It's difficult to explain to people what's happening in American education. It's multi-layered and it's imperative to take the time to research what has happened in American public education since the Department of Education was established. The most telling bit of information about the DOE may just be that in four decades, educational spending has increased 190% and the test scores have flatlined. The investment on taxpayer money is just a bit underwhelming and the taxpayer might want to start questioning why the Federal Government is driving education when it clearly is not providing results from its "leadership". (And the fact that it is clearly unconstitutional).
The transformation from local control to state control to federal control is just about complete. This transformation has occurred in many instances without a single vote in state legislatures. How can this happen?
Missouri has a blueprint for education, Educated Citizenry 2020 that took two years to craft and is the plan for educational services and mandates in the state. We've written how they mirror the goals of Race to the Top...the ideas have just been renamed since the senators and representatives hate RTTT. However, not much noise was made this year in Jefferson City about Educated Citizenry. In fact, one senator has stated EC2020 is just "gathering dust on the shelf".
That seemed strange to us. Missouri taxpayers paid for a plan that took 2 years to finish and it's gathering dust on the shelf? Maybe that is not an accurate statement. Even though the goals of this plan were not passed in this legislative session, it's interesting that some of the goals (many were in Race to the Top requirements) will be realized through federal grants and mandates, appointed officials and court decisions:
- The turnaround model of schools will be realized in Missouri with a $9 Million Federal School Improvement Grant...no legislative action needed
- Open enrollment may be coming soon to a Missouri accredited district per a Missouri Supreme Court decision
- RTTT competition has just been announced for Pre-kindergarten which would necessitate the expansion of universal pre-school and kindergarten in school districts
- Common Core standards were signed onto by the appointed State School Board members, bypassing the legislature
- A $9 Million Federal grant was given to the state to upgrade the Longitudinal Data System necessary to implement the common core mandates
The first part of this is irksome in large part because many congressional GOP members — the people who are supposed to be reining in unconstitutional, out-of-control federal adventuring — voted for the continuing resolution containing this expansion of the simultaneously worthless but dictatorial Race to the Top. The potential rewards for winning states are much smaller than the first go-round — $10 million to $50 million, versus $20 million to $700 million — so the bribery might be less powerful. But it is unconstitutional, politically charged bribery nonetheless, and it most certainly did not need to happen. No one, as far as I know, was clamoring for it, except maybe for a few people in the Obama administration.
Change the scenario to the state level and you can understand what's happening in the Missouri educational system: "It is unconstitutional, politically charged bribery nonetheless, and it most certainly did not need to happen. No one, as far as I know, was clamoring for it, except maybe for a few people in the Obama administration."
Until the politicians can explain why they are:
- allowing the common core standards to be implemented,
- accepting Federal grants that circumvent the legislative process,
- sign onto plans such as Educated Citizenry 2020 that mirror Race to the Top goals
- refuse to implement state laws protecting student and family privacy to circumvent the invasive Personally Identifiable Information to be gathered by the DOE;
That this new RTTT exists — and made it through a GOP-majority House – sure isn’t a good sign for things to come, either in education or beyond.
If a national or state politician states that he/she is for less spending and local control, he/she needs to prove it to the voters. The talk won't cut it anymore. We have your record, voting history and list of action and/or inaction. So, in the run-up to the 2012 election, those voters interested in education and the current landscape we find ourselves in would like for you to ponder these concerns voters may have in the next few months:
- If you are addicted to Federal money, tell us.
- If you believe centralized education is preferable, tell us.
- If you are unable to stand up to a State School Board that gives up control of state educational standards and pursues RTTT money, tell us.
- If you want universal pre-school and want children to be mandated to start school in pre-school, tell us.
- If you believe invasive personal information on students and families should be shared with various agencies and private organizations for their purposes and you believe this will help in the educational process of the child, tell us.
- If you are not willing to address the power of the legislature to stop the implementation of common core standards and the expansion of the longitudinal data system, tell us.
- If you think charter schools operating under the same mandates as public schools is real reform, tell us.
- If you think mandating spending more and more money that we don't have will improve education, tell us.
- If you believe the expansion of No Child Left Behind will truly reform education, tell us.
- If you believe the Federal Government should be mandating how educational services are delivered and agree that local districts should have little to no voice in educating of Missouri children, tell us.