Browsing articles in "Politics of Education"
Jul 11, 2019

The National Pulse: 2020 Democrats Outline Big-Government Education Plans at NEA Forum

Dr. Effrem recently described the education platforms of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates as discussed at the July 5th education forum of the National Education Association. Here is the list of topics discussed:

Eliminating High-Stakes Testing

Slowing or Stopping Charter School Growth

Expanding the Federal Role in Education

Universal Government Preschool

Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health

Increasing Government Control Beyond Education

Details of the way the candidates would handle these issues is available in the full article.

The National Pulse – New Report Reveals the Twin Dangers of Common Core and School Choice

This article for The National Pulse written by Dr. Karen Effrem analyzes the risks associated with school choice and how it could be another way which the proponents of Common Core use to require the standards be applied to private and charter schools.

A thorough new white paper from the Pioneer Institute titled “Common Core, School Choice and Rethinking Standards-Based Reform” expertly discusses the mountain of evidence showing the flaws and failures of the Common Core standards and their aligned curriculum, as well as how damaging the centralized standards reform movement is to school choice. The report is authored by Neal McCluskey, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom; Theodor Rebarber, head of the nonprofit AccountabilityWorks; and Patrick J. Wolf, Distinguished Professor of Education Policy at the University of Arkansas.

With regard to the quality and success of the Common Core standards, the report discusses the recent declines in math in 4th and 8th grade on the NAEP and the lack of improvement internationally. NAEP reading scores were also stagnant in 4th and 8th grade, with lower scores for struggling students.

Sending public funds to private schools, especially religious ones, greatly risks opening these private schools to control by the state, which will eventually mean imposition of public Common Core curriculum on private schools. Given the support for this program among the same corporate establishment groups described above, this seems to be what a significant portion of these pro-Common Core groups have wanted all along.

That is why seeing the apparent takeover of conservative Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis’ campaign by these establishment forces is so disconcerting to education freedom advocates and anti-Common Core parents who helped him win the primary. Instead of keeping his promise to get rid of Common Core, his platform now speaks of merely doing a review of the standards, which is what was used to rebrand but not significantly change Common Core in Florida and other states. There is also much promotion of school choice without addressing the dangers of Common Core-aligned testing and curriculum. All of this is then endorsed by Jeb Bush, whose promotion of Common Core was an electoral disaster. This is potentially a significant reason why DeSantis’ campaign has been having difficulties since the primary.

The full article can be found at The National Pulse’s website.

National Pulse – Should Trump Merge the Education and Labor Departments? Grassroots Say No.

In this article, Dr. Effrem discusses the proposal by the Trump administration to merge the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education.

While certainly not every student is meant to go to college, this plan appears to be a strong move away from academic education towards the philosophy that education is mere workforce preparation — and in which children are seen as “products” (as termed by former Secretary of State and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson) or links in the labor supply chain. This philosophy and system has failed everywhere it has been tried.

One important American example is the Smaller Learning Community program, a Gates Foundation effort to track children into specific types of jobs-based education as early as 8th grade that was attempted before moving into the Race to the Top and Common Core effort. The Gates Foundation admitted in 2009 that this program, upon which the foundation spent at least $650 million, was a failure.​ And like Common Core, the teacher quality initiative, and many other Gates education efforts, it was a failure that had great taxpayer financial and human costs — though this has done little to deter the government’s latest attempt to resurrect the idea.

To see the full article click here.

Please sign and share the petition and contact your members of Congress when they are home on the July 4th recess and at campaign events.

The National Pulse: Debunking 5 False Claims About “Social Emotional Learning”

by Karen Effrem, MD

The National Commission on Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (SEL) that we have discussed and warned about had a major gathering in Tacoma, Wash., this past November and sent out an email update in early January.

The commission is led by Linda Darling Hammond, the head of CASEL, who was radical terrorist Bill Ayers’ choice to be Secretary of Education in the Obama Administration. Another commission co-chair is former Michigan Governor John Engler, now chairman of the Business Roundtable (BRT), which has long promotedCommon Core, SEL skills development, and treating children as widgets in the labor-supply chain.

Five “takeaways” from the Tacoma gathering were listed in the email and on their website. As we have written in many articles and as is typical of SEL proponents, these contentions are overflowing with contradictions and fallacies. Below is a brief attempt to debunk them: