Friday, February 19, 2010

Report on Race to the Top

A friend at sent me a report on a meeting about Missouri state sovereignty, Race to the Top (RTTT), and the Governor's Council. I've excerpted only the part about Race to the Top:
Kasey Brzycki followed Senator Lembcke's presentation. [Kasey] is the Education Advisor for the Missouri Sovereignty Project and you can find more information about Kasey and the Project here. Kasey became increasingly disturbed about what she read in the 15 page Executive Summary and the subsequent 300 page RACE TO THE TOP application. When you read these documents, pay attention to what this document states. It will allow the wresting of local school board control, unfunded federal mandates, and the underlying premise of this document...Cass Sunstein's assertion (page 10 of the application) that we, as a state, "need to be nudged" to provide excellent education (the theme of the Federal Government) This is an attempt to take away our local power in our schools. Education decisions will be made on a "consortium" level, NOT on your local level. School boards will, in effect, become obsolete.

This document was first given to school boards, superintendents, and teacher union representatives in November 2009. The 300 page document was not yet available, just the 15 page executive summary. By the time the deadline approached on January 19, 2010, the 300 page document was ready, but it is not specific on how these programs are to be implemented, nor how they are to be funded. School districts were pressured into signing because if they did not sign, they would not be considered for these funds. The second round of signatures are due in MARCH 2010. Time is of the essence. Call your school district TODAY. As 99% of Missouri school districts signed on to be considered for these funds, chances are YOUR school district is part of this group.

Folks, this is a 300 page report that not ONCE refers to parents. This is a document that talks about our students as human capital, and our society as social capital. If nothing else in this document gives you pause, these chilling sentences should create concern. Our society is based on "we the people". Our children and we DO NOT serve a consortium of states or a government. People are not commodities to serve the government, the government was developed to serve the people.

The document also refers to the redistribution of teachers. This means highly effective teachers can be transferred to lower performing classrooms to even out the testing results of classrooms. Teachers, YOU ARE NOT PROTECTED BY YOUR UNION. YOUR STATE UNION REPRESENTATIVE SIGNED ON TO THIS DOCUMENT through the local school board levels.

So, what are we to do now? Good question. We are contacting the MO Sovereignty Project for advice, talking amongst our townships, trying to figure out our next step. The first step is educating yourself. I believe our readers do not need a "nudge" to find out what this mandate means for our children and giving away our sovereignty. We can figure out what is happening behind the scenes. We are not stakeholders. We are citizens who are concerned about this push toward federalization of our programs. You need to call your School District today. You need to ask them if it signed on to this document and why. Call your legislator. Call the State Board of Education. Call the governor. Tell your neighbors. This is akin to the ramming through of the health reform bill. Secrecy, vagueness, and sense of "crisis". As 93% of Missouri school districts are performing well, perhaps we should focus on the 7% of the districts which are struggling.

If you missed Kasey's presentation, she will be speaking on this issue again on Wednesday, February 24, 7PM at the Kisker Library in St. Charles. Address: 1000 Kisker Road.
I haven't followed the RTTT issue closely. I've gotten about a dozen emails about it—everyone intent on stopping it. That's fine, I just think there's a better strategy. Working to stop RTTT is a defensive move against Leviathan, but we need to attack, attack, attack. We can't let the left define the battle space. In early January, I sketched a strategy in a post about my Vision for the New School. Here's the key point of that post:
Sooner or later someone is going to upload a complete high school curriculum to YouTube. Perhaps someone has. They'll build a website that supplements the video material with an open source textbook, homework, readings, and testing—a virtual learning environment... Over time, the best video lectures on a subject will be remixed together to produce an even better educational experience. New material will be integrated as it is created and unaccredited school districts will replace their teachers with bouncers to maintain order during the video lecture. Homeschoolers will have an Internet based educational alternative—one that might be configured to help them avoid incarceration in backward states like Maryland. Families will work with like minded religious institutions to create al a carte educational curricula that meet their shared academic, civic, and religious priorities. Churches, synagogues, and mosques around the country will become venues for education, just as they once were hundreds of years ago. School boards will set grade appropriate testing requirements in academic fields (including civics) that meet the needs and demands of the local community, but the curriculum will be crowdsourced by those that choose to contribute content to this educational approach.
Imagine a completely transparent educational system. Now consider the impact this could have on public employee pension plans. Dreamy, isn't it?

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