Browsing articles in "Federal Education"
Jan 21, 2013

Important Minnesota, Indiana, and Idaho Standards News

Today is the day we celebrate the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, no longer mentioned by the Minnesota social studies standards, and which were given an F grade by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their poor teaching of the civil rights movement.  As we remember this important day in American history, Education Liberty Watch wishes to express its profound gratitude to the hundreds of parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens, as well as the experts, legislators, attorneys, and groups that participated in the public hearing and comment process for the Minnesota social studies standards.  364 of you signed our petition in five days.  Eleven legislators, listed and some quoted below, including Senate Minority Leader David Hann, made formal comments opposing the standards, while none commented in support of them.  Four current or past college professors submitted formal comments against these standards and another wrote in the Star Tribune on Jan. 18th even after the formal comment period had closed.  The Department of Education responded to the comments received by January 9th.  Education Liberty Watch provided a rebuttal to their response as did Representatives Sondra Erickson and Kelby Woodard, Dr. John Fonte, and American Principles in Action, all showing how the Department failed to adequately respond to the myriad concerns raised.  It is now up to the judge who must decide by about February 15th whether the rule containing the standards is acceptable. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile as Minnesota fights against the revisionist history and further implementation of the Common Core standards via the link to the English standards, citizens are taking up the battle against big government education in Indiana.  More than 500 people came during work and school to a rally opposing that state’s Common Core standards in English and math.  Senator Scott Schneider has introduced a bill (SB 193) to withdraw Indiana from the Common Core standards.  After the rally there was a four and a half hour hearing. The vote that was expected in the Senate Education Committee on January 23rd has been moved. We will alert you when we know. (Local media coverage is available here).    Please see below for details on contacting the Indiana Senate Education Committee.

In addition, the Idaho House Education Committee  heard more testimony against the Common Core and teachers are speaking out about the destruction of math and English teaching, their professionalism, autonomy, and creativity. As with Obamacare, the Common Core will have to be resisted on the state level.  Please continue to join us in this fight!

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Nov 6, 2012

Presidential Candidates on Education: Families or Government in Charge?

The following statement has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln:

The philosophy of education in one generation becomes the philosophy of of government in the next.

Although education continues to be overshadowed by the economy and lately by foreign affairs such as the Benghazi debacle, it has still been discussed in the presidential campaign. The candidates discussed the federal role in education including the Common Core Standards and financing in the first debate, which I outlined in our last alert. And never has there been a more distinct contrast between the philosophies of education between the two presidential candidates.

President Obama’s approach has been unwaveringly towards big government solutions. He has consistently been in favor of more federal control and spending from cradle to college, as well as hiring more teachers and expanding federal data gathering. His administration has relentlessly pursued national standards in both preschool and K-12 via the Race to the Top grant programs as well as the No Child Left Behind waivers.  As a result he is very close to achieving federalization of curriculum, because 46-1/2 states and the District of Columbia have adopted these standards.  Nine states have federalized their preschool standards and put in place early childhood quality rating systems that will control private and religious programs as well. The administration has also increased Head Start spending despite numerous studies, including one in 2010, showing it to be a failure and GAO evidence of fraud in the program’s administration.

Governor Romney, on the other hand, except for being less forthright than he needs to be about the absolute necessity of cutting federal education spending has spoken consistently about decreasing the federal role in education. He has specifically stated that it is not the role of the federal government to promote national standards.

Most importantly, Mitt Romney has spoken of the critical importance of families and parents in the education of children, especially young children. These statements are like water in the desert for families and groups that want to see power and freedom returned to families and locally elected school boards to make education decisions.

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Oct 6, 2012

1st Presidential Debate Discussed Federal Role in Education

The first presidential debate, a decisive and widely declared victory for Mitt Romney, contained a number of illuminating moments on education.  While President Obama continued to openly display his authoritarian philosophy, Governor Romney showed the conflict in his camp and perhaps within himself personally between a strong limited government view and continued ineffective federal education spending.   Both candidates spoke about the role of government in general and in education in particular.

There was absolutely nothing new in discussions about the role of government from President Obama.  He continued his very statist approach saying:

But I also believe that government has the capacity, the federal government has the capacity to help open up opportunity and create ladders of opportunity and to create frameworks where the American people can succeed…

All those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is — is channeled and — and they have an opportunity to succeed. And everybody’s getting a fair shot. And everybody’s getting a fair share — everybody’s doing a fair share, and everybody’s playing by the same rules. (emphasis added)

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Sep 29, 2012

States Starting to Rebel Against Common Core

Although education has not been a front burner issue in this election cycle, there is some evidence that word about the dangers of and problems with the Common Core national standards, about which we have warned you for a long time, is slowly getting out.

In addition to Education Liberty Watch, the group of academics, policy makers and individuals that developed and gained over 100 original signatures on a counter-manifesto against the Common Core, The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, Truth in American Education, teachers, parents, and policy makers are working hard to educate and to protest this loss of autonomy, local control and academic rigor.  Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in interviews on Fox News and the Mike Huckabee show pointed out the constitutional and academic dangers of the Common Core in his new book Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities. In it, he said:

The core of the hard-left’s education agenda – a program shared by Obama, Ayers, and Darling-Hammond alike – has three parts: 1) a politicized curriculum that promotes leftist notions of “social justice,” 2) reducing “disparate outcomes” between students in different districts by undercutting standards, and 3) a redistribution of suburban education funding to less-well-off urban schools. Achieving these goals on a broad scale requires the federal government to usurp local control of K-12 schooling.

Obama is half-way there.

How did he do it?  Instead of submitting his controversial education proposals to Congress and kicking off a vigorous national debate, Obama quietly marked $4.35 billion of federal stimulus spending for his Race to the Top education initiative. Since the stimulus bill was rushed through Congress with barely any debate on economic policy, much less education, Obama never had to go public with his plans.

By coordinating with outside groups not accountable to the voters, like the deep-pocketed Gates Foundation, the White House then orchestrated the creation of a national Common Core of education standards, with an accompanying curriculum and tests.

Supposedly, these standards have been voluntarily adopted by more than 40 states. In fact, by effectively conditioning eligibility for Race to the Top grants on participation in the Common Core, the Obama administration has forced economically pinched states to surrender control of their school curricula to the federal government. Cleverly, states have been pressed to sign on to the Common Core before the actual standards, curricula, and tests are revealed in a second Obama term. The entire scheme is arguably both illegal and unconstitutional. Yet it is moving forward, and the public knows virtually nothing about it.

In addition, state legislators and governors are also starting to respond to this unconstitutional federal takeover of education curriculum. According to the states listed or not listed on this comprehensive review table by Daniel Thatcher of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the breakdown of how states are dealing with the Common Core is as follows:

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