homogenized then where would we get creme and butter or cheese and yogurt?

Those MAP tests teach that it is OK to keep secrets from the parents. That advertising is propaganda like the posters and announcements and speeches that sent 6M Jews to the gas chambers in WWII was just good advertising… …and the environmental agenda espoused in the tests is just flat wrong.

Two examples of bad teaching on the environment

1. Dinosaurs were huge because of all the oxygen from all the plants sucking down all that CO2

Wrong – It was because the plants provided an abundant food supply. An organism must regulate its intake of oxygen because it is toxic in large quantities

2. Butterflies are rare because there is insufficient open space

Wrong – Butterflies are rare because they eat milk weed which is aggressively eradicated because the milk in the weed can cause blindness in children.

When it comes to centralized planning as with Common Core and MAP test materials the question is: Who watches the watchers?????

I would suggest sir that you take off the tinfoil hat and study the far ranging implications of standardizing the education in America.

Conformity is the hob-goblin of a small mind!

TTTT Takeaway Activism and Notes – July 2013

The Meeting

At our July TTTT, we were joined by the editor of the Missouri Education Watchdog, Gretchen Logue.  She presented information and concerns on the Common Core State Standards.  She took questions and gave answers.

.

.

About Gretchen Logue

Gretchen Logue attended her first tea party rally back in February 2009 and four years later finds herself the co-editor of the Missouri Education Watchdog – a blog dedicated to reporting on local, state and national education issues.

She is a wife, the mother of two children, and a native Southerner from Jacksonville, FL.  She and her family moved to St. Louis so her older son could attend Central Institute for the Deaf and then the Moog Oral School for education. The family made this life changing decision because their son’s needs were not being met by the only system available to him in Florida – the public education arena.  This is when she became convinced parents should have choices in their children’s education using their own tax dollars as they see best.

She began blogging in 2010 when it was discovered no one was reporting that our nation’s school districts were signing on to an education plan referred to as “Race to the Top”.  Her passion was ignited when she discovered Race to the Top was being promoted by the states departments of education and there were increased federal mandates being foisted on the states.

Now she is focused on helping educate communities in Missouri about the Common Core State Standards for Education.

.

Takeaway Activism

.

TA1 – Exercise Self-Governance:

There are lobbyists for unions; lobbyists for banks; lobbyists for lawyers; lobbyists for river smelt; lobbyists for death row murderers; lobbyists for sports stadiums.

Who’s lobbying for you and me?

The first step in the process to increase your self-governance is to become active.  To guide our representatives to enact legislation and policy that increases our freedom and our self-governance, we must take part in the process.  And, to take part in the process, we need to be involved at the time and location that the process is taking place.

To that end, we asked each Third Tuesday Tea Time attendee to take part in at least one meeting of a local governing body.

.

Public Meetings – Attend / Take Notes / Report

Wed 7/17 7:00p SEMO10 Meeting
Thu 7/18 9:00a County Commission
Thu 7/18 5:00p Center for Self-Governance Training – Lvl1 Pt1
Thu 7/18 6:30p Pachyderm Club
Fri 7/19 5:00p Center for Self-Governance Training – Lvl1 Pt2
Mon 7/22 9:00a County Commission
Mon 7/22 6:30p Heartland Citizens For Education Awareness
Thu 7/25 9:00a County Commission
Thu 7/25 6:00p CCTP Steering Committee
Thu 7/25 7:00p Options for Women Pregnancy Resource Center
Mon 7/29 9:00a County Commission
Thu 8/1 9:00a County Commission
Thu 8/1 6:00p CCTP Steering Committee
Fri 8/2 12:00p Republican Women’s Club Meeting
Mon 8/5 9:00a County Commission
Mon 8/5 5:00p Cape City Council
Mon 8/5 5:30p Scott County Republicans
Mon 8/5 7:00p Jackson City Council
Thu 8/8 9:00a County Commission
Thu 8/8 6:00p CCTP Steering Committee
Mon 8/12 9:00a County Commission
Tue 8/13 7:00p Jackson School Board
Tue 8/13 7:00p Cape Girardeau Goes Green Advisory Board
Wed 8/14 7:00p Cape Planning & Zoning
Wed 8/14 7:00p Jackson Planning & Zoning
Thu 8/15 9:00a County Commission
Thu 8/15 6:00p CCTP Steering Committee
Thu 8/15 7:00p Pachyderm Club
Sat 8/17 9:00a Center for Self-Governance Training – Level 1
Mon 8/19 9:00a County Commission
Mon 8/19 5:00p Cape City Council
Mon 8/19 7:00p Jackson City Council
Tue 8/20 6:30p CCTP Third Tuesday Tea Time

For more details on individual meetings, visit our web site at:

http://CapeCountyTeaParty.org/Calendar

 

DESE Common Core Meeting / A lesson in controlling the message

I attended the DESE Common Core Meeting at 6:30pm on 05/02/13 in Cape Girardeau, MO at the Career and Technology Center, and what I witnessed was mastery of controlling the message.  Of course, there was not prayer or Pledge of Allegiance; this is the school!  Prayers are forbidden by the Constitution and the Pledge is offensive (/sarc)

The sound quality was ridiculous, and I have no idea the name of the gentleman that led the event.  He worked through a PowerPoint presentation including videos by educators that could not be understood due to the poor sound.

The leader of the event stated clearly at one point:  “There will be no data collection.”  However, a quick review of CCSSO.org website leads you to these two pages self-refuting the leader’s claims:

CCSSO - Data Collection - 02 CCSSO - Data Collection - 01Sadly, a leader in the Education industry would absolutely LIE about whether or not there will be data collection involved with Common Core Standards

Divide and Conquer

We had heard that there would be 15 leaders or members of DESE at the event.  We couldn’t imagine why they would put so many on the dais.  As it turned out there was no dais, and there were 30 DESE organized leaders at the event.  Why?

As you entered the event, you were assigned to 1 of 15 tables.  Each table had a Table Leader and a Table Recorder.  The attendees (proponent or opponent) were divided into 15 tables, so the interaction was between approximately 6 attendees and two studied proponents of Common Core.

Each table was provided with a form to complete.  The form contained two questions:

  • What do you like about Common Core?
  • What questions do you have about Common Core?

The facilitators at table #12 were Jeff Lindsey and Wade Bartels.  Both were very nice and listened as we tried to fill out the form.  Jeff gave anecdotal information about the process of aligning to Common Core in St. Genevieve, MO and how great it was going.

When we asked him our questions about CCSS, the typical answer was “I don’t know”.

  • How much will this cost the state? I don’t know
  • How much will this cost your school? I don’t know
  • What is the cost going to be for the technology to allow completion of the standardized tests? I don’t know
  • According to the CCSSO web site, there will be data collection.  What data will be collected?  I don’t know
  • We read that the standards are copyrighted.  Will the schools be able to make changes? I don’t know

What Jeff Lindsey did know was that he really wanted his table to come up with an answer to the question… What do you like about Common Core?

Unfortunately, the time allotted for table discussions, and table #12 never listed a positive feeling about Common Core.

Following the kitchen table discussion, the messaging control continued.  Table Recorders, not attendees, were summoned to the front one-by-one to read the list of things that attendees liked about Common Core.  All of the ‘likes’ were read.  For the questions about Common Core, duplicate questions were skipped.  One CCTP member noted that 5 items were read from their lies of ‘likes’ that weren’t discussed at the table.  They ‘magically’ appeared.

I provided Jeff and Wade a long paragraph with questions about data collection, CCSSO, and EIMAC.  When Wade asked the question on microphone he simply said, “What is EIMAC?”

Strategy Worked

As I said, the DESE folks employed a brilliant Divide and Conquer strategy, and it worked to perfection.

  • Prevented general attendees from hearing tough questions asked at one table that was not asked at another table
  • Prevented mini-speeches given by attendees
  • Separated less knowledgeable attendees from stronger more studied attendees
  • No negative press to be reported by the media
  • DESE walked away with positive talking points and a long list of things that Cape Girardeau liked about Common Core

For me, there was a positive outcome.  At a Table #12 side discussion, a teacher stated that she liked common core because every school would teach the same topics at the same grade levels.  She continued that children moving state-to-state would be able to pick right up where they left off in their new school.

Her statement helped me finally crystallize my foremost reason for opposing Common Core.  CCSS removes any desire for one school to work to excel.  Children will be tested for certain skills at certain ages, and there will actually be negative reinforcement should a school decide to teach subjects at different grade levels to help them excel.  Should the school choose to teach some subject in a different order or different grade, their assessment ratings will suffer.  They will see lower ratings and less funding.

This is the absolute antithesis of freedom and self-governance.

Questions and likes reported back to the attendees:

  • If state led, why were funders from Federal Tax $$$?
  • Liked Crosswalk on DESE web site
  • Will International books be implemented?
  • Federal Control?
  • Why no question about what we don’t like?
  • What comprehensive studies have been developed?
  • How often reviewed / revised?
  • How can standards be enacted that haven’t been evaluated in classrooms?
  • How will they handle gifted students?
  • How will they help students not currently meeting standards?
  • How will local districts have a say?
  • What pilot studies have been conducted?
  • Too one size fits all
  • Not enough options for teacher flexibility
  • Govt grab for control of education
  • Not enough parental involvement
  • Ideologically different from local values
  • Is common core copyrighted?
  • What is EIMAC?
  • Has state legislature voted to adopt CCSS?
  • Liked fewer standards / flexible teacher instructions
  • Liked incorporation of non-fiction / promotion of critical thinking
  • Further investigation of who initiated development?
  • Who will profit?
  • Can state of MO step back and wait for other states to prove CCSS works?

Below are Miscellaneous Notes taken that may or may not make sense:

  • Crosswalk
    • Shows where a concept is located in CCSS vs. Show-Me
    • Fewer topics but more in dept
    • Teachers saw that common core was more rigorous
  • Why need for common state standards?
    • 2007 NGA / CCSSO decided to define Common Core Standards
    • Facilitated State-Led development
    • Rigorous
    • Research and Evidence Based
    • Define what all students are expected to know
    • Teachers develop lesson plans
    • Adoption was voluntary
    • Aligned to Show-Me standards / College Standards
    • All students will graduate college and career ready
    • Currently
      • 36% must take remedial
      • $90M cost for remedial
      • $32M lost wages
  • Video – Chris Nicastro / Mr. Russell
    • State-Led involving parents / teachers
  • Missouri Involvement
    • College and Career readiness standards
    • Based on career readiness, k-12 learning progressions developed
    • MO Represented on Development Team
    • Standards released on 6/2/10
    • Teachers
    • Principles
    • Parents
    • Education Experts
  • ELA
    • Non-fiction
      • More
    • Complex Text Academic Vocabulary
      • Regular practice with complex text and its vocab words
      • Spelling?
  • Math
    • Focus
      • 2-4 concepts focused deeply in each grade
    • Coherence
      • Connect learning from one grade to next linked topics
    • Rigor
      • Real world situations
  • Preparing for Transition
    • Crosswalk document
    • Statewide public sessions on standards
    • Model curriculum
  • Wrap-up
    • Federal Government Played no Role
  • Discussion
    • Anything said here tonight means absolutely nothing next year because criteria will keep changing
    • Jeff L – I look at common core as a plan
    • Jeff L – Doesn’t know anything about it being copyrighted

Is the Common Core in Trouble?

by

That is a question asked by Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog.  She writes:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently met with Chamber of Commerce leaders and urged them to be more vocal and forceful in defending the Common Core State Standards. Why?

Duncan made the appeal, which was reported by Education Week, because the initiative — a set of common standards adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia designed to raise student achievement — has come under such withering attack in recent months that what once seemed like a major policy success for the Obama administration now looks troubled.

A handful of states (including Indiana, Alabama, South Dakota and Georgia) are either pulling back or considering it, and core supporters fear more states will too.  A growing number of educators are complaining that states have done a poor job implementing the standards and are pushing core-aligned tests on students too early. And parents have started a campaign to “opt” their children out of the Common Core-aligned high-stakes standardized tests.

She then mentions the RNC resolution  which helped resurrect an Alabama bill,  See also mentioned Senator Grassley’s move to defund the Common Core and that it has bipartisan opposition.

Just today the Michigan House just voted to defund the Common Core.  The Indiana Senate passed a measure to slow down the implementation (twice actually!).  The Indiana House and Governor Mike Pence are under pressure to act.

All of this must have lead the Indiana Chamber of Commerce to act with this smear campaign for a blog post.

Two moms from Indianapolis, a handful of their friends and a couple dozen small but vocal Tea Party groups. That’s the entire Indiana movement that is advocating for a halt to the Common Core State Standards. No educational backgrounds. No track record of supporting education reforms or any other past education issues. And worst of all: A demonstrated willingness to say just about anything, no matter how unsubstantiated or blatantly false, to advocate their cause.

Meanwhile, the policy that they are attacking was implemented by former Gov. Mitch Daniels, then State Superintendent Tony Bennett, the Indiana Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education. To date, 45 other states have also adopted it. Common Core has been supported by superintendents, school boards, Indiana’s Catholic and other private schools, principals, teachers unions, the Indiana PTA, various education reform groups, higher education and more. The business community is actively engaged, including strong support from the Indiana Chamber, Eli Lilly, Cummins, Dow AgroSciences, IU Health and many others.

Can you say elitist snob?  Perhaps many educators are not speaking out because they are encouraged told not to.  They also fail to mention the person who unseated Tony Bennett – Glenda Ritz – has stated opposition to the Common Core.

Also I’d love to know exactly what they claim to be blatantly false?  See we are pretty good at referencing our claims about the Common Core.  Those who advocate for it, not so much.

Also while we are on the subject of truth then the Indiana Chamber of Commerce should tell the truth about who is funding the Common Core and the reviews of it – the Gates Foundation.

Sad.  The Common Core is in trouble and Arne Duncan, and it would seem the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, are getting desperate.

Shane Vander Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Caffeinated Thoughts, a popular Christian conservative blog in Iowa. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, a social media & communications consulting/management firm, along with serving as the communications director for American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative.  Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.  He has taught Jr. High History along with being the Dean of Students for Christian school in Indiana.  Shane and his wife home school their three teenage children and have done so since the beginning.   He has recently been recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the top political influencers in Iowa. Shane and his family reside near Des Moines, IA.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Google +.

Why Common Core Will Fail: Hippos and Tomatoes.

No matter how big the tomatoes get, they are not what the communities need.

And this is why Common Core will fail.

Watch Ernesto Sirolli in this TED talk on Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!  and see if you agree that the education reformers are akin to the aid workers planting tomatoes where they shouldn’t be planted.  This type of approach didn’t help Sirolli in helping impoverished African communities.  Why would the same methodology be successful in solving the “crisis in education” we’ve been led to believe we have in the US?

Everything I do, and everything I do professionally — my life — has been shaped by seven years of work as a young man in Africa. From 1971 to 1977 — I look young, but I’m not — (Laughter) — I worked in Zambia, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Somalia, in projects of technical cooperation with African countries.

I worked for an Italian NGO, and every single project that we set up in Africa failed. And I was distraught. I thought, age 21, that we Italians were good people and we were doing good work in Africa. Instead, everything we touched we killed.

Our first project, the one that has inspired my first book, “Ripples from the Zambezi,” was a project where we Italians decided to teach Zambian people how to grow food. So we arrived there with Italian seeds in southern Zambia in this absolutely magnificent valley going down to the Zambezi River, and we taught the local people how to grow Italian tomatoes and zucchini and … And of course the local people had absolutely no interest in doing that, so we paid them to come and work, and sometimes they would show up. (Laughter) And we were amazed that the local people, in such a fertile valley, would not have any agriculture. But instead of asking them how come they were not growing anything, we simply said, “Thank God we’re here.” (Laughter) “Just in the nick of time to save the Zambian people from starvation.”

And of course, everything in Africa grew beautifully. We had these magnificent tomatoes. In Italy, a tomato would grow to this size. In Zambia, to this size. And we could not believe, and we were telling the Zambians, “Look how easy agriculture is.” When the tomatoes were nice and ripe and red, overnight, some 200 hippos came out from the river and they ate everything. (Laughter)

And we said to the Zambians, “My God, the hippos!”

And the Zambians said, “Yes, that’s why we have no agriculture here.” (Laughter)

“Why didn’t you tell us?” “You never asked.”

I thought it was only us Italians blundering around Africa, but then I saw what the Americans were doing, what the English were doing, what the French were doing, and after seeing what they were doing, I became quite proud of our project in Zambia. Because, you see, at least we fed the hippos.

You should see the rubbish — (Applause) — You should see the rubbish that we have bestowed on unsuspecting African people. You want to read the book, read “Dead Aid,” by Dambisa Moyo, Zambian woman economist. The book was published in 2009. We Western donor countries have given the African continent two trillion American dollars in the last 50 years. I’m not going to tell you the damage that that money has done. Just go and read her book. Read it from an African woman, the damage that we have done.

We Western people are imperialist, colonialist missionaries, and there are only two ways we deal with people: We either patronize them, or we are paternalistic. The two words come from the Latin root “pater,” which means “father.” But they mean two different things. Paternalistic, I treat anybody from a different culture as if they were my children. “I love you so much.” Patronizing, I treat everybody from another culture as if they were my servants. That’s why the white people in Africa are called “bwana,” boss.

I was given a slap in the face reading a book, “Small is Beautiful,” written by Schumacher, who said, above all in economic development, if people do not wish to be helped, leave them alone. This should be the first principle of aid. The first principle of aid is respect. This morning, the gentleman who opened this conference lay a stick on the floor, and said, “Can we — can you imagine a city that is not neocolonial?”

I decided when I was 27 years old to only respond to people, and I invented a system called Enterprise Facilitation, where you never initiate anything, you never motivate anybody, but you become a servant of the local passion, the servant of local people who have a dream to become a better person. So what you do — you shut up. You never arrive in a community with any ideas, and you sit with the local people. We don’t work from offices. We meet at the cafe. We meet at the pub. We have zero infrastructure. And what we do, we become friends, and we find out what that person wants to do.

The most important thing is passion. You can give somebody an idea. If that person doesn’t want to do it, what are you going to do? The passion that the person has for her own growth is the most important thing. The passion that that man has for his own personal growth is the most important thing. And then we help them to go and find the knowledge, because nobody in the world can succeed alone. The person with the idea may not have the knowledge, but the knowledge is available.

So years and years ago, I had this idea: Why don’t we, for once, instead of arriving in the community to tell people what to do, why don’t, for once, listen to them? But not in community meetings.

Let me tell you a secret. There is a problem with community meetings. Entrepreneurs never come, and they never tell you, in a public meeting, what they want to do with their own money, what opportunity they have identified. So planning has this blind spot. The smartest people in your community you don’t even know, because they don’t come to your public meetings.

What we do, we work one-on-one, and to work one-on-one, you have to create a social infrastructure that doesn’t exist. You have to create a new profession. The profession is the family doctor of enterprise, the family doctor of business, who sits with you in your house, at your kitchen table, at the cafe, and helps you find the resources to transform your passion into a way to make a living.

I started this as a tryout in Esperance, in Western Australia. I was a doing a Ph.D. at the time, trying to go away from this patronizing bullshit that we arrive and tell you what to do. And so what I did in Esperance that first year was to just walk the streets, and in three days I had my first client, and I helped this first guy who was smoking fish from a garage, was a Maori guy, and I helped him to sell to the restaurant in Perth, to get organized, and then the fishermen came to me to say, “You the guy who helped Maori? Can you help us?

And I helped these five fishermen to work together and get this beautiful tuna not to the cannery in Albany for 60 cents a kilo, but we found a way to take the fish for sushi to Japan for 15 dollars a kilo, and the farmers came to talk to me, said, “Hey, you helped them. Can you help us?” In a year, I had 27 projects going on, and the government came to see me to say, “How can you do that? How can you do — ?” And I said, “I do something very, very, very difficult. I shut up, and listen to them.” (Laughter)

So — (Applause) — So the government says, “Do it again.” (Laughter) We’ve done it in 300 communities around the world. We have helped to start 40,000 businesses. There is a new generation of entrepreneurs who are dying of solitude.

Peter Drucker, one of the greatest management consultants in history, died age 96, a few years ago. Peter Drucker was a professor of philosophy before becoming involved in business, and this is what Peter Drucker says: “Planning is actually incompatible with an entrepreneurial society and economy.” Planning is the kiss of death of entrepreneurship.

So now you’re rebuilding Christchurch without knowing what the smartest people in Christchurch want to do with their own money and their own energy. You have to learn how to get these people to come and talk to you. You have to offer them confidentiality, privacy, you have to be fantastic at helping them, and then they will come, and they will come in droves. In a community of 10,000 people, we get 200 clients. Can you imagine a community of 400,000 people, the intelligence and the passion? Which presentation have you applauded the most this morning? Local, passionate people. That’s who you have applauded.

So what I’m saying is that entrepreneurship is where it’s at. We are at the end of the first industrial revolution — nonrenewable fossil fuels, manufacturing — and all of a sudden, we have systems which are not sustainable. The internal combustion engine is not sustainable. Freon way of maintaining things is not sustainable. What we have to look at is at how we feed, cure, educate, transport, communicate for seven billion people in a sustainable way. The technologies do not exist to do that. Who is going to invent the technology for the green revolution? Universities? Forget about it! Government? Forget about it! It will be entrepreneurs, and they’re doing it now.

There’s a lovely story that I read in a futurist magazine many, many years ago. There was a group of experts who were invited to discuss the future of the city of New York in 1860. And in 1860, this group of people came together, and they all speculated about what would happen to the city of New York in 100 years, and the conclusion was unanimous: The city of New York would not exist in 100 years. Why? Because they looked at the curve and said, if the population keeps growing at this rate, to move the population of New York around, they would have needed six million horses, and the manure created by six million horses would be impossible to deal with. They were already drowning in manure. (Laughter) So 1860, they are seeing this dirty technology that is going to choke the life out of New York.

So what happens? In 40 years’ time, in the year 1900, in the United States of America, there were 1,001 car manufacturing companies — 1,001. The idea of finding a different technology had absolutely taken over, and there were tiny, tiny little factories in backwaters. Dearborn, Michigan. Henry Ford.

However, there is a secret to work with entrepreneurs. First, you have to offer them confidentiality. Otherwise they don’t come and talk to you. Then you have to offer them absolute, dedicated, passionate service to them. And then you have to tell them the truth about entrepreneurship. The smallest company, the biggest company, has to be capable of doing three things beautifully: The product that you want to sell has to be fantastic, you have to have fantastic marketing, and you have to have tremendous financial management.

Guess what? We have never met a single human being in the world who can make it, sell it and look after the money. It doesn’t exist. This person has never been born. We’ve done the research, and we have looked at the 100 iconic companies of the world — Carnegie, Westinghouse, Edison, Ford, all the new companies, Google, Yahoo. There’s only one thing that all the successful companies in the world have in common, only one: None were started by one person.

Now we teach entrepreneurship to 16-year-olds in Northumberland, and we start the class by giving them the first two pages of Richard Branson’s autobiography, and the task of the 16-year-olds is to underline, in the first two pages of Richard Branson’s autobiography how many times Richard uses the word “I” and how many times he uses the word “we.” Never the word “I,” and the word “we” 32 times. He wasn’t alone when he started. Nobody started a company alone. No one.

So we can create the community where we have facilitators who come from a small business background sitting in cafes, in bars, and your dedicated buddies who will do to you, what somebody did for this gentleman who talks about this epic, somebody who will say to you, “What do you need? What can you do? Can you make it? Okay, can you sell it? Can you look after the money?” “Oh, no, I cannot do this.” “Would you like me to find you somebody?”

We activate communities. We have groups of volunteers supporting the Enterprise Facilitator to help you to find resources and people and we have discovered that the miracle of the intelligence of local people is such that you can change the culture and the economy of this community just by capturing the passion, the energy and imagination of your own people.

Thank you. (Applause)

Think about the creation/adoption/implementation of Common Core:

Did David Coleman, Bill Gates, Jeb Bush, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, and other education reformers ask the communities what they wanted?

Are these reformers paternalistic or patronizing?

Do the reformers respect the taxpayers or have they even asked for their respect?

Are they respectful of what the communities want in schools?

Are the reformers servants of local passion, or are the taxpayers the servants of the education reformers?

Is the passion from the reformers for student personal growth or for data?

Have the education reformers ever listened to the community and its needs?

Is the structuring of education and time consuming assessments into a “one size fits all” approach the death of individualism and entrepreneurship?

Do you believe that private companies who have crafted standards that are copyrighted and cannot be altered/modified in any manner care about the passion, energy and imagination of teachers and students?

Do you believe the reformers have planted tomatoes that serve no purpose except for the reformers’ needs?

They’ve never asked the communities what they wanted and they have given us what we don’t need.

Three on Three Common Core Debate

April 17, 2013

Shane Vander Hart

The post Three on Three Common Core Debate appeared first on Truth in American Education.

Choice Media put together a “debate” of six education policy experts yesterday.

Here’s the video:

Rotherham doesn’t, in my opinion, seem to grasp the depth of the opposition’s complaint.  He also doesn’t grasp the concept of federalism.  Also state-led would mean state legislatures would be involved which wasn’t the case.  Since he admits the Obama Administration’s involvement it would be better for him to say that the Common Core is special interest/trade organization-led and Federally-endorsed.

He also says that they stopped with math and ELA standards.  Is he so out-of-touch with the news that he doesn’t realize social studies standards and science standards are being put together much the same way?

He talks a lot about teachers, teachers, teachers…. parents?  Where do parents and taxpayers have any type of say?

At least admit the process stunk even if you like the standards.

Neal McCluskey… where’s the research?  Exactly.  Common Standards for people who are different?  Does that make sense?  Nope.

Checker Finn has “come to favor” the Common Core State Standards…. was this before or after Fordham received money from Bill Gates?

Sorry can’t take you seriously.

According to Finn, most states “dreamed” up standards.  That has to be one of the most arrogant statements I’ve heard in this debate.  I’m speechless.

Rick Hess points out the assertion that some make that things in education can’t get worse as a fallacy.  He said “I think the world teaches us things can always get worse; given what I see as some of the hubris and the tone deafness on the part of the Common Core advocates I think if I was absolutely forced to say I’m more skeptical or more optimistic at this point, I’d have to say I’m more skeptical.

He’s believes most states will self-correct and states won’t implement anything like what the advocates originally hoped.  “I believe this will be much more modest in scale in 2017 than what most will anticipate today.”

He sees a lot of “intellectual dishonesty” among the champions of the Common Core.

Patricia Levesque supports the Common Core because she’s a mom.  “I have a 2-and-a-half year-old and a four-and-a-half year old.”  We have plenty of moms who are against.  The effort in Indiana to root out the Common Core has been led by two moms.  As a mom she believes that the Common Core State Standards are “better and higher” than many state standards were in the past.

Her four-year-old has autism… so we are going to want Common Core Math Standards in kindergarten to be in line with an autistic child who already knows how to count to 100?  While certainly not all autistic children excellent at math, some really do to the point of being a genius.

So no, we shouldn’t set standards around Levesque’s child.  If he needs to be pushed a gifted learners class or program should be offered.

Jay Greene doesn’t pull any punches.  “I believe the Common Core is a big waste of time therefore I oppose it.”  He doesn’t believe standards reform is a promising avenue for improving schools.  He pointed out a Brookings Institution Study that debunked the Fordham study linking state standards with student achievement.  He said, “standards are nothing but a bunch of words … that are aspirations about what we think children ought to learn and they generally are vague statements that are relatively innocuous and have no controlling power over what schools actually do or what teachers actually do when they close their door.  He believes the Common Core Assessments are a “political bridge too far” and believes it is doomed to failure.

Shane Vander Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Caffeinated Thoughts, a popular Christian conservative blog in Iowa. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, a social media & communications consulting/management firm, along with serving as the communications director for American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative.  Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.  He has taught Jr. High History along with being the Dean of Students for Christian school in Indiana.  Shane and his wife home school their three teenage children and have done so since the beginning.   He has recently been recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the top political influencers in Iowa. Shane and his family reside near Des Moines, IA.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Google +.

Myths Verses Facts

Myth
.  Common Core (CC) was a state-led initiative.
Fact

.  The CC standards were initiated by private interests in Washington, DC, without any representation from the states. Eventually the creators realized the need to present a façade of state involvement and therefore enlisted the National Governors Association (NGA) (a trade association that doesn’t include all governors) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), another DC-based trade association. Neither of these groups had a grant of authority from any particular state or states to write the standards. The bulk of the creative work was done by Achieve, Inc., a DC-based nonprofit that includes many progressive education reformers who have been advocating national standards and curriculum for decades. Massive funding for all this came from private interests such as the Gates Foundation.

Myth.  The federal government is not involved in the Common Core scheme.
Fact

.  The US Department of Education (USED) was deeply involved in the meetings that led to creation of Common Core. Moreover, it has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the two consortia that are creating the national tests that will align with CC.  USED is acting as the enforcer to herd states into the scheme (see next myth).

Myth.  States that adopted CC did so voluntarily, without federal coercion.

Fact
.  Most states that adopted CC did so to be eligible to compete for federal Race to the Top funding. To have a chance at that money, recession-racked states agreed to adopt the CC standards and the aligned national tests sight unseen. In addition, the Obama Administration tied No Child Left Behind waivers to CC adoption, making it very difficult for a state to obtain a waiver without agreeing to accept CC.

Myth
.  Under Common Core, the states will still control their standards.

Fact
.  A state that adopts CC must accept the standards word for word. It may not change or delete anything, and may allow only a small amount of additional content (which won’t be covered on the national tests).

Myth
.  Common Core is only a set of standards, not curriculum; states will still control their curriculum.

Fact

.  The point of standards is to drive curriculum. Ultimately, all the CC states will be teaching pretty much the same curriculum. In fact, the testing consortia being funded by USED admitted in their grant applications that they would use the money to develop curriculum models.

Myth.  
The Common Core standards are rigorous and will make our children “college-ready.”

Fact

.  Even the Fordham Institute, a proponent of CC, admits that several states had standards superior to CC and that many states had standards at least as good. CC has been described as a “race to the middle.”  And as admitted by one drafter of the CC math standards, CC is designed to prepare students for a nonselective two-year community college, not a four-year university.

The only mathematician on the CC Validation Committee said that the CC math standards will place our students about two years behind their counterparts in high-performing countries. An expert in English education said that CC’s English language arts standards consist of “empty skill sets . . . [that] weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.” She also suspects from her analysis of work done so far on the standards that the reading level deemed sufficient for high-school graduation will be at about the 7th-grade level. And CC revamps the American model of classical education to resemble a European model, which de-emphasizes the study of creative literature and places students on “tracks” (college vs. vocational) at an early age.

Myth
.  The Common Core standards are “internationally benchmarked.”

Fact

.  No information was presented to the Validation Committee to show how CC stacked up against standards of other high-achieving countries. In fact, the CC establishment no longer claims that the standards are “internationally benchmarked” – the website now states that they are “informed by” the standards of other countries. There is no definition of “informed by.”

Myth
.  We need common standards to be able to compare our students’ performance to that of students in other states.

Fact. 

If we want to do that, we already can. In the elementary/middle school years we have the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test; in high school we have the SAT and ACT.

Myth.  
We need common standards to help students who move from state to state.

Fact. 

The percentage of students who fit that description is vanishingly small (much less than 2%); most families move, if at all, within states, not to other states. It is nonsensical to bind our entire education system in a straightjacket to benefit such a small number of students.

From the Stop Common Core:  Reclaiming Local Control in Education website page called Myths Verses Facts.  To download this in a table click here.

State Costs for Adopting and Implementing the Common Core State Standards

National Education Standards and Tests: Big Expense, Little Value

Lindsey Burke February 18, 2011 The Heritage Foundation

Spending on Standards and Assessment Systems: Selected States

The budgetary impact of jettisoning state accountability structures and replacing existing standards and testing could be significant—likely much more than RTTT funding provides.
Over the past decade, taxpayers have spent considerable sums to develop existing state accountability systems:

California. California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting Program, which began in 1998, tests students in grades 2–11 in English, math, science, social science, and history. Estimates suggest that it would cost California taxpayers $1.6 billion to replace the existing state standards with the Common Core standards.[4] Yet California has agreed to overhaul its existing system with the new national standards and assessments.

Florida. The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test measures student achievement in grades 3–11 in reading, math, and science. Since 1996, Florida has spent more than $404 million to develop and maintain the system.[5] Taxpayer investment in the existing high-quality assessments has been substantial, and overhauling the system for unproven national assessments, which Florida has agreed to adopt, could produce significant new implementation costs to taxpayers.

Texas. Texas has resisted the push for national standards. The Lone Star State estimates that the adoption of new standards and tests would cost taxpayers upwards of $3 billion. “Adopting national standards and tests would also require the purchase of new textbooks, assessments, and professional development tools, costing Texas taxpayers an estimated $3 billion, on top of the billions of dollars Texas has already invested in developing our strong standards,” stated Governor Rick Perry (R) in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in opposition to national standards and tests.[6]

Virginia. The Virginia Board of Education unanimously rejected adoption of the proposed Common Core State Standards and tests. One of the board’s chief arguments against adopting national standards was fiscal, with members noting that “Virginia’s investment in the Standards of Learning [SOL] since 1995 far exceeds the $250 million Virginia potentially could have received by abandoning the SOL and competing in phase two of Race to the Top.”[7] Indeed, since 1996, Virginia taxpayers have paid more than $379 million to develop and implement the state SOLs. The costs for developing the SOLs include expenditures for the initial development and subsequent revisions of the curriculum frameworks and assessments, as well as the development of new supporting materials and professional development related to using the new testing system.

California

California and the Common Core: Will There Be a New Debate About K–12 Standards?
June 2010 EdSource

Based on the state’s past experience, new curriculum frameworks and instructional materials could cost about $800 million for English and math combined. In addition, training teachers in both subjects could cost as much as $765 million, based on an assumption of $2,500 per teacher per subject and counting teachers both in self-contained classrooms and those that teach single subjects. An additional $20 million would be needed for training principals to help them in their work as instructional leaders (based on the amount that the state and the Gates Foundation appropriated in 2001–02 for initial training of administrators). Finally, developing tests based on new standards would add a relatively small amount to the total cost, with the exact sum depending on how quickly the new test questions were phased in and whether the state would retain the existing tests’ format, which currently contains almost entirely multiple-choice questions. Participation in an assessment consortium could also affect this cost. Thus, an estimate of the total cost of a more comprehensive retooling is about $1.6 billion over a few years.

Washington State

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics: Analysis and Recommendations Report to the Legislature January 2011

Estimated Costs for CCSS Implementation
Estimated State Level Costs Per Fiscal Year Five Year Total
2010-11 (FY 11)* $2,500,000
2011-12 (FY 12)* $3,400,000
2012-13 (FY 13)* $3,600,000
2013-14 (FY 14)* $3,800,000
2014-15 (FY 15)* $3,800,000
Total Five Year Estimated State Level Costs $17,100,000
Estimated District Level Costs
2010-11 (FY 11)* $25,300,000
2011-12 (FY 12)* $29,600,000
2012-13 (FY 13)* $35,100,000
2013-14 (FY 14)* $41,800,000
2014-15 (FY 15)* $33,700,000
Total Five Year Estimated District Level Costs $165,500,000
Total Five Year Estimated State Level and District Level Costs $182,600,000
*Yearly cost estimates are from the OSPI report. See Pages 24 and 29.
Funding Sources for CCSS Implementation
Funding Sources for the Implementation of the CCSS Annual Five Year Total
State Level Sources
State Assessment Budget* $150,000 $750,000
State Funding for Regional Mathematics Coordinators* $1,600,000 $8,000,000
Title II, Part A, Teacher and Principal Quality (federal)* $510,000 $2,550,000
Title II, Part B, Math Science Partnership Grant Funds (federal)* $125,000 $625,000
School Improvement Grant Funds (federal)* no amount provided
SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortia (SBAC) Supplemental Grant $250,000–$300,000 over four years* $300,000
Five Year Total of State Level Fund Sources $12,225,000
Estimated Five Year State Level Costs Total $17,100,000
Est. State Level Costs Minus State Level Fund Sources $4,875,000
District Level Sources*
Basic Education Funding (state) #
Title I (federal) and Learning Assistance Program (LAP, state) &
Title II, Part A, Teacher and Principal Quality (federal) %
School Improvement Grant Funds (SIG, federal) &
Title II, Part B, Math Science Partnership Grant Funds (federal) @
Unable to determine amounts indeterminate
The district level funding sources have been identified and listed above. Given the information in the report it is not possible to determine the amount of funds from any given source that would be allocated to support the implementation of the CCSS. Districts may have commitments for funds, or portions of funds, from any given source that would preclude them from being available to support the implementation of the CCSS.
Estimated Five Year District Level Costs Total $165,500,000
* Fund source information is from the OSPI report. State level sources pages 25-26. District level sources pages 30-32.
# Figures presented were not consistent and could not be used to determine any annual or five year total amount of funds available
& An unspecified portion of an undisclosed amount may be used by qualifying districts
% An unspecified portion of an undisclosed amount may be used according to individual district’s comprehensive plan
@ WA receives $2.5 million annually of which $2 million may support implementation efforts

Tables from Where’s the Money? pdf developed by The Underground Parent.

Missouri

Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
Frequently Asked Questions Common Core State Standards

As stated earlier, the Department has not requested additional or new funding for the implementation or professional development associated with revised standards and assessments.

DESE: All In On Common Core – Alternative Points-Of-View Need Not Apply

DESE - 01.

Received an e-mail today alerting us to an e-mail sent to various education-related personnel with the following text:

Support the Common Core Standards

The Missouri Learning Standards for education include the Common Core State Standards – a set of high-quality academic expectations in English language arts and mathematics. These standards define what students should know and be able to do to be on track for success in college and careers. The standards promote critical thinking and reasoning skills students need for success after high school graduation.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is compiling a list of supporters for the Common Core State Standards implementation in the state of Missouri. If you, your organization, or your school district, support the statement on our website, please send an email to communications@dese.mo.gov and let us know. We will add your name to the list of supporters.

·         Information on Common Core

·         Fordham Institute testimony on standards

.

Being curious about the ‘Fairness’ of the DESE as we’re supposed to be concerned about ‘Fairness‘ in the State of Missouri, and ‘Fairness‘ is good, and ‘Fairness‘ is our goal, so the following e-mail was sent to the above address:

Greetings,

I received the information [above]. Are you employing fairness and also compiling a list of organizations that oppose Common Core Standards?

I look forward to your reply.

.

Surprisingly, the reply was almost immediate:

Mr. Bollmann,

After careful study of Missouri’s standards and the common core standards, the State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010 as part of its duties for setting high standards for education according to the Missouri Constitution. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education supports the Common Core State Standards along with the overwhelming majority of the education and business community. Therefore, we are not compiling a list of those that do not support the standards.

Thanks,

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Communications | 573.751.3469 | dese.mo.gov

.

Alternative points-of-view need not apply.

I believe I too will change my name to ‘Communications’.

Freedom in education: how it was lost

Dr. Joel McDurmon

June 17, 2012

http://americanvision.org/countyrights/?p=89

I have written how free, purely private education was the American way, and it worked. I mentioned how this was the norm up until at least the 1830s and really even beyond. I ended with the question, “Why did it change?” How was this high level of freedom and individual responsibility lost? How did a once-completely-free aspect of life come to be dominated by government mandates and taxation—that is, government confiscation of private property?

I mentioned how some claim that changes in society necessitated reform of education. For some reason or other, upswings in technology, mechanization, the industrial revolution, and a few other things allegedly changed the face of society so drastically that the only way to bring the masses of common people up to speed was for government to intervene, begin to confiscate and redistribute wealth with which to provide public schools. Does this argument have any basis in fact?

Only to a very limited extent. The truth involves much more than that.

The truth involves several factors that pertain mainly to elitist influences being imposed for the benefit of those who imposed them. Here we’ll cover the four most important social factors involved: First, a rival religious ideology; Second, reactions to mass immigration in the late 1840s and forward; Third, the forces of big corporate business; and Fourth, the allure of “free” education (in the sense of no financial cost) to the masses. Let’s look at what I mean:

First, the rival religion. This was the influence of Unitarianism, particularly through New England congregational churches, and mainly by the work of Unitarian activists. These individuals had abandoned many traditional Christian doctrines, and instead promoted the ideals that mankind could be perfected through proper education and training; they believed in the essential divinity of mankind; they believed that this divinity of man was most pronounced when mankind is considered collectively as a whole; so, therefore, they believed that the civil State was the highest expression of divinity on earth; and thus, they believed, that the State was the ultimate parent and benefactor of individuals.

Perhaps the most important of these types was the so-called father of public schools in America, Horace Mann. Mann, a Congregationalist minister, believed very strongly in the positions just stated, and more. Mann argued that human rights derive from Nature; and this Nature—with a capital “N”—he interpreted, “proves an *absolute right* to an education of every human being that comes into the world.” This is the classic “entitlement mentality” which has characterized leftism, communism, socialism, etc., before and since, which today is often applied to health care, employment, etc.—here Horace Mann applied it very early to education, by which he meant public education.

He argued two basic propositions about education: education should be secularized—geared toward civic virtue and efficiency rather than religious worldview—and education should be the function of the civil government, not families. In fact, he sought to replace the family with an explicitly paternal state. He called Society collectively a “godfather for all its children,” and said, “Massachusetts is *parental* in her government.”

Unitarian activists, such as Horace Mann, were ready and willing to employ government force in order to remake society according to their mandates and by their means—in fact, government force was the name of the game. Some of the guys in this movement were fiercely radical with this belief. In the mid-1850s, the radical revolutionary John Brown committed several acts of violence and murder in Kansas and in Virginia intending to start a slave rebellion that he thought would eventually bring about abolition. The underlying belief was that it is legitimate to use violent revolution to impose better social values. Shortly before his death by hanging, Brown himself made this point explicitly: he said he was “quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood,” and that this would never be done without “very much bloodshed.” He was a terrorist, born and bred on American soil, and carried out acts of terrorism on American soil, in the name of social and political change for the better. Now Brown himself had studied in Massachusetts to be a Congregationalist minister, but quit due to financial and health problems. But he established radical connections there that would help finance his later acts. The least publicized aspect of Brown is this: his six main financiers who propagandized his work for him back in New England were all six Unitarian Congregational ministers. And while not every one of these types believed in open revolutionary violence like Brown, nevertheless they all believed in using the force of government to bring about the social changes they thought desirable (which is really not much different if you consider it—it’s comparing one version of unwelcomed coercion for another, and in both cases, imposed by someone who thinks they know better than you, and who believes they have the right and authority to impose their view on you by force).

Mann certainly held such positions in regard to his agenda for imposing public education. He had three basic rules that summarize his view of education as a right, property as socialized, and individuals subservient to the will of the collective (as represented by the decisions of the civil government, of course). He wrote:

The successive generations of men, taken collectively, constitute one great commonwealth.

The property of this commonwealth is pledged for the education of all its youth, up to such a point as will save them from poverty and vice, and perhaps to prepare them for the adequate performance of their social and civil duties.

Note the language of salvation: public schooling required taking people’s property for the education of society’s youth, in order to “save them”; and save them from what: “poverty and vice.” So here you have not only a messianic state, but you have America’s first state-imposed war on poverty. (And it had no greater or more lasting effect on poverty then than it did in under Johnson in the ’60s.) Notice also that property would be taken toward this goal “up to such a point as will save them.” In other words, they would keep taxing and taking until they felt they fulfilled their mission—which is to say, there is no limit. Mann concluded by expressing what can only be called socialism:

The successful holders of this property are trustees, bound to the faithful execution of their trust by the most sacred obligations; and embezzlement and pillage from children and descendants have not less criminality . . . than the same offenses when perpetrated against contemporaries.

In the public schooling worldview, you do not own your property! You can never be a property *owner*; but only a trustee for the property of Society. It is society that determines who will get what and for what purpose; and any resistance to the government’s dictates in this area is considered a crime of embezzlement and pillaging (both crimes done by definition to other people’s property). Note again the religious language: payments in taxes for state-run education are “the most sacred obligations” which require “faithful execution.”

The alleged natural “right” which entitles every human being to an education is so sacred that it transcends that biblical command protecting private property. Mann said:

No one man, nor any one generation of men, has any such title to, or ownership in these ingredients and substantials of all wealth, that his right is invaded when a portion of them is taken for the benefit of posterity.

In other words, we’re going to tax you for education, and you’ll pay the tax and shut up, because you have no right to complain about it. It’s not really your property to begin with, and what we’re doing is for you own good and the good of posterity. Make this note: public schooling from day one was incapable of existing without socialism. It requires by definition the government to claim ownership over at least a portion of every individual’s property.

This was constantly sold to the public as something for their own good. Thaddeus Stevens used this very argument to defend Pennsylvania’s public schooling law of 1834 in the legislature the following year. To those who objected that it was morally wrong to tax some people to pay for other people’s education, he responded, “It is for their own benefit, inasmuch as it perpetuates the government and ensures the due administration of the laws under which they live, and by which their lives and property are protected.” See, the paternal state knows what is best for you, and what is the best use of your money, and besides, such measures “perpetuate the government” that knows all this! Who could be against that?

Mann made his views very explicit. Public schooling was the path to social salvation; all ills would be cured by its full implementation:

The common school is the greatest discovery ever made by man. . . . Other social organizations are curative and remedial; this is a preventative and an antidote; they come to heal diseases and wounds; this to make the physical and moral frame invulnerable to them. Let the common school be expanded to its capabilities, let it be worked with the efficiency with which it is susceptible, and nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete; the long catalogue of human ills would be abridged; men would walk more safely by day; every pillow would be more inviolable by night; property, life and character held by a stronger tenure; all rational hopes respecting the future brightened.

This is language of healing and of hope. This is the language of religion, and Mann wanted it funded by the State. The scholar who studied the history of the state-takeover of education noted what action step Mann really had in mind here. It was the same thing public schools have said ever since: “give us the money and we can do it; our failure thus far is your fault in that we have received insufficient funds.” And of course, Mann like most public school advocates ever since believed that the school and its parent State had a right, an entitlement, to appropriate those funds from private people.

Overrun by such Unitarian thought, Massachusetts was the first state to create a State Board of Education in 1837. As its first chairman, they placed Horace Mann. Of interest was the timing of the creation of this secular board: up until 1832, the Congregational Church was an established church in that state—receiving funding from the state to pay her ministers, etc. That was abolished in 1832 (Massachusetts was the last state to do so), and the state-funded education program was in place in only five years. And in that same year 1837, Mann brokered a political deal that immediately doubled the budget for public education. Common schools were already being funded in Massachusetts by local taxes, but this was the first centralizing of it by the State. The astute observer will note what many public school critics to date have pointed out—the established churches were kicked out and the public schools were made the de facto state-church in their place, but were now officially a secularized state-church, and the tyranny was doubled in the amount of money appropriated for it.

This ideal of secular public school as a new established religion was expressed not only by the facts of the history, but openly in the statements and writings of the movers and shakers of the system. And the attitude lasted well into the twentieth century and exists still in the minds of many today, Christian or not. One representative figure who stated the truth explicitly was James Earl Russell who was Dean of Columbia Teachers College for thirty years, 1897–1927. The task of education, he wrote in 1922, was “making democracy safe for the world,” and this meant “teaching the proper appreciation of life-values.” Indeed, “The doctrine that all shall get what they deserve presupposes that the largest possible number shall be taught to want what it is right that they should have.” In other words, democracy will be great, as long was the public schoolmasters can first train the people what to want and how to vote. Put more succinctly, you can have whatever you want, as long as I have control over what you want! With his idea of democracy in place as an ideal, Russell made his replacement of the church explicit: he admired an era in which this type of trained democracy will “find it expedient to substitute for the established church of the old regime a state-supported and state-controlled school system.”

Of course, this state-controlled system was the antithesis of the free and private system which had existed and served America just fine for over two centuries to this point. Russell new this, and nevertheless saw the change as progress. Before as we mentioned previously, teachers had to compete with each other—and this bred greater choice, improved quality, lowered costs, etc. But socialists like Russell demeaned this system by saying “the teacher was a chattel sold on the open market”; instead he praised “The teacher as a civil servant whose foremost duty is the promotion of the welfare of the State.” He did get one thing right when he called this scheme “a new conception in American life.” It certainly was: not only was the civil State never meant to be a factor in education in the original American way, but the very conception and practice of civil coercion was a rejection of basic American freedoms: freedoms in traditional religion, property, business, and family—all of which had to be overturned and/or replaced in order to impose the grand scheme of State-supported and State-controlled education. Indeed, it was nothing less than a secularized replacement of the established church.

There was at least one religious group that saw what was going on, and they within just a few years began starting their own private schools as an alternative. This was the Roman Catholic Church, and the rise of Catholic parochial schools coincided with the rise of secularized Unitarian public schools from which they would become havens. More importantly, this became viable for them financially due to the second major factor, mass immigration.

Much of this immigration came from Irish Catholics who fled the Irish potato famine beginning in 1845. In 1825, there were only about 5,000 Irish in Boston. In 1845, the number had multiplied six times to 30,000, and they now made up about 30% of the population. These saw the imposition of government schooling as a secularized version of what was formerly Protestantism, so they started their own schools. This was true of most of the other early immigrant groups, most of whom came from Northern Europe, and were either Lutheran or Dutch Reformed. All of these groups started private schools so as to avoid the secularized indoctrination of the public school system, and these denominations still have these traditions today.

But many of the Americans, particularly the Unitarian minded-civil religion types, hated Catholicism, and saw immigrants as a threat, so they tried to use the force of government to impose their version of American culture on these people. To them, public school was not only a means to perfect mankind and cure society of all ills, it was a means of turning immigrants into “good Americans.” And over time, the secularized religious motive fell further into the background, and the promotion of Americanism became the thrust of public schooling. Of course, the America these establishments promoted was already a long way from the America that had once been free. Throughout this whole process, many orthodox Protestants accepted the façade of Christianity in the Unitarian-driven school system, and thus the idea was always accepted that “our” public schools are Christian. But they were so only on the surface—and that for deceptive purposes only.

Immigration not only caused cultural and religious tensions, but also created economic tensions as the labor market was flooded with hundreds of thousands of new people. Of course, with the industrial revolution gathering steam in the 1830s and forward, the waves of immigrants provided a source of very cheap labor. But factories and large business owners quickly learned what type of temperament and mentality was best suited for the tasks of factory labor—someone who was accustomed to repetition, schedules, monotony, quiet obedience, single file lines, etc. And these wealthy influences in society quickly learned they could steer public education to produce such workers.

So the third factor in the loss of liberty in education was the rise of big business, corporations, and particularly the influence of industrialization and factory mechanization. Not only does this pertain to the loss of liberty, but more importantly to the normalization of a life in which that liberty was gone. The mass production of public education became the tool by which America grew adapted to life without freedom in education, in which the question was never even raised.

Now here is where the issue of modernization and industrial revolution come in; and like I said, there is some truth (albeit very limited) to this phenomenon requiring changes in society. But here is the important qualification: the phenomenon itself did not require political changes for education, but rather big business found it profitable to ally with big government and leverage government power—just as the Unitarian ideologues had done for their agenda—in order to start mass-producing workers to meet the demand for factory labor. Soon, the schools mass-produced workers in the same way the factories mass-produced widgets.

And the atmosphere of public schooling was—or could be made—the perfect place for this training to occur. Looking back on the scenario, one education reformer, Charles Francis Adams, Jr., described that atmosphere in 1880:

Most of you, indeed, cannot but have been part and parcel of one of those huge, mechanical, educational machines, or mills, as they might more properly be called. They are, I believe, peculiar to our own time and country, and are so organized as to combine as nearly as possible the principal characteristics of the cotton-mill and the railroad with those of the model state’s prison. The school committee is the board of directors; while the superintendent — the chief executive officer — sits in his central office with the timetable, which he calls a programme, before him, by which one hour twice a week is allotted to this study, and half an hour three times a week to that, and twenty hours a term to a third; and at such a time one class will be at this point and the other class at that, the whole moving with military precision to a given destination at a specified date. He can at any given moment tell you exactly where any squad, or class as he would term it, is, and what it ought, at least, to be then doing. Mechanical methods could not be carried further. The organization is perfect. The machine works almost with the precision of clock-work. It is, however, company front all the time. From one point of view children are regarded as automatons; from another, as india-rubber bags; from a third, as so much raw material. They must move in step and exactly alike; they must receive the same mental nutriment in equal quantities and at fixed times: — assimilation is wholly immaterial, but the motions must be gone through with. Finally, as raw material, they are emptied in at the primaries and marched out at the grammar grades; — and it is well!

And he should have added, after graduation, corralled directly into the industrialized workforce; because, he had been trained for the past several years, to live a lifestyle of boring tasks, from one whistle blowing to the next. Horace man had been interested in education for the perfectibility of man. The industrialists couldn’t care less about perfectibility, they only cared about the trainability of man. And that legacy of public schooling has been with us ever since.

There is, by the way, much truth in Adams’ comparison of the public schools to not only mills and railroads, but the state prison. The same Unitarian reforming spirit that gave us the institution of public schools also produced, in the same era, the penitentiary, the insane asylum, and the poorhouse. All of these were built on the same theory that society was the bed of corruption, and the proper way to train people was to put them into a controlled atmosphere in which the allegedly corrupt external influences could not affect them; and this very popular theory was applied to the reform of criminals, the insane, the mentally ill, the poor, and to the education of children. So in the same decades of the 1820s–30s, this nation witnessed the explosion of official institutions for all of these issues, and the growing prevalence of using taxation and government control for these institutions.

And yet, as decades went on, and it became clear that the theory was bogus, that no genuine reform was made in criminals or the insane, and that corporate interests came to dominate the schools—in short, that the whole system was a failure—the officials merely continued to blame failure on the lack of funds and/or greater control. This was true so much so that one of the few historians of the Asylum phenomenon concluded of its legacy, “Failure and persistence went hand in hand.” Yet at the same time, when correctional institutions failed, advocates shifted their emphasis from “cure” to “prevention”—and thus, education instead of penal or remedial institutions. This was used, then, as an argument for greater government involvement and support of education.

Yet finally, as sort of a capstone upon these three major factors, Americans began to abandon home and private education due to the illusion that government schools were free. This creates different levels of motivation. Some buy the illusion completely: the school costs them nothing while it educates their children and simultaneously provides free child care during the day. This illusion is swallowed most readily by people who don’t own property, and thus never directly see a property tax appropriated from them personally. And since property tax is usually escrowed automatically, even most property owners don’t really feel the true weight of it anyway. Other people merely live content with the illusion, knowing it actually costs money, knowing they actually pay taxes to support it even if indirectly through increased rents, yet accepting this as moral or at least practical enough to live with. These people, too, once receiving the benefits, will defend the system which taxes other people to benefit them. Even among public officials who know better, the phrase is simply modified to remain deceptive: public education is free, “at the point of delivery” (which is, of course, an admission that it’s not free).

This all works together to make the perceived benefit of “free” education a powerful motivation among those who are dependent upon the system; they remain self-interested in perpetuating a system that confiscates property from some people and gives it to others. In short, once dependent, they become advocates. Yet the system, used and defended by so many conservatives and Christians, is based on an anti-Christian, socialistic system of values at its very core. It has more in common with Nazism than with anything that can be called a Christian society.

So how was liberty lost in the area of education? It was through anti-Christian ideology leveraging state power to impose a state-funded, state-controlled utopia. They established a whole new secular state church in the name of getting rid of state churches. It was through mass immigration that among other things sparked misguided Protestants to use government power to oppose Catholicism and turn Europeans into Americans. It was through the rise of industrialization and mechanization that used mass-production in education to create dutiful, reliable masses of workers for mass-production in factories. And it was through the vastly accepted myth that public schools are free, and the fact that we have now grown vastly dependent upon the benefit.

These things, all combined together, created a very powerful culture in which freedom in education is gone economically (we’re all forced to pay for public schools even if we don’t use them), and was almost lost practically, except in small enclaves, until the past few decades. But the one aspect in which it is still largely free is legally: you still can exercise the freedom if you choose.

Many Christians and others are realizing the need to reclaim our freedom in education; many are already practicing it as much as they can; and the tools and resources to make it viable, effective, and easy are today so vast and easy to find that there is no good excuse for anyone who loves liberty not to pursue it.

As I have already said repeatedly, this is the one area you can change drastically toward the cause of freedom right now. Nothing toward that cause will be easier, more effective, and more life-transforming for all involved, than restoring freedom for yourself and family in the area of education. And in the next article, I’ll tell you what to do, how to do it, and talk about the sacrifices it will take.