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

Welfare – Good, Bad and Ugly

Judy DeClue

The Welfare Program is a very controversial subject. This program was originally set up at the time of the “Great Depression”. There were so many people starving and homeless as a result of the stock market crash. It was never intended to go on for an eternity. We have to look at two aspects:

1) Out of Wedlock births

2) Importance of Education.

Government ended up taking away the people’s incentive to provide for their own families. It was just easier to sign up for Medicaid than to work. Taking Medicaid beats working every day from dawn to dusk, being tired to the bone, paying bills, buying groceries, paying rent , utilities, etc.. All you have to do is just take a check and all the extra gifts of the government, and take the easy ride. The attitude of “You Owe Me” developed and has carried on for years.

Coming from a poor background does not decrease a person’s intelligence. Lack of pride and integrity destroy the morals and respect that makes this country the place where you could achieve the goals you set, whether it be to own a home, have a family, or of security.

The article by Robert Rector “The Effects of Welfare Reform” states evidence that children and parents are actively harmed rather than helped by welfare. A poor child without welfare will do better than a similar poor child with welfare. Welfare children will actually be more probable to drop out of school and without education will stay on welfare as an adult. Welfare rather than poverty is the culprit.

Out of Wedlock child bearing is an issue causing child poverty. We are providing meals at schools, both breakfast and lunch. Where are the food stamps going? Do they go for alcohol or drugs? If as a parent, you do not teach or practice self-control you decrease your chance to succeed and that of your child. You have to have respect for yourself. Anyone can make a mistake. There are no perfect people contrary to popular belief. We are all human but you have to want to do better sometimes more than life itself.

Education is important because you cannot get a legal job that pays above minimum wage without a high school diploma. The job market is very difficult. Perhaps we should extend the school attendance law to the age of eighteen or attaining a diploma instead of the present ruling of sixteen. Do not expel the student; make them have to attend as a parent’s responsibility.  If the parents do not accept their responsibility they could face legal action for breaking the law.

The Welfare System is financially breaking this country. Should there be limits on the number of children covered? Should there be a limited time people can exist on this program? At present we do not have any. Where does it stop?

In the article “Effects of welfare Reform” it is clearly stated poverty is not the cause of these social problems. The government took prayer out of the schools. They have restricted teachers in what they can teach, how they can teach and what kind of grading systems they can use. Parents should be teaching their children themselves to respect marriage, work ethics, chances for education and self-control.

Out of Wedlock births are rewarded by compensation. The more they bred the more money they can make. As a parent you should be involved with your child in teaching them sexual self-control, the need for education and to plan for their futures. Lead by example is a strong force. The government is too involved with giveaways and not encouraging recipients to work for their own rewards. We have to be self-sufficient in order to be successful. People should understand they are responsible for their offspring. The term “Man Up” says it all. Take responsibility for your own.

Data Mine Students to Measure Grit?

Posted Truth in American Education on April 2, 2013

 

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology published a report back in February entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century.”  From the executive summary:

How can we best prepare children and adolescents to thrive in the 21st century—an era of achievement gaps that must be closed for the benefit of everyone in society, rapidly evolving technology, demanding and collaborative STEM knowledge work, changing workforce needs, and economic volatility? The test score accountability movement and conventional educational approaches tend to focus on intellectual aspects of success, such as content knowledge. However, this is not sufficient. If students are to achieve their full potential, they must have opportunities to engage and develop a much richer set of skills. There is a growing movement to explore the potential of the “noncognitive” factors—attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources, independent of intellectual ability—that high-achieving individuals draw upon to accomplish success, (pg. v).

When I think of “grit,” I think of John Wayne in True Grit, and in a way they refer to something similar as well.

They define “grit” as, “Perseverance to accomplish long-term or higher-order goals in the face of challenges and setbacks, engaging the student’s psychological resources, such as their academic mindsets, effortful control, and strategies and tactics,” (pg. vii).

“Grit,” I believe is a personality trait and is mostly the result of someone’s upbringing.  To the Feds, however, it’s something that must be measured, data mined and shared.

There are many different types of measurement methods, each with important tradeoffs.

  • Self-report methods typically ask participants to respond to a set of questions about their perceptions, attitudes, goals, emotions, beliefs, and so on. Advantages are that they are easy to administer and can yield scores that are easy to interpret. Disadvantages are that people are not always valid assessors of their own skills, and self-reports can be intrusive for evaluating participants’ in-the-moment perceptions during tasks.
  • Informant reports are made by teachers, parents, or other observers. Advantages are that they can sidestep inherent biases of self-report and provide valuable data about learning processes. The main disadvantage is that these measures can often be highly resource intensive—especially if they require training observers, time to complete extensive observations, and coding videos or field notes.
  • School records can provide important indicators of perseverance over time (e.g., attendance, grades, test scores, discipline problems) across large and diverse student samples. Advantages are the capacity to identify students who are struggling to persevere and new possibilities for rich longitudinal research. Disadvantages are that these records themselves do not provide rich information about individuals’ experiences and nuances within learning environments that may have contributed to the outcomes reported in records.
  • Behavioral task performance measures within digital learning environments can capture indicators of persistence or giving up. Advantages are that new methods can be seamlessly integrated into the learning environment and provide unprecedented opportunities for adaptivity and personalized learning. Disadvantages are that these methods are still new and require intensive resources to develop, (pg. ix-x).

Pages 35-49 in the report give further detail in the type of measurements that would be deemed helpful.  One suggestion they give with self-report entails students to carry a device with them to report their feelings during certain situations:

For example, researchers can examine consistency in participant’s ratings to determine the strength of the belief or skill. Self-report can also be used to measure process constructs; for example, in the Experience Sampling Method (ESM), participants typically carry around a handheld device that “beeps” them at random intervals, prompting self-report of experiences in that moment (e.g., Hektner, Schmidt, & Csikszentmihalyi, 2007). Such data can be used to make inferences about emotions, thoughts, and behaviors within and across specific situations, (pg. 35).

Below is example of a self-report measure of “grit.”

image

Then you have informant reports, and they cite something that KIPP is doing with their students:

For example, KIPP and other character education programs have been developing methods of using explicit teacher feedback to help students gauge their level of grit with respect to specific criteria and to open up conversations among parents, teachers, and students (see Chapter 4 for more details about these models). These schools have been implementing a “Character Report Card” on which students receive ratings pooled from multiple teachers on factors such as grit and self-control. Exhibit 9 illustrates what such a report card might look like. It is important that these ratings come from multiple teachers, as they are then less susceptible to biases of particular relationships. KIPP has been facilitating the use of these Report Cards with a technology called PowerTeacher that allows teachers to input their ratings online. Informant reporting is also a common approach for teachers, parents/guardians, and mental health professionals to assess the social-emotional competencies that serve as protective factors associated with resilience in young children. Forexample, the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA; LeBuffe, Shapiro & Naglieri, 2009) can be used for children in kindergarten through eighth grade (ages 5-­‐14). The DESSA is a 72-­‐item, standardized, norm-­‐referenced behavior rating scale that focuses on student strengths and positive behaviors related to eight dimensions: self-­‐awareness, social awareness, self-­management, goal-directed behavior, relationship skills, personal responsibility, decision making, and optimistic thinking. It can be used for screening, profiling for intervention, and monitoring and measuring change (Hall, 2010), (pg. 38).

Below is an example of a character report card from KIPP:

image

Then you have record keeping.  They tout the example of a Youth Data Archive at the Gardner Center at Stanford University.  This archive, “links data across systems—school, social services, foster care, youth development programming, juvenile justice—to provide actionable integrated student profiles to educators,” (pg. 40).

Having formerly worked in the juvenile justice field I have a HUGE problem with any data gathered in the juvenile justice system with anyone not directly working in that system.

Why do educators need an “actionable integrated student profile”?  So they can place a label on a student?  Are kids and parents giving consent for any of this information to be shared?

Then there is “behavioral task performance.”

While laboratory experiments have examined behavioral task performance for many years, new technological opportunities offer potential for new methods and approaches. Educational data mining (EDM) and learning analytics within digital learning environments allow for “micro-level” analyses of moment-by-moment learning processes.

Student data collected in online learning systems can be used to develop models about processes associated with grit, which then can be used, for example, to design interventions or adaptations to a learning system to promote desirable behaviors. Dependent behavioral variables associated with a challenge at hand may include responses to failure (e.g., time on task, help-seeking, revisiting a problem, gaming the system, number of attempts to solve a problem, use of hints), robustness of strategy use (e.g., planning, monitoring, tools used, number of solutions tried, use of time), level of challenge of self-selected tasks, or delay of gratification or impulse control in the face of an enticing off-task stimulus. Such data can be examined for discrete tasks or aggregated over many tasks, (pg. 41).

They also discuss affective computing (the study and development of systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process, and simulate aspects of human affect.)

Researchers are exploring how to gather complex affective data and generate meaningful and usable information to feed back to learners, teachers, researchers, and the technology itself. Connections to neuroscience are also beginning to emerge, (pg. 41 emphasis mine).

President Obama just today called for investing $100 million for a brain mapping project.  USA Today reports that it’s goal is to develop “new technologies that can record the activities of individual cells and neurons within the brain.”

They then devote a short paragraph on the ethics of garnering this new type of personal data.

As new forms of measurement emerge and new types of personal data become available, the field must also deal with critical ethical considerations. Of course, privacy is always a concern, especially when leveraging data available in the “cloud” that users may or may not be aware is being mined. However, another emergent concern is the consequences of using new types of personal data in new ways. Learners and educators have the potential to get forms of feedback about their behaviors, emotions, physiological responses, and cognitive processes that have never been available before. Measurement developers must carefully consider the impacts of releasing such data, sometimes of a sensitive nature, and incorporate feedback mechanisms that are valuable, respectful, and serve to support productive mindsets, (pg. 48).

They recognize that users may not be aware they are mining data.

Let’s focus on schools being places where students learn instead of being a laboratory where student’s behavior can be studied, recorded and shared.  How much of this mentality will be present when SBAC and PARCC assessments (which will be used to mine data, we are just not sure of the extent) are released remains to be seen.

“Grit” isn’t something that schools will be able to “can” and give out to students so measuring it seems rather ludicrous to me, especially at the expense of privacy.

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 +.

ObamaCare Bites Unionized Educators

April 1, 2013

By Eileen F. Toplansky

As the proverbial offal hits the fan, adjunct instructors and their union leaders are understandably panic-stricken as they finally realize the impact of ObamaCare on their livelihoods.

Union representatives are now sending their members letters stating that “the Affordable Care Act [aka ObamaCare] has defined full time as anyone working over 30 hours a week or 130 hours a month.” Many of these hardworking and well-meaning local labor representatives, who were duped — I mean, told by the American Federation of Teachers Union (AFT) that Obama was the one who would bring all good things to pass — now find themselves in an untenable position.

Many claim that this ObamaCare provision actually “leaves it up to the employers in education to define what the actual time worked by an adjunct actually is.” And from the local rep’s standpoint, it is clearly “atrocious” that administrators would try to abide by the law even though it adversely affects instructors.

The traditional adversarial stance between administration and faculty is being ratcheted up by the union, which claims that the “the college is using the ACA law to reduce instructors’ teaching load.” They maintain that college administration‘s “interpretation is not accurate and that the regulations call for each school to come up with a reasonable method of determining full time status for compliance.”

Thus, “anyone teaching more than 9 credits this semester will have the Fall teaching load reduced by the number of credits over the 9 credits. For example, if someone is currently teaching 12 credits, she will only be allowed to teach 6 credits in the Fall. A 14-credit load will be decreased to four [because there are no five credit courses]. Moreover, anyone in other college-related work such as Continuing Education courses, teaching seniors in Life Center courses, working in the fitness center, and advising students will no longer be allowed to do these.

Clearly, the hardships for instructors will be many. Poverty level will be the norm for many of these educators. They will be scrambling for other teaching assignments at nearby colleges and universities just to stay afloat.

And Obama will be chuckling all the way.

Because ObamaCare was never meant to be affordable or to improve patient care. It is about his amassing total control over people’s lives. And far too many labor unions acquiesced to the Pied Piper’s flute. Now their members are paying a very high price for this shameful partnership of lies.

Yet, instead of taking this opportunity to bring forces together, the union will continue to place blame at the feet of college administrators. I hold no brief for administration. Some of their past actions should make a decent person hold his head in shame. But in this instance, there is a golden opportunity to fight back against the government’s intrusion into our lives if only people would see past their immediate concerns.

For example, the federal government has a wide array of alphabet-soup agency programs to ensure that students go to college. Special support programs such as Passport “provide students who demonstrate the determination and ability to succeed with the opportunity to begin college although they may not fully meet traditional admission criteria to do so.” Exceptional Educational Opportunities Program or EEO “provides intensive support services — including academic skill development; academic advisement; personal, social, and career counseling; and financial assistance — for those who qualify.” The EPIC or Entry Program into College is another program as is Project Excel. They all bring educationally-challenged students into two and four-year colleges in the hopes that they will succeed.

Not surprisingly, the funding for these programs is drying up. This leaves the colleges without a new class of students; it decreases teaching loads, and it puts a college’s finances in a precarious state.

The educational house of cards will eventually crumble. But if administration and union members put aside their differences and march en masse on the White House to demand that ObamaCare be overturned, this would open a spigot that would bring out other Americans who see their medical care and work opportunities shortchanged and adversely affected.

And now with the latest news from Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, that “many of the children of families a.k.a. dependents “would still be left without options for affordable family health insurance under Obamacare” this should raise the hackles of even diehard Obama supporters. In essence, this Democratic senator says that millions of workers’ dependents will still be left without options for affordable family health coverage. In fact, the “Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that there could be as many as 3.9 million dependents that will be affected because an employer’s individual coverage choice was considered affordable but the family plan is not.”

A million-people march on the Mall in D.C. would let Obama and the Congress know that Americans are fed up with these dictatorial edicts. It is time to push back.

Instead of rhetorical squabbling that will inevitably ensue at college adjunct/management forums, these two groups must come together. In this instance, their mutual interest is actually one and the same.

It is “the biggest fight” of the nation and the unions that surrendered their members’ rights should be informed that they no longer have their backing or their faith. Obama and Congress should be placed on continual notice that the people no longer trust them and discontent is afoot.

This might be education’s big moment if the interested parties seize the day instead of squandering the opportunity.

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/../2013/04/educators_and_college_administrators_enemies_no_more.html at April 01, 2013 – 02:40:09 PM CDT

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.

A New Kind of Problem: The Common Core Math Standards

Barry Garelick Nov 20 2012, 12:03 PM ET

A set of guidelines adopted by 45 states this year may turn children into “little mathematicians” who don’t know how to do actual math.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article for TheAtlantic.com describing some of the problems with how math is currently being taught. Specifically, some math programs strive to teach students to think like “little mathematicians” before giving them the analytic tools they need to actually solve problems.

Some of us had hoped the situation would improve this school year, as 45 states and the District Columbia adopted the new Common Core Standards. But here are two discouraging emails I received recently. The first was from a parent:

They implemented Common Core this year in our school system in Tennessee. I have a third grader who loved math and got A’s in math until this year, where he struggles to get a C. He struggles with “explaining” how he got his answer after using “mental math.” In fact, I had no idea how to explain it! It’s math 2+2=4. I can’t explain it, it just is.

The second email came from a teacher in another state:

I am teaching the traditional algorithm this year to my third graders, but was told next year with Common Core I will not be allowed to. They should use mental math, and other strategies, to add. Crazy! I am so outraged that I have decided my child is NOT going to public schools until Common Core falls flat.

So just what are the Common Core Standards for math? They are a set of guidelines written for both math and English language arts under the auspices of National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Where they are adopted, the Common Core standards will replace state standards in these subject areas, establishing more common ground for schools nationwide.

To read newspaper coverage of the new standards, you’d think they were raising the bar for math proficiency, not lowering it. “More is expected of the students,” one article declares. “While they still have to memorize or have fluency in key math functions and do the math with speed and accuracy, they will have to demonstrate a deeper understanding of key concepts before moving on.”

But what does this mean in practice? Another recent article explains, “This curriculum puts an emphasis on critical thinking, rather than memorization, and collaborative learning.” In other words, instead of simply teaching multiplication tables, schools are adopting “an ‘inquiry method’ of learning, in which children are supposed to discover the knowledge for themselves.” An educator quoted in the article admits that this approach could be frustrating for students: “Yes. Solving a problem is not easy. Learning is not easy.”

With 100 pages of explicit instruction about what should be taught and when, one would expect the Common Core Standards to make problem-solving easier. Instead, one father quoted in the aforementioned article complains, “For the first time, I have three children who are struggling in math.” Why?

Let’s look first at the 97 pages of what are called “Content Standards.” Many of these standards require that students to be able to explain why a particular procedure works. It’s not enough for a student to be able to divide one fraction by another. He or she must also “use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that (2/3) ÷ (3/4) = 8/9, because 3/4 of 8/9 is 2/3.”

It’s an odd pedagogical agenda, based on a belief that conceptual understanding must come before practical skills can be mastered. As this thinking goes, students must be able to explain the “why” of a procedure. Otherwise, solving a math problem becomes a “mere calculation” and the student is viewed as not having true understanding.

This approach not only complicates the simplest of math problems; it also leads to delays. Under the Common Core Standards, students will not learn traditional methods of adding and subtracting double and triple digit numbers until fourth grade. (Currently, most schools teach these skills two years earlier.) The standard method for two and three digit multiplication is delayed until fifth grade; the standard method for long division until sixth. In the meantime, the students learn alternative strategies that are far less efficient, but that presumably help them “understand” the conceptual underpinnings.

This brings us now to the final three pages of the 100-page document, called “Standards for Mathematical Practice.” While this discussion is short, the points it includes are often the focus of webinars and seminars on the new Common Core methods:

    1. Make sense of problem solving and persevere in solving them
    2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively
    3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
    4. Model with mathematics
    5. Use appropriate tools strategically
    6. Attend to precision
    7. Look for and make use of structure
    8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

These guidelines seem reasonable enough. But on closer inspection, these things are essentially habits of mind that ought to develop naturally as a student learns to do actual math. For example, there’s nothing wrong with the first point: “Make sense of problem solving and persevering in solving them.” But these standards are being interpreted to mean that students “make conjectures about the form and meaning of the solution and plan a solution pathway rather than simply jumping into a solution attempt. They consider analogous problems, and try special cases and simpler forms of the original problem in order to gain insight into its solution.”

This is a rather high expectation for students in K- 6. True habits of mind develop with time and maturity. An algebra student, for instance, can take a theoretical scenario such as “John is 2 times as old as Jill will be in 3 years” and express it in mathematical symbols. In lower grades, this kind of connection between numbers and ideas is very hard to make. The Common Core standards seem to presume that even very young students can, and should, learn to make sophisticated leaps in reasoning, like little children dressing in their parents’ clothes.

As the Common Core makes its way into real-life classrooms, I hope teachers are able to adjust its guidelines as they fit. I hope, for instance, that teachers will still be allowed to introduce the standard method for addition and subtraction in second grade rather than waiting until fourth. I also hope that teachers who favor direct instruction over an inquiry-based approach will be given this freedom.

Unfortunately, the emails and newspaper articles I’ve been seeing may herald a new era where more and more students are given a flimsy make-believe version of mathematics, without the ability to solve actual math problems. After all, where the Common Core goes, textbook publishers are probably not too far behind.

Barry Garelick recently retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and obtained his credential to teach secondary math in California. He has written extensively about math education for various publications including Education Next, Educational Leadership, and Education News.

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.

Martin Luther King on Education

Martin Luther King on Education:

Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.