Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Race To Transform America: "Race To The Top" Educational 'Reform' Program - UPDATE***

I've got just enough time at the moment to take another quick look at this "Race To The Top" push by the Obamao administration. I mentioned a couple of issues and page references in my previous post, but today I'll just look at what fun and games can be found within a single section.

Taking a look at just a poriton of pg 267
(ii) Permissible activities. An LEA may also implement other strategies that extend learning time and create community-oriented schools, such as--

(A) Partnering with parents and parent organizations, faith- and community-based organizations

[Keeping in mind that the impetus behind this comes from the likes of the Kevin Jennings, Arne Duncan, etc, when I hear 'community-based organizations', PTA, Boys & Girls Scouts aren't what first come to mind, ACORN is - and that's being optimistic]

, health clinics

[again, band-aids and flu-shots aren't what come to mind, Planned Parenthood is]

, other State or local agencies, and others to create safe school environments that meet students’ social, emotional, and health needs;

[Schools... meeting 'social, emotional and health needs...? WTF! Reading! Writing! Arithmetic! HISTORY! That's your job, the rest is ours, the Parents!]

(B) Extending or restructuring the school day so as to add time for such strategies as advisory periods that build relationships between students, faculty, and other school staff;

[Keep in mind, this is ultimately directed (dictated) from the Federal level... that means Jennings, Duncan, etc, will be dictating the length of school days, and building ' relationships between students, faculty and other school staff' - have you seen what Kevin Jennings oft times has in mind with building relationships?]

(C) Implementing approaches to improve school climate and discipline, such as implementing a system of positive behavioral supports or taking steps to eliminate bullying and student harassment; or

[here we've got a big opening for your child being counseled by a school councilor spewing a dose of values clarification and conflict management skills - I've seen this stuff up close before, it is Crap with a capital "C" - you don't want your kids involved in it - and BTW, they don't mean counseling the bullies - they mean counseling those kids who resist the bullies, those who won't turn and run from them, THOSE are the ones who are going to get counseled.]

(D) Expanding the school program to offer full-day kindergarten or pre-kindergarten.

[Ok, shivers should be shooting down the spine. I'd take the word 'offer' with not a grain of salt, but an entire bag of it. They've made this push before for nationalized daycare programs, and I've no doubt that's what they are aiming towards and that is truly frightening.]

(4) Providing operational flexibility and sustained support.

[Nothing much to point out here except that there's nothing much to point out here - governmentease verbiage for lofty sounding measures, without any sort of detailed descriptions and definitions should conjure up every worst nightmare govt program and money pit you can imagine]

(i) Required activities. The LEA must--
(A) Give the school sufficient operational flexibility (such as staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student achievement outcomes and increase high school graduation rates; and...

[Required activities... and if funding is short, that's to be handled how? I know our first impulse is to think... oh... they wouldn't mean anything bad by that - but hey - the govt you didn't have to concern yourself over hasn't been seen in a hundred years. Keep in mind that one of the first measures Obamao had pushed through the house was the measure which encourages mandatory volunteerism ... as I said before 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..."
It looks like the Gateway pundit post I linked to in that post (in order to make me look calm, cool and collected at the time) was broken when he moved his site, 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.

You can say I'm being over the top... but I seem to recall that some folks thought I was being over the top when I pointed out that Obamao was less a centrist, and more an anti-constitutionalist and that the 'Change' he was promising was "Change that will destroy us". Yes, you could say "we haven't been destroyed yet!", but I think we can both agree that you might have a hard time saying that without including the "yet"... right?

I'd rather not have to say "I told you so"... again... how about you?

And so again, I'll ask which part of 'mandatory' sounds like volunteering to you? Think worst case first folks, then work your way back to sanity from there - if warranted.

Every state is implementing thist thing in their own fashion, Missouri's can be found here, and your state is likely done a little differently, but as one site pointed out, there seems to one thing constant in all cases, an "inverse correlation between strength of proposal and amount of buy-in" - the more you know about it, the less you will want to have anything to do with it - but the way it is worded, once your state takes a bite of this apple, you've swallowed the worm and it's not letting you go without a fight.

Dana Loesch spent some time on this issue today on News Talk 97.1 FM, and many others from the relatively sedate Diane Ravitch to the fringe kooks on the left, right and all points in between (like, here, and here), each for their own reasons... any guesses as to why?

Maybe it's because there are a lot of reasons for concern in these bills, for everybody.

How about you?

************** UPDATE ****************
Had another moment to scan through this thing, here's a boiler plate line to search for in your states doc: "participation in a consortium of States that" that should pop up several times in each states implementation doc, in ours here in Missouri, it shows up four times starting on pg. 76:

"(B) Standards and Assessments (70 total points)

State Reform Conditions Criteria
(B)(1) Developing and adopting common standards (40 points)
The extent to which the State has demonstrated its commitment to adopting a common set of high-quality standards, evidenced by (as set forth in Appendix B)—
(I) The State’s participation in a consortium of States that— (20 points)
(a) Is working toward jointly developing and adopting a common set of K-12 standards (as defined in this notice) that are supported by evidence that they are internationally benchmarked and build toward college and career readiness by the time of high school graduation; and..."
Are you frigging kidding me? Giving our local control over to a consortium of states isn't enough? It also has to be Internationally Benchmarked?!?!?!


Sal said...

Not us. No wonder Perry won easily yesterday.

Susannah said...

Replete with passive voice, isn't it?

The parts I read talked about ensuring this and ensuring that, blah blah blah, as if it's the state's responsibility to ensure anything regarding a child's education! It's the parent's responsibility!

Exactly how are they going to "ensure" that everybody graduates? Except by lowering any actual academic standards to non-existence? It's the parent's (and the student's, at that point) responsibility to see themselves through.

But then, that goes back to the very assumptions behind public schooling. {Sigh.} There's just nowhere to turn without bumping into their statist goals. Except homeschooling...for as long as that's allowed under "federal standards." If allowed at all, it will be in name only. Just reading comments from average Joes out there on any article pertaining to homeschooling is enough to alarm the heck out of me.

Susannah said...

Hi, Sal! :)

Susannah said...

By the way, Van, your apple graphic made quite the impression on my two-year-old. Even my older ones were wishing they had a few of those to feed to their chickens. My 8yo took a half-eaten apple out to the coop this morning saying, "Sure wish this had a worm in it. Those chickens would think they hit the jackpot!"

I made sure to tell them to beware shiny red apples offered up by the gov't. :)

Susannah said...

Did you see this, Van? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/magazine/07Teachers-t.html?pagewanted=1

Van Harvey said...

Susannah, thanks for the link, I hadn't seen that one yet.

This part I think sums it up, and them, well with,

"The odyssey produced a 357-page treatise known among its hundreds of underground fans as Lemov’s Taxonomy. (The official title, attached to a book version being released in April, is “Teach Like a Champion: The 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College.”)"

Techniques, technology, class size, A/V eqpt... they are philosophically unable to grasp the idea that we are not pinballs or mechanisms to be nudged and bounced from one position to the next... we are human beings and we are not taught from without, but guided to learn from within.

Techie geek that I am, I'd still trade away Bill Gates newest and most high tech tablet, for a single volume of Plutarch's morals.

Here's another link btw,

Joshua Kaplowitz, “How I Joined Teach for America—and Got Sued for $20 Million,”

Van Harvey said...

Sal, that is the only way to do it - just say no!