Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Breath of the Beast - "Race To The Top" - UPDATED**

A "Race To The Top", or a plunge into darkness
You know that I've said over and over again, that the schools are where the proregressives scored their first hit on the constitution, and upon the American soul - two of my earlier posts on it were, "What never was and never will be" and "Spreading The Flames". I've said over and again that if we don't take back the education of our children, and of ourselves, it wouldn't matter who won what election or whatever legislative undo button managed to be pressed - if we lose what it means to be Americans, we'd be lost altogether - and the proregressives have always known that as well.

Well... this just may be our last chance to remain outside of the beast. If you think I'm exagerating, I just receivd this from Gretchen Logue, Editor of the Jefferson County Township Newsletter:

While we've been distracted with HealthControl and Stimulous bills, the proregressive beast has advanced behind our backs to the point where you just might feel it's breath on the back of your neck before it consumes you... might... but more likely, you'll be a steaming meadow pie before you even know it. I just became aware of this damnable thing last night at a Tea Party related meeting (for Ensuring Liberty), and from the little I've been able to discover so far, it is blood chilling.
"An aside note. We have a member who emigrated here from Germany . She was a young girl during WWII but remembers the tyranny of that government. After the presentation she remarked, "Welcome to the Third Reich". Bottom line of RTTT and The Governor's Council: the centralization of government and control. The attempts are here in Missouri and the United States . It's in black and white. It's not paranoia. It's fact."

I've only just begun to look into the actual documents, an Executive Overview (15pg!), and the 300 page "Race To The Top" application itself. As one of those who have tipped me off to this, Annette at "I heard the people say" says, "When you read these documents, pay attention to what this document states. It will allow the wresting of local school board control...", and it does so through unfunded federal mandates, and the ability to dictate not only the curriculum, but to replace your local teachers with Federally certified teachers: Read ObamaoCorp.

Pajamas Media has an article on this which out to scare the crap out of you,

Apparently, $4.35 billion is not enough for education reform — at least, not the kind that President Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan are pushing. With the first $4.35 billion coming from the stimulus package, Obama has asked for $1.53 billion more in his 2011 budget — all for Duncan’s Race to the Top competition. This educational experiment, designed “to dramatically reshape America’s educational system,” allows states to compete for a piece of the $5 billion in cash prizes by making educational reforms dictated by the Department of Education (DOE). The more DOE reforms they enact, the more money states “win.” Currently, 40 states have applied.
Despite the vast expansion of federal government mandates on state and local schools, Race to the Top has received relatively little resistance from proponents of smaller government. But the reality is that this plan not only usurps state rights; it also introduces a whole new program of indoctrination.
According to the DOE’s website, “integrity and transparency drive the process” of Race to the Top. In truth, it’s about as transparent as a blindfold, causing many school districts to opt out. Although states like Iowa, California, and Wisconsin applied for the grant money, many of their school districts are not choosing to participate. Citing an inability to get adequate information on the regulations that would be imposed on the schools, districts “struggled with unanswered questions about how tightly the funds would be tied to mandates.” Karl Paulson, a Missouri school district superintendent, wrote, “It is irresponsible for officials from the State Department of Education or State Board of Education to coerce local districts into a commitment through politics and press releases without the districts having the full design and requirements of that commitment being detailed.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry, one of the few staunch opponents of the program, stated that it would be “foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education.” He added that if Washington truly cared about education, it would give the money to the states with “no strings attached.” Among those “strings attached” is a commitment to abandon local curricula to adopt unproven, national curriculum standards.
Still, the focus on charter schools has duped many on the right to support the program. But before cheering for charter schools, parents need to be reminded that the camouflage-clad, militant youth chanting and praising President Obama came from a Kansas City, Missouri, charter school. In reality, that school’s model much more closely resembles the vision of both Obama and Duncan.
Charter schools by definition are free from many of the rules and regulations of public schools. Although they have accountability standards, they set their own curricula and programs. But since the foundation of Race to the Top is setting a core curriculum determined by Washington, the reality is that these so-called charter schools will not set their own curriculum. The DOE is simply redefining the term “charter school” with the hopes that its program can sail through with little right-wing opposition.
With their newly defined charters, they’ll not only be able to change what students are learning, but more easily change who is teaching them. Traditionally, charter schools have been free from the burdens of teachers’ unions so that they can more easily fire and replace bad teachers. When a school becomes a charter school, its teachers even have to reapply for their jobs; enter AmeriCorps.
One of the most startling facets of Race to the Top is its attempt to get rid of as many traditionally educated teachers — i.e., those who go to a college to earn a master’s degree in education — and replace them with “alternatively” certified teachers; and, not just any alternatively certified teachers, but those certified by AmeriCorps’ Teach for America (TFA) and Teaching Fellows, which it runs jointly with the New Teacher Project (TNTP).
Many school districts are already adding AmeriCorps workers with hopes of appearing more competitive for the federal dollars. For example, Colorado agreed to “more than quadruple the number of Teach for America teachers in classrooms, from 175 to more than 800.” And in Indiana’s Race to the Top application, the state agreed to “double the number of teachers entering each year from Teach for America and the New Teacher Project..
Replacing traditionally educated teachers with AmeriCorps-certified teachers is not a new idea to Duncan. Despite laying off hundreds of teachers during his tenure as CEO for Chicago Public Schools, he still managed to add hundreds of TFA teachers to Chicago schools.

40 states have applied for self-destruction through this thing. A number of states have a state sovereignty movement afoot, ours in Missouri is "MO Sovereignty Project", see if you've got one and see if it'll cover this, or if they're even aware of this thing. If your state is getting involved, or even already passed it, contact your school board and see if they're contemplating it - and stop them! I'll give the last word to Annette on this,
"The first step is educating yourself. I believe our readers do not need a "nudge" to find out what this mandate means for our children and giving away our sovereignty. We can figure out what is happening behind the scenes. We are not stakeholders. We are citizens who are concerned about this push toward federalization of our programs. You need to call your School District today. You need to ask them if it signed on to this document and why. Call your legislator. Call the State Board of Education. Call the governor. Tell your neighbors. This is akin to the ramming through of the health reform bill. Secrecy, vagueness, and sense of "crisis".
I'm going to a townhall on this tonight and will update you as more info becomes available.


Do Something!


More info here on The Missouri Register with "The Race To The Takeover",
"The plan reflects the belief that our schools need to be nudged by "choice architects" (pps 10 and 40) to steer educational choices for our children. The document was drafted on the basic tenet of this belief held by Cass Sunstein. This is the recurring theme of the Obama administration. We, the people, are ill prepared to handle decisions for ourselves and our children. We need the "nudging" by the government for correct choices"
And key to the process of 'nudging', is the "Teach For America" (TFA) organization (such as pgs 142 and 152), run by this politically correct mess, Wendy Kopp, her organization will be responsible for seeing that the pick fed teachers will be certified and stamped "FeDA Approved: Grade A PC". The end result of all of this nudging is a complete takeover of curriculum, teachers, and with just a widdle bit of extrapolation, the taking over of your children.

Pure and simple.

******************** And of course, good ol' fashioned corruption*******************
Here's a post (the original has been deleted) regarding conflict of interest between Duncan and the grants being doled out,

"I have now heard the same thing from three independent credible sources - the fix is in on the U.S. Department of Education's competitive grants, in particular Race to the Top (RTTT) and Investing in Innovation (I3). Secretary Duncan needs to head this off now, by admitting that he and his team have potential conflicts of interests with regard to their roles in grant making, recognizing that those conflicts are widely perceived by potential grantees, and explaining how grant decisions will be insulated from interference by the department's political appointees."

Of course.

Diane Ravitch, an old hand with attempts at educational reform, keys off this also,

"I try not to be naïve. I admit to a certain streak of idealism. I suppose that is why I continue to be surprised when I read about efforts to suppress critical discussions of charter schools. I was shocked when Education Sector toned down Tom Toch's friendly discussion of the charter sector, in which he expressed concern about the capacity of charter chains to expand enough to meet Secretary Duncan's goal of thousands of new high-quality charters. Leave aside the fact that Toch was one of the founders of Education Sector, there is still the odor that arises when a sensible critique is censored by its sponsors.

Now comes another clumsy effort to silence someone who raises reasonable questions. Marc Dean Millot, who has been writing incisively about the business of education for many years, posted a blog in which he posed questions about the conflicts of interest at the U.S. Department of Education. Millot wrote:
...[above quote repeated here]

It turns out that Millot asked questions that someone didn't want to be heard. The blog was removed, and his contract cancelled. The good news is that the Internet is making it very difficult to censor anyone. You can be certain that the censors will fail, because the original is almost certain to appear uncut on the Internet within days or hours.

Whatever Secretary Duncan chooses to do with the good advice offered by Millot, I have a prediction to make: As hundreds and possibly thousands more charter schools open, we will see many financial and political scandals. We will see corrupt politicians and investors putting their hands into the cashbox. We will see corrupt deals where public school space is handed over to entrepreneurs who have made contributions to the politicians making the decisions. We will see many more charter operators pulling in $400,000-500,000 a year for their role, not as principals, but as "rainmakers" who build warm relationships with politicians and investors"

Ravitch also ties much of the push for this to the Gates Foundation... wish Bill would stick with software.


mushroom said...

This reminds me of something I was thinking the other day -- how exactly did we get federal involvement and control in public education anyway? As best I can remember, it more or less began with the civil rights movement, the forced destruction of "separate but equal", and forced busing mandated by federal courts to achieve integration.

I know Dewey and all that crap, but that was limited and unable to take hold until the federales used the courts to destroy segregation.

While we would agree that segregation was a bad thing, it seems we could have eliminated that without allowing the progressives to centralize and collectivize education.

Van Harvey said...

Mushroom said "This reminds me of something I was thinking the other day -- how exactly did we get federal involvement and control in public education anyway? As best I can remember, it more or less began with the civil rights movement, the forced destruction of "separate but equal", and forced busing mandated by federal courts to achieve integration. "

Nah... this didn’t start with something like Brown Vs Kansas Board of Ed … from what I've been able to discover, ignoring the fits and starts here and there in individual states, this whole train wreck really got rolling back in the 1860’s with the Morrill Act, which was the first proregressive first Federal level success (from the Republican progressives, btw) in getting the Federal govt involved in local citizens lives. It took advantage of American’s natural thirst for Education, and also Lincoln's weakness for war measures at the time (which was how Morrill spun it past Lincoln, after President Buchanan vetoed it during his term)… and over the objections of College Presidents who saw the danger to curriculums and school independence that would eventually follow form it, it passed… and govt, and the proregressive leaders who put themselves up as the ‘X-spurts’ uniquely suited to guide ‘educational progress’, have taken progressively more and more control of our educational system ever since.

I went into some of the details of this in the What never was and never will be,

"... Ironically (in view of today's political scene), public education was begun on the Federal level, by a Republican President, Lincoln, at the instigation of a powerful Republican Senator, Morrill who, in 1855, was one of the founders of the Republican Party in Vermont. He served 12 years as a Representative in the House, and 31 years as a Senator. He first put forward the act in 1857, but it was vetoed by President Buchannon (D), who was concerned about the implications it had for states rights, and its threat to private property. However, it was reintroduced in 1861, primarily as a War Measure! In Morrills words: “The role of the national government is to mould the character of the American people." and, "Ignorant voters endanger liberty. With free schools in the South there could have been no rebellion in the future...when our youth learn to read similar books, similar lessons, we shall become one people, possessing one organic nationality."

The Governments job was to “mould the character of the American people”? Where did such ideas come from? Did no one stop to ask what kind of ignorance might come of education directed by a bureaucrats removed from a caring parents interest...
It took awhile, but eventually in the early 1900’s, thanks to fiends like Dewey, the proregressives finally broke free from what American's traditionally thought an Education should be, and began working more and more of their 'progressive education' ideas into the schools and it’s been the inverted hockey stick ever since.

Van Harvey said...

Hey Mushroom, I remember you said you had a relative in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, have they mentioned anything about this "Race for the top" program? I'd never heard about it until last night, but this thing is being rushed through behind the scenes like you wouldn't believe. I went to a townhall this evening put on by a couple concerned teachers and others who've been trying to get someone to take notice of this... and I tell you what, it doesn't look good at all.

I haven't had the chance to verify the details yet, but from what I gleaned from their presentation, and browsing through the Executive Summary and a couple page ref's out of the 300 page application doc... this thing is scary as heck, and seems to bear out what the Pajamas Media article mentioned,

"Traditionally, charter schools have been free from the burdens of teachers’ unions so that they can more easily fire and replace bad teachers. When a school becomes a charter school, its teachers even have to reapply for their jobs; enter AmeriCorps.

One of the most startling facets of Race to the Top is its attempt to get rid of as many traditionally educated teachers — i.e., those who go to a college to earn a master’s degree in education — and replace them with “alternatively” certified teachers; and, not just any alternatively certified teachers, but those certified by AmeriCorps’ Teach for America (TFA) and Teaching Fellows, which it runs jointly with the New Teacher Project (TNTP).

Any tips, help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated... I've got two kids still in school, damned if I'm going to sit by and let this go unopposed.

Van Harvey said...

Btw, I'll bet dollars to donuts that amidst the vague language of this 'race to the top' garbage, it eventually meshs up with the "H.R. 1388: Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act"... and if that snappy title doesn't ring any bells, it was one of the issues that I was worrying about back in March of 2009 in "The U.S. Constitution - use it or lose it!"

"...At that point, the Founders Constitution will become only a historical curiosity… which you’ll probably need authorization to examine.

Am I exagerating? Well... have a look at this, which just passed the House, From H.R. 1388: Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, Down in Part III, SEC. 120. INNOVATIVE DEMONSTRATION SERVICE-LEARNING PROGRAMS AND RESEARCH, you'll find this gem,

"‘(B) service-learning is a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency."

Which part of 'Mandatory' sounds like 'volunteerism' to you? Which part of 'Home of the Free' do you think seems amenable to forcing our children to volunteer for government mandated 'community service'? People used to say 'It can't happen here' - folks, it IS happening here, here and now. It is happening because people are not familiar with the very document expressly designed and created to prevent such things from ever happening here - the U.S. Constitution, and the relevant documents (Federalist & Anti-Federalist papers, etc) which can help you to understand it, as it was intended then - not as it is being spun now..."

Looks like the Gateway pundit post I linked to in that post (in order to make me look calm, cool and collected) is broken, but these come close, "Senate vote to allow Acorn funding in youth brigades bill" and "Obama's Hitler youth will not be allowed to express religious beliefs"

Seriously, this is one to take seriously folks.

Susannah said...

Van, I was totally unaware of this. THANK YOU for bringing it to my attention. I will be spreading the news.

xlbrl said...

In large states the public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad.
We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest.
Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.
There are few things more dishonorable than misleading the young.
We should not be surprised to find the Left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.
A government entirely dependent on public opinion looks for some security in what that opinion should be, strives for the control of the forces that shape it, and is fearful of suffering the people to be educated in sentiments hostile to its institution.
Civilizations in decline are constantly characterized by a tendency toward standardization and uniformity.

Van Harvey said...

Xlbrl, I'll add to that list, a quote by Lincoln that I ref'd in another post:

"The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."

Allowing the two to be connected (heh... 'Govt/Educational complex')and expecting no harm, is like telling Fire that there's an open can of gasoline next door, stay away, it might make you bigger and hotter.

Susannah said...


wv: slyingis