|These posts have not been about the material that makes up the Common Core Curriculum itself - I & others have covered the worthless core they have in common before. Instead, these posts have been about something less talked about: What Common Core, Race To The Top, and all the rest, assume and presume to do with you, the parents, and to you, the community.
My previous post from the DESE Common Core State Standards meeting, demonstrated a prime example of how CCSS is attempting to do this. It also confirmed what I said at the end of the last post, where I said that there was something you can do to fight the likes of the Common Core Curriculum - you most definitely can.
What is my advice?
Don't just do something, talk about it.
If you are a parent, you are no doubt familiar with the frustration of trying to affect change by complaining to your child's teacher, principal or school. More often than not, you are either not listened to, or are told that it is beyond their poor power to do anything about it.
Frustrating as that is, it is also key to defeating these programs, rather than simply replacing one pig with another in a different shade of lipstick. Equally frustrating, is the realization that charging out and demanding action is unlikely to accomplish as much as a few well chosen words, spread by word of mouth until they reach a roar - and that is in your power to initiate, spread and amplify. So try not to be discouraged or distracted by the situation, or even by the awful mess that is being put over on our children with the Common Core Curriculum; because those are, after all, nothing but the 'smart' ideas that they are seeking to put in place. And before they can succeed at that, what they still have to do, which they are very much aware of, is come up with an answer to the old question:
"What to do about the parents?"
|And what they have to do about the parents, is manage the threat that they pose, living anchors into the past that they are, to the forward motion and transformational power of the royal lie. After all, if royalty's credibility is questioned, it crumbles, and they know it.
DESE worked very hard to manage the little people gathered to hear them, and their strategy, a favorite of committees who wish to control those they report to, called "The Delphi Technique", was successful in several locations that same night around Missouri, though not at the one I attended, or the one in Springfield MO (detailed video here). What was different was that several individuals simply did not want to be divided into groups (listen to the video, you can hear just a couple people saying to each other "I don't want to go into a group...") where we could be managed and handled, several people simply would not allow their questions to go unanswered, and several people, myself included, were infuriated by the obvious examples of 'choice architecture'. We spoke up and asked our questions, and not only could the DESE spokesmen not answer them, other people present, could, and did, and DESE quickly lost control and credibility in their own meeting.
Their question of "What to do about the parents?" is also the best question for you to focus upon, and not just because of the potential threat to your rights which the answers of those in power might be tempted to give; but because the question holds the key to the concerns which those in power have in regards to you, the parent today, as well as the parents of tomorrow, your child.
As noted in the previous posts, this is a question that cannot not be dealt with by those who have, or seek to have, the power to transform society, and the options it leaves for them, is to either win you over, or silence you - neither of which, believe it or not, are they are fully confident in their power to do - hence their need for us to buy the Royal Lie.
The question holds the key to how concerned they are that you might disrupt their plans for you, your children and the the perfected state they are striving to bring us all into - for our own good. What is it you might do which they are so concerned about? That meeting the other day has the answer, and while we're working our way up to answering the question in detail, here are some key points to keep in mind when dealing with people who are trying to keep you in their power:
Look through your eyes, not theirs
- Try not to let yourself see the problem as they want you to see it.
- Try not to hand over to them the power they are still only wishing they had.
- Remember the old saw: their strength holds the key to their weakness.
When they say "it is beyond their power to do anything about it.", that is far from being a bug or a failure of their programs, it is a feature of the system, and it is one of its most coveted strengths.
Being able to say "It's out of my hands" is the bureaucratic equivalent of castle walls and a key to the strategy which has evolved for dealing with those bothersome parents who behave as if their parental rights to their children are more substantial than those of the states... or even of the 'Our' that the Melissa Harris-Perry's of the world claim to speak for.
But at the same time, that feature is a confession, a confession that they do not yet, yet, have the power to do with your child what they will. If they felt confident of their power to, no doubt the reply you'd receive would be more like "By what right do you question these rules? How dare you!". They certainly would if they could - for the greater good, of course, but they haven't yet, because of what they fear you would, and could do in response should they overstep the reach of their power.
How long can you count on that lasting? Well, consider how they're treating their own teachers who merely question the Common Core today:,
"... I suggested they become aware that there are two sides to this and to be prepared to have an opinion. I pointed out that questions could come from concerned parents or others in the community. I also shared that my main concern was with the changes to data privacy and losing local control. When I was finishing my administrator said that there would be no more emailing, or talking about the common core amongst the staff. There was a finality to his tone and the meeting was quickly over at that point. I then received an email from my administrator reminding me of our district policy of not using school resources to push political concerns or agendas. He also stated that there was to be no more discussion about common core unless it was on an “educational” basis between staff members."Or how about this from a Math teacher, who being less than impressed with CCSS, made the 'mistake' of saying so:
"This teacher wrote a math problem into a Tweet. He got a negative response from someone he did not know. The next day, he was pulled out of his class and suspended on suspicion that he had leaked a Common Core test question on Twitter."His crime was to tweet an example of a math problem - not an actual CCSS copyrighted(!) math problem, but one similar to what can be found in the Common Core testing:
"6x10+5x1+4(1/10)+2(1/100)+7(1/1000)=? Fifth graders better get it right or your teachers and schools may be ineffective"This teacher was pulled from his class, during class, with no explanation given, suspended and smeared by unanswered rumors, because a CCSS evaluator who was monitoring his twitter stream (!), accused him of making public 'copyrighted material'. A math problem. Copyrighted. Grounds for being removed from class and suspended.
If that's how they're treating their own... the same and worse treatment for parents can't be far behind. They are chipping away at the very concept of individual rights, and the need for those in power to respect them - but they're not there yet, and you've got to let them know that you know that.
Don't let them AssUme the Sale
Knowing that they have to control you, and knowing that they don't yet have the power to control you, leaves them the alternative of trying to convince you that you do not have the power to interfere with them and their power over you. Caution: if you don't show them that you know that they don't have power over you... then they will have power over you, since you'd have given it to them by assuming that they do. The truth of this was demonstrated in the various DESE meetings around Missouri last Thursday night, many people allowed them to behave as if they had the power to control them, and so they did.
In sales, that's called assuming the sale, or the 'Assumptive Close', where they hand you the pen and say "Sign here please." and then practice that toughest of sales techniques - shutting up and letting the buyer sell themselves. The salesman knows that he can't force you to buy it - he knows that - but he can maneuver you into thinking that you have no choice but to buy it... and so you do.
That is the same technique you've experienced when complaining to your child's teacher or principal about a social studies book or worksheet. If you object to its saying something like "America is a Democracy!" in big happy font, and you point out that "That is false, we are a Republic, and we were deliberately designed to not be a democracy", you get a response such as,
"Oh, that was decided upon by Superintendent Big E. Wig. It's out of our hands."
And nothing more.
Talk about assuming the sale.
And to give credit where credit's due, it's effective, isn't it? They act as if you have no choice, they are assuming away your power to question their actions, moving you ever further from being the sole parents of your child, into a position where your parental rights are, at best, shared with the state.
That is what Cubberly had in mind when he enthused that,
"Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent."'They' and the Planless Plans that corrupt our common core
From Lester Ward & Ellwood P. Cubberly on, the plan of our educational system, from the districts on down to the layout of the schools, the design has been to distance you, the parent, from an active role, or any decisive role in the decision making process.
What designing ever larger schools, ever larger school districts, ever larger bureaucracies, and testing services of nationwide scope accomplishes, is to displace local input in favor of the smart answers which they, from the district level right on up to the well funded foundations, seek to provide for you. The 'plan' has been to render your ability to be heard - and so the need for them to listen to you - ever less significant.
I say 'plan' and 'they' very loosely. Yes, aspects of it were consciously conceived by people such as Ward, Cubberly, Dewey, etc, but the system that has evolved and grown into what we know and love today, has been less the result of conspiracy or even conscious planning, than the natural outlook and tendency of the progressive worldview of experts providing answers from the top down.
It's an important point, as is the flipside of it - not only is no conspiracy needed to bring this present system about, neither can mere actions prevent it from coming about and being implemented - see how Texas moved to rid themselves of the plans of the Common Core, and found themselves wrapped up in CSCOPE.
If that's not clear, try looking at that exterior example, from an interior point of view. Why is it that at one time, the living room in most homes had their furniture angled so that those sitting in them faced towards each other - and now it is rare to find such a room? Was there an interior decorating conspiracy to turn people away from each other? Not at all. What happened of course, was television sets; nearly every home has one in its living room, and the rooms furniture is now all angled to face the T.V. The new central object 'caused' a nationwide, worldwide even, rearrangement of furniture with no coordinated effort at all. And were you to pass some fashionable taboo against furniture not being faced towards each other, something like two sided televisions would have been invented and placed between them.
You cannot stop an idea by actions alone, the idea itself must be shown to be, and accepted as being, inadequate or wrong. And the idea being attacked is not just quality education, but your rights, your parental rights, and everyone's right to live their own lives. Behind all the rules, programs and gimmicks, the concept of individual rights, and the requirement that political power should only be used to defend them, is being replaced by the idea that the smart people in power, must be empowered to crack a few eggs for the greater good.
Just as conversation was replaced by entertainment at the center of our living rooms, the act of replacing, at the common core of our ethics, our concern for what is Right and Wrong, with a concern for what serves the Greater Good, has restructured our entire society from politics to education to entertainment, and it has required little or no efforts of coordination or conspiracies, to bring about the transformation of our educational system, into one suited to carrying that new purpose out. Likewise, the efforts of parents and legislators to alter these education reforms have been, and will continue to be, blatantly ineffective, because they are only altering the particular measures being taken, and leaving untouched the ideas which have been driving them.
There is no need for people to conspire, or even to cooperate. When a concern for Right and Wrong is replaced by a drive to increase social "efficiency" for the greater good, then smart plans such as these will continue to be designed in order to improve the lives of the unthinking little people for their own good - it is the natural and inevitable result.
Similarly with the incessant calls for 'Democracy!' that have been wailed at us for the last century, the concern for the greater good, rather than the good for all that only individual rights can bring about, requires us to give ourselves over to the will of the majority and since the majority is comprised of too many individuals to possibly be able to discuss or decide upon a single thing, leaders are required, smart leaders with well laid plans for your greater good, who can take 'important issues' off your hands. Imagine that.
"It's out of my hands" is the feature of the administrative system - it is not a bug.
The Greater Good requires that decisions be 'out of your hands', it requires that decisions be made for more people than you do now, or can ever know of, and that there be higher authorities with the power to make them for you.
And so, far from being a failing of the system, it is the design pattern that the entire structure has been founded upon, not just the schools, and every cog of it contributes to distancing individuals from those issues and people who are accountable to them, helped along by everyone assuming that the majority will agree with them. Be careful what you AssUme, lest you make an Ass out of U and me.
Cheer up, their expectations of your despair is cause for hope
That is not a reason for despair; being that it is central to their focus, it is an important clue as to how to fight back - by doing what they clearly are most afraid you might do, which is the whole reason why they do their best to instill that despair in you. Parents need to learn what those who see their children as human capital have always known: You are the threat they fear the most.
Not your ability to get things done, in fact I think they'd prefer that. Why? Because actions are containable and absorbable by the system, such interferences can be handled and have been handled, and do get handled... progressively. If you complain (only) through the system, your voice can be routed, tied up in red tape, diluted, handled, silenced and forgotten.
That is how we progressed from little red school houses, to large red central school systems in the first place.
But as with the Progressive problem in general, the answer lays in not allowing your views and options to be limited by the plans that they have prepared for you.
Which leads us back to what concerns them most - your voice, speaking with awareness of your rights, and the possibility that others hearing you will expose their disregard for your rights, for the law, and for truth and reality itself.
Assuming the sale is both the most powerful technique, and the weakest, since it relies upon your voice. If you accept it, it is not them taking power from you, but you giving it to them. Likewise, if you refuse to give it to them, they cannot take it from you and they are left powerless, exposed and embarrassed.
That is the power of your voice. But it also matters when, where and how you raise it. When you simply complain within the system that they've designed for you, it, and the peril to them, is easily swallowed whole.
But if you are heard outside the system and its processes... where others can not only hear you, but can hear you and take up your questions... ruh-roh! There is a default stagnation, a motionless momentum that builds up around people who have become progressively accustomed to wrongs, lies and inefficiencies, they are more likely to smile wryly and crack a joke when they hear a too, too familiar complaint - that too is a feature. But again, it only has the power those same people give it. If you can get them to question that too familiar issue, get them to join in on the dialog, then rather than reinforcing the despair, they will instead help amplify your voice and the ideas such questions cannot help but promote - and that is what concerns those who have plans for you.
They know you can't fight ideas with actions, they know, even if only unconsciously, that you can only fight one idea with another. And they know that their ideas cannot stand up to the light of reality and a demand for truth - that is why they need the Royal Lie - and if you question it, and others hear you and take up your questions, then they, and their fundamentally anti-American system, is doomed to destruction. All of it.
And that is cause for hope.
It is critical that yo don't do what comes naturally to most of us - do not dismiss the sound of your voice as something small or insignificant - recall where it got Socrates himself, and why. Socrates was put to death, not for doing something, but for asking questions and for asking them where they would be overheard by other people, and as those others became crowds overhearing the answers that important and powerful people were providing were ridiculous, it became unbearable to them, and he was put to death.
How's that for a pep talk?! "Yes, you too could die for what you believe!", but it is important to recognize your position, and don't fool yourself into thinking that now is any different than then - don't laugh it off and don't run away - your voice is at the same time both a threat and a life vest, to them, and to yourself - it depends upon how you use it, or fail to. Just because forcing you to drink hemlock is no longer seen as being a politically correct solution, doesn't mean that bringing about your metaphorical, social, financial or even judicial demise, is out of the question for them.
The key to correcting errors and exposing lies, does not lay in simply raising your voice or providing answers - comfortable assumptions are impervious to undesirable truths. The key is to cause answers to be demanded, and that's done not by providing answers, at first, but by raising questions.
For central planners, even if they don't think questions need to be or should be asked, they are painfully aware that there is much more that can be said about their ideas,by the wrong sort of people, and that even more will be said and done, if they don't handle the spin well. And sadly, in America today, while neither Glaucon & Adeimantus or Pol Pot's solutions are likely to fly (stripping parents of their children and exiling them is still not quite PC. Yet.), I fear we are separated from them only by a differences of degree, and not of kind. While their drastic answers to the question of 'What to do about the parents?' might be unfashionable, you should never forget that methods are related to, and derived from, the goals they serve - remember the T.V. in the living room - you should be asking yourself just what it is that you are relying on to keep their methods in line with your standards of right and wrong. If they don't hold to your standards, or to any standards beyond what they see as being the smart thing to do - where is that likely to leave you?
What 'Right' of yours can you expect to be respected, from people who don't believe in Rights?
It's not what you might do that alarms the common core of those we've placed in power over us today, their goal is to reform the world into some ideal that is pleasing and conducive to those who have power over it, and it has been their policy to progressively reshape your every action to suit their ends, for well over a century. They've gotten very good and handling action. No, your only real chance at keeping them in check, is to question them, loudly and unceasingly and to demand answers of them which actually reflect reality. They will happily respond with spin and out and out lies if allowed to - again it is your voice that decides the matter - you must not allow it! Question them!
What concerns them most is the possibility that your questions might be heard outside the restraints of the system. What concerns them most is that if your questions are heard outside the system, they will cause others to become concerned and ask even more questions - questions which they know damn well they have no good answers for, which is the entire reason for concocting the Royal Lie in the first place. If you want your voice to be heard you need to cause others to ask those questions too, as well as more of their own - that will be get your voice heard outside the system
Talk. Be heard. And not just to your legislators, but to your neighbors. Ask more questions of your neighbors than you try providing answers for; uncomfortable questions about their children and whose they really are - Theirs, or the State' s... or Melissa Harris-Perry's. Ask the sorts of questions that get people talking - there's nothing those who desire power over you fear more.
One reason why they are concerned by your voice, is because no matter how hard they've tried to bury the idea, in a Republic, power doesn't come from the government, it is not vested in the will of the Majority, it comes from the consent of the governed. In a Republic, if you can keep it, the voice of the people is where the power is vested and it is We The People that can restrain those we put in power over us - but only if we demand it.
When the people are silent, their representatives can claim to be acting in their name. Do not mistake me: we are not, despite the ardent wishes of proRegressives, a Democracy, we are a constitutional representative republic. We The People do not dictate to our representatives, the decisions they will make - the entire purpose of electing them, is not just so that they can give matters the deeper attention which our necessarily less informed opinions might reflect - though that too - the greater matter is to keep the source of power out of the hands of those charged with exercising it. This is a central (and forgotten) aspect of the design of our government - a Republic, if you can keep it. Tyranny is every bit as tyrannical when exercised by one hand or a thousand - our Representatives do not actually hold power, they exercise it for us, as managers, as employees.
And that is also the key. We elect them, or at least we should, based upon their principles, we elect them to speak with our voice, because we trust their understanding, judgment and character to do the right thing which we might, if we had the same time and energy to devote to the matter - they can only behave as if they own the place, if We The People don't raise our voices and call them out on it.
When your community leaders actions can be shown to be following not from principle, but instead from particulars which they are favorable to (and which those with power and money show favors for), then their own power and influence are in danger of losing all in the next election. When the people speak out, in numbers, loudly, their representatives claims of representing our common principles become increasingly questionable... and their power - the ability to influence others - is dealt a body blow, and perhaps even a knockout punch, because power flees such situations like rats from sinking ships. In such a situation, particulars cannot be appeased, only those who rely on principle have a chance of prevailing.
When they act not on principles, but upon particulars - benefits, powers - they can only do so by abandoning principle and law.
Question them, question them to your neighbors to your friends, family and co-workers - question them om blogs, on facebook, on Twitter. You won't be alone if you do, there are others, others who are still today under the strange impression that Education should involve more than toothless questions and those 'answers' to them that are spun from the royal lie.
The answer for us today, is to ask questions and demand answers, and not just any answers - which they'll be more than happy to supply you - but answers that make sense (check out the Socratic method for hints on how), Ask them what they are doing, pick up those statements that they just lay down there, such as: "Prepare for success!" for instance, and continue the Socratic dialog yourself, as Angie began to (see MOEW link): What do they mean by that?, What new skills have they identified and developed curriculum for, that did not exist in the 20th, 19th, 18th & 17th centuries and which couldn't be handled just as well or better? Twitter 101? Really?
Who do you think is going to be more effective at expressing themselves in 140 characters or less... the person who is able to identify plot and theme and summarize them briefly... or the CCSS student whose depth of training is an ability to find the missing words in worksheets whose source they don't even need to bother reading?
Please. If schools had anything to do with preparing the young for the Internet age, they'd still be playing pong, not Halo
The shtick of the Royal Lie cannot survive scrutiny, you merely need to expose it for what it is. Ask them to define the words they are using. Ask them for examples. And if you feel at all foolish for asking 'obvious questions', just wait till you hear how foolish they look trying to explain them.
Ask them about the obvious contradictions that crop up between their initial statements and their explanations of them.
Brian Bollman has an excellent list of practical questions from their meeting in Cape Girardeau, I encourage you to print these out and start them stewing amongst your friends, family & neighbors. Pursue these questions, you'll soon come up with many more, such as some of those that the ladies at Missouri Education Watchdog, Gretchen & Angie, have been so persistently asking. Questions such as the problem with turning over the nation's education development and delivery to a 501(c)(3)?
- What respectable studies do they have showing that the CCSS will be effective in Educating their students?
- Given the importance they've placed on testing, what testing evidence can they point to showing the effectiveness of these standards?
- A large part of parental involvement in their childs education has been reviewing homework and tests with their kids, CCSS testing eliminates that possibility - how will eliminating this key piece of parental involvement from students eduation, contribute to their education?
There are no shortage of links I can supply you for this, but the briefest encapsulation, with links to others, can be found on Mo Education Watchdog such as this ( one of many, many posts) post on ... that Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia, which asks some very good questions of the assertions made about 'world class' standards, such as, if world class education is the purpose of the standards, why is it that,
- Who will be in control of the standards?
- Who will be designing the assessments?
- Will voters have any say in who is educating their children?
- Could billionaires with an agenda (pick your side, left or right) organize a nonprofit to deliver the type of education they believe students should learn?"
If Education is the goal, isn't that just a wee bit counter intuitive? However, if that's not strictly the case, if they are more interested in reshaping society, managing the state's human capital, then some other points become illuminating and become increasingly interesting. Perhaps some questions should be asked about why:
- the main CCSS writers are not educators and have spent little to zero time in the classroom
And a question that should become the common core of every parent and person concerned about education,
CCSS is allowing private corporations (data mining companies) access to student data that are not educational in nature as well as various Federal agencies such as Health/Human services, Department of Defense and Labor SBAC has mandated assessments and computer infrastructure that districts cannot afford SBAC is out of federal stimulus money as of 2014 and states are expected to pony up for the ongoing additional costs expected to be in the millions to leave the SBAC consortia requires the majority of other states' approval and the Department of Education's approval
Questions:... Is this an acceptable way to institute educational reform?And of course there's my favorite,
That is the question which, if followed, will eventually lead us to abandon this fruitless century long pursuit of transforming Education into a system for business skills delivery, and reorient it towards a system for the transmission and appreciation of wisdom. And seriously, even for those who expect nothing more from school than enabling their kids to get a good job... a skilled fool is going to wind up poor in more ways than one, but a wise person is capable of acquiring whatever skills and wealth they set their minds to - that is what made America America - pursue that, and your children will have a real chance at finding happiness.
- How do you define Education, and how do these standards contribute to it? In this or any century?
Are you going going to insist on a real dialog with those who presume to think for you, or are you going to let them assume the sale? Are you really willing to hand over your human capital (aka: your kids) in payment for the mockery of education that programs like the Common Core State Standards are seeking to put you in your place with? If you don't think that state educational policies should be adopted outside of your legislature, and imposed upon you without even the pretense of representatives, while containing
"... unfunded and continually evolving mandates, please sign the petition of rid Missouri of Common Core standards.Heh, 'No Education without Representation!' But seriously, you need to do more than raise your voice, you need to raise questions and demand answers that reflect reality, and you need to let your representatives know that you expect them to be doing that for you - that's their job!
Fortunately some lawmakers are beginning to take a moments break from knowing what's best, both on the state level , to ask a few questions of their own, such as this one in Missouri,
"HB616 requires the state to stop implementation of Common Core Standards and Assessments."as well as on the Federal level, with this one by Sen. Grassley
“The reality is that the U.S. Department of Education has made adoption of standards matching those in Common Core a requirement for getting waivers and funds,” Grassley said. “This violates the structure of our education system, where academic content decisions are made at the state level giving parents a direct line of accountability to those making the decisions. The federal government should not be allowed to coerce state education decision makers.”How about you?
Grassley is inviting senators to join him in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds education. The letter urges appropriators to set clear restrictions on the U.S. Department of Education
Would you like to show some signs of having an Education and ask a few more questions? Are you willing to demand answers that reflect the reality you can see slipping away? Are you willing to raise a little Cain?
Or are you, like Glaucon & Adeimantus, satisfied with the seemingly smart and common sense answer of leaving matters to the central planners to work out? Are you so confident in giving such power over your life and family to those who believe themselves to be so much smarter than you? Did you see how well it worked out for the millions of Cambodians under Pol Pot?
Though doubtless smarter people than I feel quite sure that it'll all work out fine for us. In the end.
And with no more questions to be asked, nothing more will need to be said.