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  • Morning Bell: Duncan Chose Choice ... Will He Allow You?

    After eight years under President Bush, federal spending on K-12 public education is at an all time high. The federal government currently spends $71 billion a year on K-12 programs, an increase of more than 40% from when Bush first took office. The word ‘education’ does not appear in the Constitution,and historically the federal government has a very limited role in funding and regulating public education. But all that began to change with President Johnson’s Great Society and now 40 years later the federal government provides 9% of all K-12 public education funding. Predictably, however, the increased spending has not yielded better results. Despite a trippling of federal spending since 1970, student achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, has remained relatively flat. Worse, in many of our nation’s largest cities, barely half of all children graduate high school.

    President-elect Barack Obama’s secretary of education nominee Arne Duncan has shown an encouraging willingness to make tough decisions at the local level. The Obama Administration has the historic opportunity to transform the federal role in education and, in the process, support reform at the state and local level. To evaluate whether Secretary-designate Duncan will support this transformation, Senators should keep the following questions in mind as they consider his confirmation:

    State Bailouts: Six governors have recently called on the federal government to provide a $250 billion “rescue package” for education. There is nothing temporary about these budget shortfalls. For years state government spending on education has increased well ahead of inflation. Does Duncan support a sharp increase in federal spending on education and a federal “bailout” of state and local governments, or will Duncan regulatory relief and greater flexibility as the answer?

    Tightening the Federal Role: Since the 1960s, the federal government’s approach to education has been to increase federal funding and to create new federal programs. This strategy has failed to yield significant improvement as judged by long-term measures of students’ academic achievement. In previous congressional testimony, Duncan called for reforming No Child Left Behind to grant state and local school leaders greater freedom and flexibility to innovate and implement reforms that best meet students’ needs. But Duncan has also called for a doubling in federal spending on No Child Left Behind. Does Duncan support reforming, not expanding, the federal role in education?

    Cutting Waste: The federal government’s Program Assessment Rating Tool recently identified 47 programs in the Department of Education’s budget that were ineffective, unnecessary, or duplicative. Does Duncan support reviewing the Education Department budget and terminating unnecessary programs?

    Reforming Early Childhood Programs: The Government Accountability Office reported in 2005 that there were 69 federal programs providing early childhood education and care. The largest of these programs is Head Start, which was funded at $6.9 billion in 2008 with a cost per child served of approximately $7,500. Unfortunately, the nearly $100 billion in taxpayer money used to fund the Head Start programs has had limited impact and has not delivered on the promise of significantly improving school readiness for disadvantaged children. Considering this track record, does Duncan support creating a new federal preschool program?

    Supporting Choice: Growing up in Chicago, Arne Duncan attended a private school. Growing up in Hawaii, Barack Obama attended a private school. Growing up first in Chicago, and now in Washington, Obama’s two daughters attended and will attend private schools. Across the nation, a policy debate continues over whether families should be given the ability to use their child’s share of public education funding to pick a school of choice, be it a public, private, or charter school. As education secretary, would Duncan support policies that will afford parents the same power to choose schools that the Obamas and Duncans have enjoyed?

    Recognizing the federal government’s limited authority in education, the new Administration has the opportunity to encourage greater parental choice. Federal programs like No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act can be reformed to grant state policymakers the opportunity to use federal funds to give parents the ability to choose their children’s school. Most importantly, the leaders of the new Administration should use the bully pulpit to urge lawmakers across the country to join the growing bipartisan support for school choice.

    Quick Hits:

    • Chrysler is already seeking an additional $3 billion in government aid.
    • President-elect Barack Obama is stepping up efforts to lobby Congress for approval of the remaining $350 billion of the original $700 billion TARP bailout.
    • Obama’s SEC nominee Mary Schapiro has been accused in two lawsuits of making misleading statements to quickly complete a merger of regulatory organizations after which she received a 57% raise in her pay.
    • Men are losing jobs at a higher rate than women in this recession.
    • Bolstered by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s spending boom, New York City employee wages are growing twice as fast as those of employees in the private sector.
    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    25 Responses to Morning Bell: Duncan Chose Choice ... Will He Allow You?

    1. LVKen7@Gmail.com - says:


    2. Laurie, California says:

      We need to stop this corruption. Starting with the Supreme Court to hold the hearing to demand that Obama or the hospitals provide a true and authentic birth certificate. Obama couldn't even get a job as flight attendant with his background. It is appalling that the Highest powerful position in the world is being purchased by ACORN and not verified by the SUPREME COURT. (Since no one else did verification)

      Next, we need to LOAN (not give) these bail-out money's. The spending is bringing our country to devastation. Other powerful countries have reached their doom by corruption. We need to stop this horror.

    3. tln PA says:

      In reguards to the Recession, it will be interesting to see wether or not America will have a "Miraculus Economic Recovery" after Obama's Inauguration on Jan 20th, being over 50, I've seen alot, heard alot of bull from the supposed "unbiased" news media…and we're waiting?!?

    4. Roy G Callahan says:

      Well said and thought out. What follows is a copy of an article out of the eagle forum that deals with the same subject. Parents need to understand what's going on and what this is all about.

      Public schools are the most powerful influence in directing our culture — even more influential than the media — is the arm of government known as the public schools. The public schools are guiding the morals, attitudes, knowledge and decision-making of 89% of American children. The public schools are financed by $500 billion a year of our money, forcibly taken from us in federal, state and local taxes, which the public school establishment spends under a thin veneer of accountability to school board members elected in government-run elections.

      Quo vadis? Whither are the public schools taking the next generation?

      Prior to the 1960s, public schools and teachers clearly accepted their role in defining the culture of the youngsters under their supervision. The public schools, using a McGuffey-Reader-style curriculum, were the mechanism through which American kids learned not only the basics, but also values such as honesty and patriotism, and immigrant kids assimilated by learning our language, laws and customs.

      For example, The American Citizens Handbook, published for teachers by the National Education Association in 1951, proclaimed: "It is important that people who are to live and work together shall have a common mind — a like heritage of purpose, religious ideals, love of country, beauty, and wisdom to guide and inspire them." This message was fortified in this Handbook by selections suitable for memorization, such as Old and New Testament passages, the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Golden Rule, the Boy Scout oath, and patriotic songs.

      Prior to the 1960s, public schools and teachers clearly accepted their role in defining the culture of the youngsters under their supervision. The public schools, using a McGuffey-Reader-style curriculum, were the mechanism through which American kids learned not only the basics, but also values such as honesty and patriotism, and immigrant kids assimilated by learning our language, laws and customs.

      For example, The American Citizens Handbook, published for teachers by the National Education Association in 1951, proclaimed: "It is important that people who are to live and work together shall have a common mind — a like heritage of purpose, religious ideals, love of country, beauty, and wisdom to guide and inspire them." This message was fortified in this Handbook by selections suitable for memorization, such as Old and New Testament passages, the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Golden Rule, the Boy Scout oath, and patriotic songs.

      My, how public schools and teachers unions have changed since 1951!

      The turning point in public schools came in the 1960s with the vast influence of the Humanist John Dewey and his Columbia Teachers College acolytes, who argued against objective truth, authoritative notions of good and evil, religion and tradition. Sidney Simon's 1972 book Values Clarification, which sold nearly a million copies, was widely used to teach students to "clarify" their values, i.e., cast off their parents' values and make their own moral (or immoral) choices.

      Then the public schools welcomed the Kinsey-trained sexperts to change the sexual mores of our society from favoring sex-in-marriage to diversity. Concepts of right and wrong were banished, and children were taught about varieties of sex without reference to what is moral, good, or even legal.

      Meanwhile, elementary and secondary school curricula suffered a vast dumbing down. Phonics and traditional arithmetic were censored out. Students were allowed to graduate without learning to read or calculate. While tolerating massive illiteracy, the public schools are now powerfully impacting our culture by inculcating the values of situation ethics, diversity, and the easy acceptance of sex outside of marriage. American history and literature courses now teach the doctrines of U.S. guilt and multiculturalism instead of the greatness of our heroes and successes.

      By the 1980s, the public schools were rejecting the Meyer-Pierce doctrine that parents have the fundamental right to control the upbringing of their own children. The Meyer-Pierce doctrine is described in two U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the 1920s, which we thought was settled law.1

      By the 1990s, public schools had adopted the attitude best described by Hillary Clinton: the "village" (i.e., the government) should raise the child. Public schools, backed by anti-parent resolutions adopted by the National Education Association at its annual conventions, have become fortresses in which the administrators exercise near-absolute power to determine the students' values, morals, attitudes and hopes, while parents are kept outside the barricades.

      Using activist judges to shore up their monopoly power, the schools persuaded the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court to rule in 20052 that a public school can teach students "whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise," and that parents' right to control the upbringing of their children "does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door." After heavy criticism in the U.S. House, the court tried to soften the "threshold" sentence but reaffirmed its decision.

      The meaning of "whatever" is spelled out in anti-parent, pro-public-school decisions handed down in five circuits within the last two years. Federal courts upheld the right of public schools to indoctrinate students in Muslim religion and practices,3 to force students to watch a one-hour pro-homosexual video,4 to force students to attend a program advocating homosexual conduct that used minors in sexually suggestive skits,5 to censor any mention of Intelligent Design,6 to use classroom materials that parents consider pornography,7 to force students to answer nosy questionnaires with suggestive questions about sex, drugs and suicide,8 and to deny a divorced father's right to get his son's school records.9


      1 Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) and Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925).

      2 Fields v. Palmdale School District (2005).

      3 Eklund v. Byron Union School District (2005).

      4 Boyd Gay-Straight v. Boyd Board of Education (2006).

      5 Brown v. Hot, Sexy and Safer Productions (1995).

      6 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (2005).

      7 Evans-Marshall v. Board of Education (2005).

      8 C.N. v. Ridgewood Board of Education (2005).

      9 Crowley v. McKinney (2005).

    5. su CO says:

      The purpose of today's educational system is to dumb-down the general public. The plan is succeeding wonderfully! Why change?

    6. Audrey D Anderson, V says:

      I just finished reading Ayn Rands's book ANTHEM and every American should be required to read this. It is a CHILLING view of what this nation will become, if we do not return to our Constitution and Capitalism.

    7. David Barth, Jupiter says:

      I was amazed when Obama said "I am like you. Brought up in a poor family". Like me a Great Depression baby, brought up on welfare, the only high school graduate in a family of five military veterans who got his BBA on the GI Bill and MBA going to school at night.

      Obama's private prep school, Occidental, Columbia and Harvard Law's tuition cost more than I earned my first ten years out of college in my professional live. He is nothing like me.

      I doubt very much that the Obama/Hillary Administration will allow children who grew up in my circumstances the ability to choose a private school over a public one when one considers that a major contributor to the Democrat Party is the Teachers Union among other unions.

      As I always worked after school since I was twelve years old through graduate school, I would like to know how many "real" jobs Obama ever had.

      I don't want him to fail as I fought for this country, something he failed to find time for. But, I would like it to be known, considering the media is wont to honestly cover him, where he really comes from – Privilege!!

    8. Dan, New Mexico says:

      I would think 40 years of failure to improve public education despite the overwhelming increases in spending at a federal level make it a pparent that big gevernment is not the answer. The Department of Education budget should be reduced by 2/3 and return that money to the taxpayer to "invest" locally. I'm all for school choice and using my tax dollars to send my child to a school of our choosing.

    9. Jim Medley, Seattle says:

      The real answer is to get the Federal Government out of education all together. Jefferson said education was the job of states and the churches. Up untill World War II it was accepted that the Federal Government had no legitimate role in education outside of the military schools. Our public education was the envy of the world. During the war large movements of military families created a burden on some local shcool districts and that provided the foot in the door oportunity for the feds. The more the Federal government spends on public education the worse it gets. Our system is no longer the envy of the world. The founders knew what they were doing.

    10. Duke Lynch CA says:

      Children are natural learners. The "spank" n the bottom at birth shows that a little help is needed at times. The responsibility for learning is with the parents and schools are the natural result of the community of families. Federal government and ALL unions have no place in education.

    11. Victoria Bingham - A says:

      Roy Callahan's notes should be forwarded all over this misguided, undereducated, sheep herd of a nation that went hog wild for some 'loose change' thrown into the arena of thought. Interestingly, a short study online of Fabian Socialism explains how the plan will work to destroy the United States as we know it – with a sizable portion of the mission assigned to 'educational initiatives'. Start messing up kids minds young, with very little resembling true thought, discourage discourse, encourage immorality, fail to instruct history or distort it according to the select agenda, and wind up with zombies ever ready to comply with the party lines. George Orwell knew it was only a matter of time. Welcome to the end of prosperity and peace. Without God in our culture, it won't take long now.

    12. Mike Sheahen, Hickor says:

      Throughout Obama's previous political maneuvering and manipulation for his meteoric rise, and his "Presidential" campaign, he has shown not only a dedication, however at times covert, to his megalomaniacal Socialist/Government elitist agenda, but also a matching pattern of being only too willing to ally himself with those agreeable to the Marxist/government elitist "inevitable march of history", and set out to destroy anyone who either opposes or doesn't "toe his (Leftist/Government elitist) line", and even "throw under the bus" those who are at any point inconvenient to such political expediency.

      Therefore, it is gullibly naive at best, or, at worst, willingly blind, to even hope for anything different from those whom a Leftist/Government elitist Obama "appoints" and/or "nominates" and a Congress, equally dedicated to a Leftist/Government elitist agenda, will most probably "confirm" or otherwise "work with" accordingly.

      In short, "We the People" should know better than to hope for anything better from a Leftist/government elitist Obama, a Congress more "allied" than "unallied" with him, and those who know they had better actually "toe the (Leftist/government elitist) line" if they have any hope of being a part of his administration.

    13. Fred, Texas says:

      I have read that only 18% of the 8th graders in the Chicago public school system can read at the 8th grade level. This a direct result of Arne Duncan's adminstration of the schools.

      How can I verify if this is true? If it is, why aren't we reading about this or hearing more about this on various new outlets?

    14. Ireland says:

      Who knew that the slogan "Change you can believe in" meant corruption you can accept. Add two more scandals to the Obama appointees, Mary Schirpo and John O. Brennan. When will it stop. The left complained about the vetting process of Sarah Palin, but I'm starting to think no vetting was done by the current crop of liberal appointees. Why do we keep electing the political and corrupt imbecile from both parties?

    15. Cal, Virginia says:

      The purpose of government sponsored education is to indoctrinate the citizens to believe that all government is good and that government is always good for you. We will never hear that put forth as the objective, but the proof is in the state of education throughout the nation today. It is also confirmed by the fact that every problem that arises is met with "the government ought to do something about that." The average citizen today believes that the government is responsible for regulating their salary, health care, retirement, mortgage payments, how they express themselves,their personal safety, what type of automobile they should drive, and on and on. The Department of Education is accomplishing what the left wing intends-dependence on government.

    16. Barb -mn says:

      LVKen7@Gmail.com – Las Vegas writes: WHY DOES THE HF, RUSH, AND HANNITY WANT OBAMA TO FAIL?

      Nobody patriotic to this country wants to see the one leading it fail. Nor do they want the one leading it to cause it to fail.

      Do you pay attention to Mr.Obama LVKen7? He isn't patriotic. he and his wife have noted their distaste for America and her principles. They give no regard to the remarkable accomplishments this country has achieved. He's called this country RACIST and yet turns to the audience to remind them "oh, by the way, I'm black." Obama is expanding the government for his own purposes of "change" from democracy to socialism. As he insists "weakness" of the people of this country and therefore in need of more government just to GAIN MORE GOVERNMENT CONTROL. Less government equals more freedom. Let people live for themselves at their own will and in freedom.

      We believe in Freedom, Liberty, Independence and the pursuit of happiness, equal rights under the common good of mankind.

      As we continue to lose what we had and without the government encouraging these basic principles of America we won't have what we were brought up to believe in America.

    17. Dennis A Social Circ says:

      Education is the key to being sucessful in life. The schools are failing in this respect, but ist it the parents fault or the school system. I think it belongs to both, the parents are not involved with their children and the learning process, and the teachers do not teach. Our teachers have been treated special for decades, price breaks on health insurance, pay increases while other state employes were give nothing or a reduced increase. Special retirement plan a guaranteed increase in retirement pay, excluded from drug testing, "violation of their privacy" but not other public employees. When will we stop throwing good money after bad.We need discipline in our schools, the kids need to sit and listen in class. I was told when in school, "I can not make you learn, but you will be quiet so others can". I think it was good advise.

    18. Ernie Kurtock Swan R says:

      There is nothing new under the sun as depicted by our audacious Congress….

      "If it needs fixin, throw money @ it"!

      Education and learning go hand in hand; not hand outs that reward mediocrity….

    19. mike hutchings texas says:


    20. ella quinn kinsto says:

      Hannity does not want obama to fail. He just does not agree with him. Hannity is a good man. He is a true conservative like i am.

    21. Barb -mn says:

      Thank you, ella quinn kinston. LVKen7 and the distortion of LVKen7's mentality adamantly proves Kool-aid has been drunk and LVKen7 just can't seem to think beyond his narrow mind to openly see or hear all the angles, threats, intimidations that will result in the destruction of this nation.

    22. LVKen7@Gmail.com - says:

      To: Barb


      I started a Google Doc

      The document is publicly viewable at:

      Ihat has MY replies to YOUR reply

      Please look at it

      and send me an email


    23. Mark Felz South Pla says:

      Federal funding of education does not improve test scores, or quality of education. Close down the DOE in Washington

    24. DDS, US says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with Roy G. Callahan's post. School choice is the only avenue if parents want their children to be treated fairly. But, now that Obama has sided with the teachers' union throughout his campaign, how will he ever be able to enforce school choice? Will our nation continue to be a free for all for those with liberal views to the detriment of our children? Will only a select few, primarily politicans who can afford it, be able to have school choice for their children? I cannot forsee our nation progressing for the good of our children with the unions in control.

    25. Rob, New York says:

      As a resident of New York City and a military member its hard to express my complete disappointmnet with the public school system (PS 321 in particular) and the government regulations that created this mess including the nonsensical dimwits of the teacher's unions that govern this corrupt system in NYC. The final straw for my wife and I was when my son's teacher informed us that PS 321 progam was geared to educate girls and NOT boys. His teacher's obvious bias was not only reflected in her general poor attitude but was echoed by the PS 321 administration as well right up to the level of principal. My son is now in private school and has made dramatic improvements in his language and math skills. As a dedicated father I caution all parents of to be wary of the teachers unions and their war on white male children.

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