by Jim Mullen
Despite its lack of constitutional authority, the federal government relentlessly treads on the educational system with one giant bureaucratic boot after another.
The very essence of every federal program is to encourage dependency, dissuade initiative, stifle competition, and raise prices. Additionally, they appoint panels, boards, and ruling commissions to regulate liberty into submission. Innovation and flexibility fall victim to one giant bureaucracy after another and they insert themselves into every cranny and crevice of American life. Justifying their existence requires formulating more rules, regulations, paperwork, and demanding more money. Politicians calculate and design everything to establish a self-perpetuating monster that drives enterprising thought and action into a progressive hell-on-earth.
Just as every other federal interference, takeover, or “comprehensive” legislation has failed, Washington-style education reforms have, likewise, failed miserably.
Acronyms by the thousands and volumes of complicated legalese or “government-speak” permeate the U.S. Department of Education. In what can only be described as deliberate obfuscation the department works feverously to make prying eyes bleed and inquiring minds turn to pulp at any attempt to decipher their leftwing, progressive gibberish.
Over the last several decades, progressives’ call for education reform centered around their desire to federalize the system and disembowel state and local constitutional authority. The driving force behind the leftists’ effort has involved throwing federal tax dollars at states and local school districts. This largesse accompanied disinformation and coded ideological claptrap formulated to open the arms of educators, politicians, and bureaucrats to embrace and accept any condition or program for “free” money.
Every new federal “program” including “No Child Left Behind” resulted in the same outcome; lower test scores, more dependency, billions of dollars wasted, and another generation trapped in an ever-expanding cycle of poverty, ignorance, and indoctrination.
The latest, and perhaps the most bizarre and diabolical of all federal takeovers of education has a most unassuming and non-threatening title of “Common Core State Standards Initiative” (CCSSI). Once implemented, the federal government will control assessment tools, textbooks, and computer programming used in education. A national data collection system called State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) will work in tandem with Common Core to determine a child’s educational opportunities.
All school-choice programs will quickly turn into federally approved programs, and the educational system will, in all practicality, be federalized. In other words, centralized in Washington, DC where great schemes hatch and monumental malfeasance and breathtaking failures grow like weeds in rich bureaucratic meadows.
Once touted as “international bench-marked,” Common Core standards focus on changing the social and political values of American children. They are rooted in standards shaped by United Nation treaties and beliefs of the UN universal Declaration of Human Rights. Few goals address academics; math standards actually lower expectations.
The national data collection system (SLDS) will follow a child from Kindergarten to adulthood. IQ scores, test scores, disciplinary, and medical records are just a few of the data with which students’ educational and job opportunities will be afforded. Over 400 data points collected by schools and teachers will include personal, financial, and family information.
Thanks to the weakening by the Obama administration of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) these data can be shared. Hundreds of data points on every student will be given or sold to outside corporations, researchers, and government. This is a tracking and informational system of Orwellian proportions never imagined even by Soviet Bloc nations.
As Libertywatch.org/ explains, “The attitude is that all of this data on our children belongs to the government, and if we, their benighted parents scream and beg, maybe they will protect it or say they are going to do so. The questions never get asked, “Why are you collecting so much data on our children without consent?” and “By what authority do you do so?”
When these systems are in place, every student in every educational setting must meet federal standards. Textbooks are being written that meet the goals of CCSS. The government is funding organizations that create testing tools to assess student’s progress in accepting the social and political ideologies being taught in the classroom. The expected implementation date of CCSS is within the next two to three years.
Stealthily, and without public or legislative notice, this initiative, usurping state and local control of school curriculum passed in 46 states and began in 2009. The Common Core Standards Initiative sets curriculum in every participating state at the same level. States, by adopting this “common core,” are relinquishing their constitutionally guaranteed right to control education.
This clandestine project bypassed the state and federal legislative processes and went unnoticed and unreported to Congress and state legislators. State boards of education bureaucracies approved most of the measures. Not surprisingly, promises of billions of dollars from the federal government and from liberal, private foundations, seduced the boards. Amazingly, they signed on to the Standards before they were even written.
The National Governor’s Association and the Chief Council of State School Officers signed-off on CCSS and gave the appearance that they were state-led, but make no mistake; the federal government leads and drives Common Core.
The Obama administration poured billions of dollars into the bribes for states from “Stimulus” money, “No Child Left Behind” wavers (the unfunded mandate from the Bush-era), more Title I funding, and Race to the Top inducements.
States and local boards are depending on a windfall of federal tax money in exchange for their capitulation. Once fully implemented, that pledge for support will collapse like all political and bureaucratic promises that end as unfunded mandates. Funding and cost information on this boondoggle are being kept under the same rug where Obamacare, and every other federal government failures were swept.
Most states are now rife with grass-roots organizations fighting this most vile federal invasion that violates three federal education laws: the General Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. As we have learned, obeying the law is unimportant to government; control is everything.
Loss of dignity comes largely from an educational system that indoctrinates, not educates, and is responsible for the lack of free spirit and determination, and low expectations sweeping our nation. From age 4 through graduate schools, the system teaches dependency and that government is there to take care of everyone’s needs. Gaining common sense and wisdom from an education became lost in the fog of liberal ideology.
When one understands the federal government’s penchant for, and indeed, their record of, heavy-handed control and underperforming results, one can see this Common Core thrust is but the initial salvo for complete and total domination of education at every level. Government never raises the bar for performance or results; rather it lowers everything and everyone to the lowest common denominator. In this case, it’s the lowest “Common Core” standards to which our youth will be subjected, and by which they will be judged.
Just one absurd example of the lowest common denominator is that literary works like the classics draw dust; replaced by informational texts. Two recommended spellbinding reads are “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag,” and “Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas.”
Disinformation and subterfuge are the means by which government expands oppression. States around this nation are in a life-struggle to bare the truth about this federal government’s oppressive invasion. In weeks to come Americans must join local, state, and national groups engaging in opposition to this outrage. Be prepared for the progressives to launch their usual barrage using Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” to lie, ridicule, and intimidate.
One must, likewise, remember that progressives use the current deplorable state of our educational system as justification for nationalization. What they will not say, however, is that the progressive movement is responsible for nearly every disastrous problem found in the US educational system. Every crisis to a liberal is an opportunity for a never-ending cycle of more government power, which exacerbates one disaster by creating another.
Tyranny lurks in the shadows of government like deadly predators lying in wait for their prey. The weak, unprepared, untrained, and the lazy, are the first to fall. Allowing the federal government at the throats of our young people is to disallow children the opportunity to know the unique American experience of liberty in a freewill republic. Our youth must learn that there is more to the American dream than living a comfortable, monotone existence with a lifetime of dependency upon government.
Jim Mullen is a Contributing Writer to The Bold Pursuit