Follow Obama’s/Duncan’s North Star to Educational Disaster via Common Core

This is a guest post from Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog:

From a reader via an on line educational group and reprinted with permission:
When I received the picture (above), I did not think it appropriate to send to our education network group.  I ended up deciding to send it anyway—it is appropriate.  No matter where you stand politically, there are some interesting quotes used in this picture.  The one that really got my attention is the Duncan quote, “The North Star guiding the alignment of our cradle-to-career education agenda is President Obama’s goal…”  
 
It brought Marc Tucker’s cradle to grave agenda to mind.  This quote piqued my interest enough to search for it in context.  I had seen the quote before but not where it came from.  My search yielded a scary find….

It is worth your time to read this Duncan September 2010 speech in its entirety.  It is scarier than just the cradle-to-career quote.  I will pull some quotes out and present them here.  When you read the speech for yourself, you may find other quotes that jump out at you.  These are the ones that jumped out at me.

 The four assurances got their name from the requirement that each governor in the 50 states had to provide an “assurance” they would pursue reforms in these four areas, in exchange for their share of $49 billion in a Recovery Act program designed to largely stem job loss among teachers and principals.
 In my eyes, this is an admission of bribery.
 The second assurance governors provided was in the area of data systems. The department has supported states and provided several hundred million dollars to build longitudinal data systems that measure student progress over time. More robust state data systems and a new generation of assessments can assist teachers and principals to improve their practices and tailor their instruction to students in ways that were largely unthinkable in the past.
Duncan clearly ties the longitudinal data systems to the assessments.  Since the assessments are directly related to the Cash Cow State Standards, it is not a leap of faith to make the connection between the CCSS and the data systems, it is a logical deduction.
Traditionally, the federal government in the United States has had a limited role in education policy.
He neglects to say why and does not acknowledge the constitution (which he and many others like to ignore).
 We have sought to fundamentally shift the federal role so that the Department is playing a greater role in supporting reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities across the nation.
This statement along with this one…
We are similarly overhauling the way the department provides technical assistance, so that it focuses on helping states build the capacity to implement programs successfully—instead of focusing on compliance monitoring, as we have done in the past. I said earlier that the United States now has an unprecedented opportunity to transform education in ways that will resonate for decades to come.
give indication that the department will now be directing states on how and what to implement. The Obama administration’s transformation of education will resonate for decades to come.  I only hope we can recover from the disharmonious resonation ironically brought about by the Recovery Act ($98 billion worth).
In the end, transforming education is not just about raising expectations. It has to be about creating greater capacity at all levels of the system to implement reform. It has to be about results. And that is one reason why Sir Michael Barber’s book, Instruction to Deliver, is so valuable.
Another network member has been putting Barber’s name in front of us.  He was brought to my attention more than a year ago.  His involvement and influence is becoming more evident.  Has he been directly involved as an architect of ed reform in this country or only having an indirect influence on it?
But we are committed to establishing a different relationship with states–one more focused on providing tailored support to improve program outcomes.
Interpretation:  We are committed to establishing a controlling relationship with the states—one more focused on providing tailored support for implementing policies and practices desired by the federal government without regard for evidence of effectiveness.  (as might be used the the federal government, desired is simply a nicer way of saying required…  much like voluntary means the same as required in federal speak).
I thought it was bad in 2004, when Sec. of Education Rod Paige called the teachers’ union a “terrorist organization” and in my eyes, by extension dubbed all teachers as terrorists.  While I was outraged at the time, I now see it as a mild insult relative to the action that goes beyond the words of Arne Duncan.  Duncan’s (and the Obama administration’s) actions are more than an insult to teachers…his actions will directly have a negative impact on the lives and livelihood of all students and the freedom and liberty of every American.
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This Duncan quote caught my eye regarding the “transformation of education”:
Transformational reform especially takes time in the United States, which has more than 100,000 public schools, 49 million K-12 students, more than three million teachers, and 13,800 school districts–all of it largely administered and funded by local governments. Systemic change, in short, takes time.

The Constitution gives the power to the states for the administration and funding of education.  The Federal government does not have this power.  Would politicians remind Arne Duncan that the systemic change he and Obama crave is illegal?  Have all the politicians on the local, state and national levels forgotten the Federal government has no right to this power?

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