Common Core’s Political Agenda

http://www.eagleforum.org/publications/educate/apr13/common-cores-political-agenda.html

The Common Core State Standards are standardizing student learning and performance nationwide and will gauge achievement using national tests. The standards were called for and created at the behest of the federal government. Although the word “state” is commonly used in the program description, no state produced the standards. Rather, committees created them for all states. Governors were enticed to sign on before the standards were even completed. Forty-six states are teaching to the English Language standards and 45 have adopted the math standards. Common Core national standards are currently being developed for science and social studies. National testing will begin in 2014.

The standards are available online. Many have called them confusing and complicated. Detailed goals for each grade level are offered, as well as means of measuring achievements. Books, poems and informational reading are suggested in “text exemplar” sections of Appendices.

Critics and some English teachers object to the emphasis on “informational texts” and the move away from literature that is necessitated to include those assignments.

Although there are no hard and fast rules for using the texts suggested in the Appendices of the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, it would make sense for teachers to adopt those suggested rather than choosing other readings. They will be teaching to a test so why would they deviate from what the testers suggest?

Examination of two of the English Language “text exemplars” for high school students shows they have definite political agendas. “The Cost Conundrum: Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas,” written by Atul Gawande and first appearing June 2009 in the New Yorker magazine, is at its heart a call for universal, government-run health care. “Executive Order 13423” is a presidential mandate that all government agencies become “sustainable” entities. It promotes controversial scientific ideas and purports them as factually accurate in a way that could unduly influence students.

Health Care Text Exemplar

“The Cost Conundrum” consists of attacks on both medical doctors and hospitals as greedy profiteers. The heroes of the analysis are doctors who accept salaries from hospitals, rather than determining their own fees. Doctors are accused of ordering too many tests and doing unnecessary surgeries to line their own pockets. Gawande describes one physician CEO he met with as aloof and having a “let’s-get-this-over-with” attitude, and then dismisses as ludicrous the doctor’s suggestion that the government’s involvement in health care has caused some of the problems in health care.

I asked him why McAllen’s health care costs were so high. What he gave me was a disquisition on the theory and history of American health care financing going back to Lyndon Johnson and the creation of Medicare, the upshot of which was: (1) Government is the problem in health care. “The people in charge of the purse strings don’t know what they’re doing.” (2) If anything, government insurance programs like Medicare don’t pay enough. “I, as an anesthesiologist, know that they pay me ten percent of what a private insurer pays.” (3) Government programs are full of waste. “Every person in this room could easily go through the expenditures of Medicare and Medicaid and see all kinds of waste.”

Many knowledgeable critics of the current health care “crisis” make the link, as the McAllen doctor did, to decades of government interference. It cannot be easily dismissed. In fact, many would say his analysis is quite astute. Plus there are predictions that ObamaCare is further interference that will affect “the health care market in many new and profoundly destructive ways.” (Reason, 03-13-2013)

Promises to “make health care coverage more affordable” fall flat in the face of evidence. The Associated Press reports:

Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the health care overhaul law expands coverage to millions of people. The nation’s big health insurers say they expect premiums — or the cost for insurance coverage — to rise from 20 to 100 percent for millions of people due to changes that will occur when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out in January 2014. Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna Inc., one of the nation’s largest insurers, calls the price hikes “premium rate shock.” “We’ve done all the math, we’ve shared it with all the regulators, we’ve shared it with all the people in Washington that need to see it, and I think it’s a big concern,” Bertolini said during the company’s annual meeting with investors in December. (03-13-13)

Will high school teachers submitting Common Core’s slanted informational texts to students be qualified to dissect the politicized text assigned? Opposing viewpoints are easy to find, but will a high school teacher select and present other views to students? If not, this article is indoctrination.

Gawande goes on to say in this text exemplar:

Advocates of a public option say government financing would save the most money by having leaner administrative costs and forcing doctors and hospitals to take lower payments than they get from private insurance. Opponents say doctors would skimp, quit, or game the system, and make us wait in line for our care; they maintain that private insurers are better at policing doctors. No, the skeptics say: all insurance companies do is reject applicants who need health care and stall on paying their bills. Then we have the economists who say that the people who should pay the doctors are the ones who use them. Have consumers pay with their own dollars, make sure that they have some “skin in the game,” and then they’ll get the care they deserve. These arguments miss the main issue. When it comes to making care better and cheaper, changing who pays the doctor will make no more difference than changing who pays the electrician. The lesson of the high-quality, low-cost communities is that someone has to be accountable for the totality of care. Otherwise, you get a system that has no brakes.

Gawande’s article is an assertion that there is no one better to be “accountable” for the “totality of care” than the federal government. But the truth is that it is far from clear that a taxpayer-funded system in which decisions are removed from patients, doctors, and the people actually footing the bill has the “brakes” he points out that we need. Who is putting the brakes on our runaway federal budget and our many other bloated and ineffective federal programs?

Sustainability Text Exemplar

Another informational text suggested by Common Core is “Executive Order 13423 of January 24, 2007: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.” This document, signed by President George Bush in 2007, is a sweeping call for sustainability, greenhouse gas control, use of renewable resources, and recycling at all federal agencies. It incorporates green standards, such as renewable energy generation projects on agency property for agency use, meaning wind and solar.

The Executive Order states that ‘‘‘sustainable’ means to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.” Sustainability
is also a leftist buzzword and rooted in the United Nations Agenda 21, which calls for developed nations to decrease energy usage. It aims to control the West, especially the United States, economically and politically. Another interpretation of Agenda 21 would be, “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need,” as stated by Karl Marx.

The executive order also mandated creation of a new job at each federal agency: a senior civilian officer to be responsible for implementation of environmentalist requirements. These government employees at the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Education, and every other federal agency, are paid at level IV of the Executive Schedule, which was $155,500 in January 2012. These individuals obviously require a sizeable staff to implement the changes, oversee their success, and file the required reports to multiple other agencies. The order requires compliance at each agency, by all contractors outside the government with which the agency does business, by tenants or concessionaires, and even makes provision for standards to be met in foreign locations.

If educators or parents object to students being indoctrinated at school in the leftist environmentalism and sustainability represented by this reading, it will surely be pointed out that it was a Republican president who signed this order.

A better decision in this time of economic uncertainty, the massive burden on taxpayers, and our unprecedented national debt to foreign countries such as China, would have been to appoint an overseer of cost effectiveness at each department. This person could approve “sustainable” activities only when feasible and cost-effective.

A critical reading of this executive order could lead more astute students to realize the federal government’s propensity for wasting money and complicating everything. Since it was precisely this disregard for cost that allowed government interference in health care to create the inflated system we had before ObamaCare, it is questionable whether the massive and definitive takeover of healthcare by the federal government is the right direction for America — but students given scanty information from a skewed perspective are very unlikely to question it.

As Ronald Reagan said in 1964, “outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.” Will students, parents, and citizens also question whether the massive and definitive federal takeover of education that Common Core represents is the right direction for America?

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

We Can Do Better Than This

By Christopher Chantrill

The Cypriots, according to news stories, are outraged about the German idea of taking a hit on their banking accounts in order to recapitalize the island’s failing banks. Maybe they don’t know when they are ahead, writes Peter Schiff. “Rank and file depositors” are going to pay for “the bailouts and stimulus” one way or another.

Like many small boys, Cypriots are unwilling to take a haircut if they can put it off. This just in from the Fram oil filter guy: do they want to pay him now, or later?

Here at home we bank depositors are getting our daily haircut from Helicopter Ben’s Zero Interest Rate Policy. But critics say that once he starts raising interest rates then the big banks will be in trouble again. Meanwhile the Obama administration gets to borrow money on the cheap and put off tough decisions on entitlements.

Then there is the chaotic implementation of Obamacare. In the Weekly Standard Jay Cost does a “Madisonian” analysis of the beast. All is not lost, he predicts. Obamacare could suffer a fate similar to the Catastrophic Health Coverage Act (CHCA) of 1988; CHCA got repealed when seniors rebelled.

Now let’s have a conversation about race. No, not about the white guy, Robert Huber, that thought he’d write an article on race in Philadelphia about the race line between liberal white Fairmount and black Brewerytown. Nor about black Mayor Nutter siccing the local Human Rights Commission on Huber: Keep speaking truth to power, bro! Nor even about the white mother that sent her kid to a predominantly black school. Let’s just note the comment from “white kid in black gradeschool.”

As [a] white kid whose well-meaning parents enrolled him in a majority black school for the same noble reasons as “Jen”, I just have to say that that decision is really negligent. I love how she makes it about herself. I love my parents dearly and have never told them about how lonely and terrifying it was to be one of the only white kids in my grade school. I love them too much to put that kind of guilt on them. I was constantly teased, picked on, and bullied by a few kids… and even the nicer kids never seemed to display any sort of empathy.

Gee. I wonder why that comment got promoted to the top of the comments?

Today I want to ask: Can’t we be better than this?

Can’t we develop a politics that is better than the Don’t Expect Me to Pay culture of the modern administrative welfare state?

We could have a rock-solid credit system, without too-big-to-fail banks. But it would need a citizenry that refused to elect politicians hawking stimulus and cheap mortgage loans.

We could have a great health-care system that was both inexpensive and responsive. But it would need senior citizens willing to pay for the luxury of geriatric health care rather than elect politicians to dump it on the kids, and it would need twenty-something Julias willing to pay for their own contraception.

We could have an end to the race war. But it would need a ruling class that was just as hard on black racists in power as it was on the white racists in power half-a-century ago.

How do we get there from here? That’s what I’ve been wondering, as I ponder my two mantras: Government is Force and Politics is Division.

When we say government is force, we mean that government is always waging war on someone. This someone could be a foreign power or local street thugs, or it could be an evil class of exploiters. But without a dangerous enemy there is no warrant for government to do anything.

That is where politics comes in. In politics we divide about whether there is an enemy or not. Conservatives tend to think that the problem is an external enemy: Communism or islamofascism. Liberals tend to think the problem is an internal enemy: employers, price-gougers, greedy bankers, evil racists and sexists, bigoted homophobes. The question at every election is: where does the American people come down on the enemy question?

Americans are fed up with the war on islamofascism, so if conservatives want political power we are going to have to find a new enemy for the American people to fight, for government must have a war to fight.

What kind of war? It’s obvious: a war of rebellion against the liberal ruling class. Because we, the American people, must rise up more in sorrow than in anger and declare war against the corruption, the cruelty, the injustice, the waste, the delusions of the liberal administrative welfare state.

All we need is the political leader who can get the American people all riled up about this. Any ideas?

Christopher Chantrill (mailto:chrischantrill@gmail.com) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/../2013/03/we_can_do_better_than_this.html at March 26, 2013 – 11:12:06 AM CDT