By Donna Garner
March 17, 2010
Obama just announced his plan to rewrite the provisions of No Child Left Behind (“Obama Calls for Sweeping Overhaul in Education Law” by Sam Dillon, 3.13.10 -- http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/education/14child.html?ref=education ).
I expect Obama’s poll numbers may skyrocket over this announcement because who would not want all students to be ready for college or the workforce when they graduate?
This “smoke and mirrors” plan is typical Obama rhetoric, and it is somewhat difficult to track because it is so carefully couched in education doublespeak. Let me see if I can help to clarify.
Plain and simple -- Obama intends to change the way an entire generation of children thinks:
National standards → national tests → national curriculum → teachers’ salaries tied to students’ test scores → teachers teaching to the test each and every day → Obama indoctrination of our public school children
Making the Federal Government the “Teacher”
Obama’s plan will make the federal government the “teacher” in every public school classroom in 48 states (Texas and Alaska not included). How can this happen? It is being perpetrated on our nation through incremental stages that began almost the first day Obama took office.
To receive the U. S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top (RTTT) federal funds, states have to “play the game” by committing to national standards, national tests, national curriculum, and a national database.
States must institute value-added assessments (VAA). Students’ subjectively assessed scores (the opposite of objective scoring with right-or-wrong answers) on the national tests and on various subjectively scored projects will be tracked on a national database from the individual student back to the individual teacher.
This federal knife will be held over teachers’ heads to force them to teach exactly what is in the national standards -- multiculturalism, political correctness, diversity, global warming, environmental extremism, homosexuality, social justice, etc.
Teachers will then be evaluated, given merit pay, or fired based upon the subjectively assessed scores of their students.
When Common Core/Race to the Top was initiated, the public was told that the national standards would only apply to Reading and Math. On 3.10.10, the much-awaited Common Core Standards draft was released. What the public presumed would be the Reading standards turned out to be entitled “Common Core English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies & Science.” The title indicates that Obama and the U. S. Department of Education intend to extend their control over every aspect of the public school curriculum.
If the federal government can change the way our American children think, they can change our nation in one generation.
A Possible Example of Subjectively Scored Projects
Because of the inherent nature of portfolio assignments, they are graded subjectively based upon the opinion of the scorer.
For instance, a student could decide to produce a portfolio on the subject of “The Discrimination of Gays in the Military.” He could produce limited documented text but could be scored high if he includes zany, glitzy graphics in which he uses all sorts of techie applications.
Another student could do endless hours of research and produce a factual, well-researched, well-documented, and clearly written expository paper on “Destroying Unit Cohesiveness by Gays in the Military.” This student could be scored low because of the subjectivity of the scoring of portfolio projects.
A third student could write a fully illustrated paper with audio and film clips on her experiences as a community organizer (complete with first-person, emotion-laden victimization examples), and this portfolio project could score higher than a well-organized and well-researched expository paper on the possible illegality of ACORN’s activities.
Obama Caught in Inconvenient Situation of Breaking the Law
Obama’s inconvenient problem right now is that he and the U. S. Department of Education are in violation of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. NCLB strictly forbids the federal government from taking over the control of public schools through national standards, national tests, national curriculum, and a national database. (Please see provisions posted at the bottom of this commentary.)
Obama is trying to change the NCLB laws as fast as he can before the public figures out that he is breaking the provisions set forth in the current law.
Obama’s Plan in Action
Last year, 48 state Governors (except for Texas and Alaska) signed the Common Core standards adoption agreements before the public was told about the national tests.
U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan waited until the state contracts were signed before he made the rest of the plan clear:
· Up until the last of January (2010), the 48 states who signed the agreements thought they only had to commit to teach 85 % of the Common Core standards. In February of 2010, they were told by a deputy executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers that states will not be allowed to pick and choose; they must use the entire national standards document word for word -- 100% of them.
· National tests will be created based upon the Common Core national standards. These tests will be subjectively assessed so that social justice themes can be interwoven throughout, and students’ test grades will be dependent upon the value system of the scorers.
· To get the Race to the Top funds, states will have to be a part of the Common Core national standards.
· To get the Race to the Top funds, states will also have to implement an elaborate tracking system [a national database provided by none other than Bill Gates I feel sure] that would link student test and portfolio scores to individual teachers.
· This obviously means that teachers (whose merit pay will depend upon how their students do on the national tests and portfolios) will teach their students a national curriculum to get them ready for the national assessments.
· The vendors and lobbyists will be only too glad to develop the national curriculum. They will love dealing with The Beltway crowd rather than being required to pass their instructional materials through public hearings with conscientious citizens who check for factual errors.
· The reality is that all public school teachers will teach to the national tests and assessments created by the federal government because teachers’ salaries and employment security will depend upon it.
· Please read the following 3.2.10 article posted on EducationWeek.org that indicates liberal-left Linda Darling-Hammond and others of her same persuasion will be in charge of developing the national tests: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/02/23/23assessment.h29.html?tkn=YWSFjb7lP0Ul6RKoCAcO2bcgAdhvfr8s6u2D&cmp=clp-edweek
· On March 4, 2010, the following states were awarded Race to the Top funding (Phase 1) with Phase 2 to be awarded in the next few months: Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee
Where Is the Media When We Need Them?
I and others who have tracked this federal takeover of the public schools by Obama and the U. S. Department of Education are very puzzled?
Why have FoxNews and other major networks not reported on this federal takeover? They have spent large amounts of time reporting on the federal takeover of healthcare but not on Obama’s plan to indoctrinate our public school students.
Where are the tea partiers who are appalled at the intrusiveness of the federal government into every aspect of our lives? Why are they not leading the efforts to uncover and defeat Obama’s plan to take over the public schools of our country?
Won’t you join with me in contacting your friends and neighbors, the tea partiers, the media, and also your elected officials? Our children are our “most important product.” Why would we put them in the hands of Obama and the federal government?
Please feel free to share my commentary with any and all. “Each one teach one” is the way to mount a grassroots effort to stop this dreadful federalization of our public schools.
No Child Left Behind Law
SEC. 9526. GENERAL PROHIBITIONS.
(a) PROHIBITION- None of the funds authorized under this Act shall be used —
(1) to develop or distribute materials, or operate programs or courses of instruction directed at youth, that are designed to promote or encourage sexual activity, whether homosexual or heterosexual;
(2) to distribute or to aid in the distribution by any organization of legally obscene materials to minors on school grounds;
(3) to provide sex education or HIV-prevention education in schools unless that instruction is age appropriate and includes the health benefits of abstinence; or
(4) to operate a program of contraceptive distribution in schools.
(b) LOCAL CONTROL- Nothing in this section shall be construed to —
(1) authorize an officer or employee of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, review, or control a State, local educational agency, or school's instructional content, curriculum, and related activities;
(2) limit the application of the General Education Provisions Act;
(3) require the distribution of scientifically or medically false or inaccurate materials or to prohibit the distribution of scientifically or medically true or accurate materials; or
(4) create any legally enforceable right.
SEC. 9527. PROHIBITIONS ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS.
(a) GENERAL PROHIBITION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an officer or employee of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school's curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of State or local resources, or mandate a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this Act.
(b) PROHIBITION ON ENDORSEMENT OF CURRICULUM- Notwithstanding any other prohibition of Federal law, no funds provided to the Department under this Act may be used by the Department to endorse, approve, or sanction any curriculum designed to be used in an elementary school or secondary school.
(c) PROHIBITION ON REQUIRING FEDERAL APPROVAL OR CERTIFICATION OF STANDARDS-
(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, no State shall be required to have academic content or student academic achievement standards approved or certified by the Federal Government, in order to receive assistance under this Act.
(2) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to affect requirements under title I or part A of title VI.
(d) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION ON BUILDING STANDARDS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to mandate national school building standards for a State, local educational agency, or school.
SEC. 9529. PROHIBITION ON FEDERALLY SPONSORED TESTING.
(a) GENERAL PROHIBITION- Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law and except as provided in subsection (b), no funds provided under this Act to the Secretary or to the recipient of any award may be used to develop, pilot test, field test, implement, administer, or distribute any federally sponsored national test in reading, mathematics, or any other subject, unless specifically and explicitly authorized by law.
(b) EXCEPTIONS- Subsection (a) shall not apply to international comparative assessments developed under the authority of section 404(a)(6) of the National Education Statistics Act of 1994 and administered to only a representative sample of pupils in the United States and in foreign nations.
SEC. 9530. LIMITATIONS ON NATIONAL TESTING OR CERTIFICATION FOR TEACHERS.
(a) MANDATORY NATIONAL TESTING OR CERTIFICATION OF TEACHERS- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or any other provision of law, no funds available to the Department or otherwise available under this Act may be used for any purpose relating to a mandatory nationwide test or certification of teachers or education paraprofessionals, including any planning, development, implementation, or administration of such test or certification.
(b) PROHIBITION ON WITHHOLDING FUNDS- The Secretary is prohibited from withholding funds from any State educational agency or local educational agency if the State educational agency or local educational agency fails to adopt a specific method of teacher or paraprofessional certification.
SEC. 9531. PROHIBITION ON NATIONWIDE DATABASE.
Nothing in this Act (other than section 1308(b)) shall be construed to authorize the development of a nationwide database of personally identifiable information on individuals involved in studies or other collections of data under this Act.
Donna Garner - Wgarner1@hot.rr.com
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