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  • Morning Bell: Time to Stand Up to the National Standards Agenda

    Last year, GM CEO Rick Wagoner “voluntarily” stepped aside when Washington took over his company. BP is “voluntarily” setting up a $20 billion escrow account. And now, states are being pushed to “voluntarily” adopt national education standards and tests.

    It all began when the Obama administration used its $4.35 billion Race to the Top competitive grant fund as an incentive for states to adopt standards under development by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (one of the “education blob” groups that protects the status quo against parent-empowering reforms). Initially, the competition was enough of an incentive to get 48 states – all but Alaska and Texas – to go along with the idea of national standards. Alaska and Texas chose not to apply for Race to the Top funding because of the provision requiring adoption of national standards. Texas Gov. Rick Perry stated that the Obama administration’s requirement that states adopt national standards “is an effort to undermine states’ authority to determine how their students are educated, and is clearly aimed at circumventing laws prohibiting national standards.”

    Now other states are expressing concerns as well. Two more states – Minnesota and Virginia – have decided not to take part. Both Minnesota and Virginia argue that their state standards are stronger than the proposed national standards supported with federal dollars.

    But if the Obama administration has its way, states might not have a choice in the matter. The U.S. Education Department recently released a “blueprint” for reauthorizing No Child Left Behind. The blueprint language indicates the administration will try to tie $14.5 billion in money for low-income school districts to a state’s adoption of national standards.

    While it was one thing for states such as Texas to eschew $4.35 billion in Race to the Top money, it will be nearly impossible for states to turn down their share of $14.5 billion in Title I funding. “Voluntary” once again rings hollow.

    Proponents tout national standards and tests as a way to improve academic achievement. For half a century, the federal government’s role in education has continued to increase significantly with no positive impact on student learning. Yet, national standards proponents see this new federal role in standards and testing as the answer. But proponents are wrong to conclude national standards would improve American education. Here’s why:

    Misconception #1: National standards are necessary so parents can understand how their children compare with other children across the country. The information parents need is already available. State tests let parents know how well their children have mastered the curriculum. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, currently administered to samples of students in each state, provides an external audit of state tests. If transparency about that data has been insufficient, it does not merit a national standards and testing regime. It calls for better transparency and accountability to parents.

    Misconception #2: National standards would make American students more competitive with their international peers. While it’s true that many of the countries that outperform the United States on international tests have national standards, so do most of the countries that score lower than the United States. Even when it comes to state standards, the relationship between academic performance and the quality of those standards is inconsistent.

    Misconception #3: National standards are necessary because state standards vary in quality. While it’s true that some state standards are better than others, the same pressures that drive down state standards would likely plague national standards. For that reason, national standards will tend to decline toward the average among states, undercutting states with higher standards, such as Massachusetts. Ultimately, the goal of uniformity would result in the standardization of mediocrity.

    National standards would also further remove parents from their children’s education. Instead of being able to petition their local school boards or state leaders for changes in academic content, parents would have to lobby bureaucrats in Washington, DC, if they wish to see changes in what their child is learning.

    This is perhaps the most worrisome part of the shift toward national standards. If imposed, parents and taxpayers will no longer be able to retain one of their most significant tools for education reform: the power to shape their schools’ academic content, standards, and testing.

    Instead of moving toward a system of rigid national standards, which would represent an unprecedented federal overreach into education, states should empower parents with information about school performance and increase transparency about academic achievement. And ultimately, parents should be able to use that information to choose a school that meets their child’s needs. We know what works in education, and it begins and ends with parents–not the federal government.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    70 Responses to Morning Bell: Time to Stand Up to the National Standards Agenda

    1. jill -Maine says:

      Dumb down America, make us all broke paying for this crap, starve us to death, and then they can completely take over. Bye Bye America

    2. Drew Edwards, Florid says:

      Good article, but only a small percent of our public school students are proficient in math, science, reading compreshension compard to generations past. Comparisons with other countires are important but comparing against past performance is critical to understanding weaknesses in our system, teachers, etc…

      We are raising the most unsupervised and poorly educated generation in the last 100 years.

      Thanks again for your insights and commentary

    3. A. Scott says:

      More blackmail…how sad.

    4. Barry S says:

      I sur wish the nashunal standrds wud be standrdised. I no I cud spel bettr and be abel to think bettr. I mite evin be abel to run for Prezdent!

    5. West Texan says:

      Governor Perry made the right choice by refusing Obama's extortionist race to the top grant. Chicago style politics may work in collectivist DC but not with independent minded Texans. That said, we do have our socialist minded element. Fortunately for our state's freedoms and prosperity the leftist remain a disillusioned minority.

    6. bjoc, florida says:

      The Regents exam in NYS was and is a Statewide standard. If all 49 other states adopted it – why would that standard be so bad. Think of those states that would be brought up to that standard.

    7. MJF, CT says:

      Again I ask, why do we have a Federal Education Department? This is covered by the States and again by the Cities, Towns and Counties, why is it necessary for the Federal government to be involved with education?

      Imposing a National standard will not advance education because we all know that the "bar" will be no higher than the lowest scoring State. That will bring the standard down across the Country. Of course the Left will not agree with this until we look at what will happen if the "bar" is placed too high. If that happens, all of the "underprivileged" systems will file a suit with the Federal Education Dept and the ACLU will say that this is a violation of someone's rights. Face it, Mr. Obama and the rest of the Washington DC dullards just want us to be dumber than they are!

    8. Beverly Barnum San A says:

      Would it be possible for each of the 50 states to succeed from the Union and when the US Government has no citizens of its own, to re-found themselves under the original constitution, leaving Obama and his minions out in the cold?

    9. Don, Texas says:

      This is clearly an attempt by this administration to tie up our young peoples minds and finish the job they have been working so hard to accomplish for the last several decades. It must be stopped. We don't need another N. Korea………..especially in America. This is outrageous! Our freedom of choice must be defended………at ALL cost.

    10. Bob H. Syosset N.Y. says:

      When are the people going to wake up to the fact that government should serve the people NOT people serve the government.

    11. Johnny Hiott , State says:

      This is nothing less than another federal grab at states rights. It's intention is nothing less than to give the federal govt. more abilities to indoctrinate our children into being mindless non reasoning slaves of government. Knowledge is power. Brainwash the children with falsehoods of American history , teach the children that America is and has been an evil empire , teach them that illegal immigration is o.k. , that everyones wealth belongs to those that refuse to work. Create a third world nation of slaves. All Americans should demand the dismantling of the dept. of education and return ALL education responsiblilties to the local levels with only states oversight and very little of that. Ban the federal govt. from education. It has no legal premise to be involved in it at all.

    12. John Roane Sarasota, says:

      If we are having the federal government decide what the standards for all state schools let’s remove all state and local school boards for with this national standard they serve no purpose and are only an additional cost to tax payers.

      Wow, that sounds so good why stop their lets get rid of all the duplication of effort and expense. Let's remove all state governors and legislators. Think everything run for a central point will lower cost and give uniformity to schools, traffic laws and social programs. There isn’t any sane reason to have these entire little chiefdoms just one big dictator.

      That is where we are headed

    13. bigdave ocala fl says:

      Very strange how a man who NEVER HAD A REAL JOB in his life has created the LARGEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD which also has the LARGEST PAYROLL IN THE WORLD! This company makes NOTHING, sells NOTHING, actually GIVES AWAY BILLIONS OF CITIZEN'S CONFISCATED MONEY TO COUNTRIES WHO DON'T APPRECIATE IT, the KEY WORD is GIVE rather than LOAN(!). A company which PAYS IMMIGRANTS(for votes!) from its country's SOCIAL SECURITY PROGRAM which was PROMISED to those who PAID INTO IT, but they have GIVEN AWAY ALL THE MONEY so NONE IS LEFT! A company which GREW FASTER than any in history handing out HIGH PAYING JOBS LIKE CANDY to UNQUALIFIED people. This "company" is OBAMA's US GOVERNMENT! A government which REFUSES TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS AND BORDERS in favor of illegal alien VOTES!!!!! A government which PROTECTS THE LAWBREAKERS over its CITIZENS! A country which IGNORES THE REAL THREAT, ISLAMIC FANATICS, because its president was raised a muslim in Indonesia! A government which PUNISHES THE ACHIEVERS and REWARDS THOSE WHO JUST "EXIST"! A government which is working feverishly behind our backs to pass policies which will enslave us all, and they do it with the blessing of HOLLYWOOD and the NEWS MEDIA which does not read history and understand "they are NEXT! Thanks a lot DEAF, DUMB and BLIND VOTERS!

    14. Keith says:

      As a retired teacher, get the federal government out of education. Some state governments are bad enough. Too many educational "experts" are people who couldn't make it in the classroom, or went on to the colleges to teach people how to teach.

      Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education. Education hasn't gotten worse since that time. I saw it, I was there. If the Department of Education were a business, it would have been bankrupt long ago.

      The Left has taken over public education by people with an "agenda". Too much indoctrination, not enough education.

    15. Pamela, Tampa, FL says:

      My initial concern was not the idea of standards, but exactly who would be making these decisions about what our children need to learn and do they have an agenda?

      Through some rather strange circumstances, I found that there "just happens" to be a company the has already put together a curriculum specifically for such standards and has been aggressively pushing their products into the schools. As I researched further, the founder calls himself "socially liberal but educationally conservative". However, upon further scouring, I found that the foundations he works for and the people he is affiliated with are extremely "progressive" and several have direct ties to the UN committees on global education.

      It appears that they are positioning themselves to be able to step into the place of being able to provide everything from curriculum to lesson planning to teacher support and progress tracking. An easy answer to the new demands that would be placed on the schools. Convenient and suspicious.

      Now, I must say, that the curriculum I was able to view seemed unobjectionable and actually rather appealing. But the thought that keeps gnawing at me is something that my grandfather used to say: " Don't let them get their foot in the door". Having read several papers and publications from the founder of this group, I can't help but pause and really consider that statement.

    16. Gary Alaska/Nevada says:

      Kids need to know that life is competition, the harder they work the further they will go. Today, "they" are made to feel ashamed if they outperform another, that they are insensitive, arrogant, probably will grow up to be Constitutional Conservaives, proud of American exceptionalism. Schools need to be performance based. The high acheivers should be seperated from the punks, so they won't be shaken down for their lunch money, or threaten because they are proud of a brief case, or good grades, or speaking intelligent English. Leave plenty of pathways for the punks to change, to become achievers, and, in life, it's totally up to them. Now, kids are taught that because they breath they are deserving of the acheiments of others.

    17. Richlie Naples fl says:

      It is unfortunate that the government has been blackmailing the states for a long time. This is an

      outrage that the federal government wants to run the schools systems for the whole country. Each

      state and district is different and to take the parents out of the equation is wrong. This is just another way of socialism in American. It just shows that the government does not think about

      American people but only about there own power.

    18. Frank Martin, Radcli says:

      I have grow very weary of all these so called fixes throwing money at the

      Education System. It is just another bottomless pit, with NO tangible results. Our Education System needs to be scrapped. Stop it dead in it's tracks for 3 months. Then let the parents pressure whoever in their state

      to solicit contractual firms to bid on providing however many schools are necessary, staff it with qualified teachers, let the teachers teach without outside interference. In developing the contract, establish a standard for each child to achieve before moving on to the next grade. Parents would pay a fee for their child's education equal to anticipated costs. If the child fails to achieve the established standard, the parents would be counseled

      and make the decision to drop the child, try another school system, or pay for a return trip to the same school in the hopes the child would achieve the required standard. Contractors could unquestionably do the job cheaper, and the American taxpayer would not see such an inordinate amount of his tax money going down that bottomless pit without realizing any tangible results.

    19. John Walker says:

      As a retired Texas public school teacher who taught from 1961-2002 I couldn't agree with this article more. Governor Perry is to be commended for his stand on this matter, even if it is politically popular thing to do in Texas.

      Most Texans I know resent having to relinquish so much control of their public schools to the state government, let alone to the Feds. The schools already have quite enough government mandated mediocrity and BS forced upon them, thank you.

    20. Dan Haigh, Sanford, says:

      This article is dead on! The big government leftists really couldn't care less regarding the success or failure of our students. What they DO care about is the continuing increase in power and size of our already oversize federal government. Both President Reagan and Senator Bob Dole called for the dissolution of the Federal Department of Education. However, neither was successful, most probably because of the overwhelming size of the Teacher Union lobby.

      It's time for American patriots to rally around this cause in numbers that will overwhelm the leftist lobbyists and finally will return the education of our children to the individual states, and the parents who populate those states.

      2010 is the time to act, with our November votes as well as with our grassroots activism. The dissolution of the Federal Department of Education should be a primary plank in the platform of every grassroots patriot group, as well as being a primary plank in ANY conservative political party.

    21. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      "National Standards Agenda"???

      Does that mean the HF will

      WORK WITH THE PREZ

      TO DO GOOD THINGS FOR ALL AMERICAN'S?

      HOPE SO.

      LVKen7@Gmail.com

    22. William Downey, JD L says:

      When my children were in public school I served on several school department parent groups. One of the most important things that I learned from this involvement was the critical need for parents to be involved in the learning process. This included encouraging kids to read, to participate and to complete assignments on time. Basically the same things that my parents did when I was growing up. But also the need for parent involvement in school activities, both educational and extra ciricular.

      Over the last few years we have seen decline in parental invlovement, as schools move toward standards that teach to the test. A practice that does not encourage outside learning by the student or even parent invovlement.

      National standards are not the answer. Our system of education was designed to be controlled locally not from DC. The only reason governors are willing to look at national standards is the hope to remove education costs from their budgets and transfer the responsibility to the federal level, Well the federal government cannot afford it, schools and students would still not have the books, buildings and other tools needed. Just as importantly do we want the United States government that involved in our daily lives? The more freedoms and responsibilities that we surrender to the government the more restricted our rights are.

    23. Donald Thorin - Glen says:

      True; we have seen a substantial decline in the educational system for several decades. Evaluation reveals fingerprints of Gongress, National Education Association, Political correctness, minimizing historical content, near deletion of true Unitrd States history, teaching criteria, curriculum content, student evaluations and grading classroom discipline. All in all nationalization will not improve the system, it will tear down student acheivement, goal setting, self expression and self confidence.

    24. Peter Ducker, Florid says:

      I guess that's the beauty of "standards" (and their resultant frequent ineffectiveness) – "there are so many to choose from" !!!

    25. Stephen Jones; Mount says:

      In the commentary on national school standards, I missed the question of constitutionality. I hope the Heritage Foundation hasn't given up on defending that critical document.

    26. Gary, Colorado says:

      This is a HUGE mistake. Our local teachers were hard working and invested in our children's education, however it our local school board that pushed "new math", eliminated phonetic English, subsituted homework time for teaching in class, scheduled multiple in-service teachers days, added social engineering programs, and totally eschewed core curriculum, much to our children's detriment. While my wife and I both learned long division in 5th grade, diagrammed sentences ad nauseum in sixth grade, our children still struggled with long division in HIGH SCHOOL, and they still struggle with grammar (they are all young adults). Additionally, state standards and the non-educationally competetive practice of teaching to the lowest common denominator has discouraged many bright students and lowered the overall level of education. The charter schools have a better record – we know. They saved our middle child from the public education production line. She was told she "wasn't college material" but found her own college and graduated on the honor roll. We're building Model-T's when we could be building Cadillacs. Turning education standards over to the Federal Government is a really bad idea – "one shoe fits all" nannyism will not improve the level of education in the U.S., particularly when you factor in all the social programming and ESL that will ultimatly accompany the "educational standards".

    27. David from Utah says:

      Jennifer,

      This is a great article. I am a school principal and just received my training on the "Common Standard" as we have been directed to refer to them. "National Standards" was on the training agenda, but that is politically incorrect. We spent most of our time discussing how to present the standards to our staff without upsetting them too much about creating new curriculum maps that will align instruction with the national rather than the state standards. After this discussion I thought prudence demanded that we address the national tests that are being written based on the national standards and the fact that these tests and their results would be used in future teacher evaluations. I am in favor of a better evaluation system, but it needs to be one generated from the community. Parents need to be directly involved in what students are being taught and at least part of the equation in determining how well a teacher, the school, and the school district are at doing. For too long parents and communities have abdicated their role in the education of their children allowing "experts" and bureaucrats to decide not only what is taught but also to report on how well it is being taught. This has left us all with purposely confusing data points, unclear expectations, and an education system tied to the political whims of the party in power. Thank you again for pointing out the need for attention to what is happening in education.

    28. Mick Havala, Plymout says:

      I totally agree with the statement that education begins and end with the parents. The government seems to mess up anything it takes control of…and this will be one more example where bureaucracy will do more damage than good.

    29. Lee White Tanks AZ says:

      Job Number 1 for the new 2010 conservative congress, De-Fund the Federal Department of education. This is step one of removing this carbuncle from our education system. It would also help immeasurably in pulling the plug on the NEA et al.

      Job Number 2 (for those paying attention) will be to De-Fund Obamacare. This is a precursor to removal and replacement with a patient centered solution.

    30. Roberta Guagliardo says:

      Isn't it strange that Obama shuts down all drilling and Soros invests

      two billion dollars in a Brazilian oil company?

      When are the Republicans in Congress going to start yelling to the

      heavens about this guy!

    31. Tim Wiedman, Lincoln says:

      Reading this essay left me with several questions.

      Wouldn't national standards imply standardized national testing? If so — and if federal funds were tied to test results — wouldn't teachers be encouraged to "teach to the test?" Further, does "teaching to the test" promote critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork — or rote memorization of specific facts?

      To be competitive in a global environment, what skills will a 21st century workforce require? Will a multiple-choice, standardized, national testing approach promote and develop the skills that will ensure the success of our children?

    32. Gary, Colorado says:

      Typos corrected:

      This is a HUGE mistake. Our local teachers were hard working and invested in our children’s education, however it was our local school board that pushed “new math”, eliminated phonetic English, substituted homework time for teaching in class, scheduled multiple in-service teachers days, added social engineering programs, and totally eschewed core curriculum, much to our children’s detriment. While my wife and I both learned long division in 5th grade, diagrammed sentences ad nauseam in sixth grade, our children still struggled with long division in HIGH SCHOOL, and they still struggle with grammar (they are all young adults). Additionally, state standards and the non-educationally competitive practice of teaching to the lowest common denominator has discouraged many bright students and lowered the overall level of education. The charter schools have a better record – we know. They saved our middle child from the public education production line. She was told she “wasn’t college material” but found her own college and graduated on the honor roll. We’re building Model-T’s when we could be building Cadillacs. Turning education standards over to the Federal Government is a really bad idea – “one shoe fits all” nanny-ism will not improve the level of education in the U.S., particularly when you factor in all the social programming and ESL that will ultimately accompany the “educational standards”.

    33. David Creighton, Fre says:

      California used to have one of the best educational systems in the country. Something we were proud of. Now, we rank very low. I think there are two reasons for this, and yes, I know many will say I'm racist, but the influx of non-English speaking people has made education more difficult, and two, the impact of the Department of Education. Many of the things it requires add costs, but dubious benefits.

      I ride bicycles with a number of teachers, and listen to their complaints. Probably the biggest is parents and administrators not supporting the clasroom teacher. Administrators seem more worried about lawsuits than effective administration, and the parents of students with the worst behavioral problems tend to blame the teachers first, even though they have no discipline in their own homes. Teenage pregnancy and drug use are rampant in the area where I live.

      After World War II, we had quite an influx of immigrants from Southeast Asia and Europe. Many of these immigrants spoke little or no English. and we had no biligual education. I remember being assigned to a young Phillipino girl to teach her English. It turned out great. I learned a lot about the Phillipines and she learned English. Most of these immigrants assimilated very quickly into our society. This girl went on to become a nurse in a school district where her knowledge of Spanish was a great help.

      Prior to the establishment of the Department of Education, under Jimmy Carter, education was left up to local districts, and the 10th Amednment was adhered to scrupiously. While I recognize it isn't the only cause, I wonder if there isn't a correlation between the advent of the Department of Education, and the demise of public education with one set of rules and regulations applied to all school districts?

    34. Michelle, NJ says:

      Thank you for this insight! I am a parent, and have been reviewing & commenting upon these standards for a year, (and my own state's revision nearly two years). The Common Core standards are merely adequate, and do not address the declining performance of American students compared to other nations in math & science, which was one of the key reasons for the council of governors in appointing the committee. Further, the Race to the Top (RTTT) funding, while implying that one need not accept the standards, has sent feedback to all first-round grant losers on how to "strengthen" the application, including adopting the standards.

      Most importantly, accepting RTTT funding requires adopting ALL common core standards. When Science, History, and Social studies (which have not even been drafted yet) are released, states will have already obligated themselves to adopt them, or lose – maybe even pay back – funds.

      This move to tie all federal $ to the common core standards utterly destroys the core standards organization statement that “adoption of the Standards is in no way mandatory.” The latest federal move would make it mandatory.

      To adopt two famous quotes: Those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little extra money will have sold their liberty too cheaply, and will ultimately pay dearly. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods, and repurchasing the freedom to educate our children as we determine appropriate will indeed cost dearly, not just in dollars.

      This move to tie all federal $ to the common core standards utterly destroys the "

    35. Bernard Syfan , 310 says:

      I fully agree.

      Now what action can I take beyond lending financial support wherever a constitutional conservative is identified?

    36. William Schultz says:

      I guess my first thought is why do states have to agree to anything other than to use the monies as they were intended to be used. This money that is being distributed is our money to begin with. We have entrusted it to the fed. government to distribute it wisely, not to be used as a club to keep states in line. Our educational standing in the world is not caused by a lack of monies spent but because we have lost a work ethic that brought us to what we are today. This work ethic is being replaced by the thought that we want today what our parents took years of hard work to earn. This work ethic starts in our homes and then in our schools. So if our kids don't learn this ethic at home they won't have it when they get into our schools. We need strong families!

    37. Mark Halpert, Boca R says:

      It would be delightful to have National Standards — and then allow states to set higher standards

      States like Florida are a classic example of the system gone wrong — Jeb Bush and the legislature set up their own test and their own grading system, both of which showed excellent results, until …

      Parents and professionals realized the kids were doing poorly in college, the students with disabilities, the African American students and the Economically Disadvantaged students kept lagging behind, and teachers were hyper-focused on a state test

      Washington should not be given freereign — the Race to the Top is a classic case of the system gone wrong — but it would help to set the floor, have textbooks that could be written for the country, and to also get away from state tests — where we spend billions and have states declare success — when the success is mostly based on their own tests — where the system encourages them to lower their standards to raise passing rates

      Somewhere there is the right balance between state and federal efforts

    38. jimmie phones says:

      Wow…the states have done such a masterful job educating for the last 50 years….that's why the US is 39th and dropping in education…just keep up the same work and we'll even be worse off in another 20 years…

    39. Mary.... WI says:

      Is there nothing, right here, right now, to stop this “regime” ( as Rush Limbaugh calls it) and their socialistic agenda?!!

      It is beyond belief not to mention sickening just how much this “regime” has taken over in this country!

      November 2010 is only 4 months away……4 months to vote in true pariots into office. Their job will be to repeal everything this administration has shoved down our throats in the past year. Their job will be to restore this country to her greatness. Choose wisely folks.

    40. Michael Schneider, M says:

      Isn't there another, even more compelling, reason from the conservative vantage for state rather than national standards – the ability of communities to affect the curriculum and texts regarding varied issues, ranging from evolution/intelligent design, to race relations and civil rights, international concerns, etc.? Actually, good progressives in Mass. or NY would probably want to have the lattitude for choice in approaches to these issues. You mentioned the likelihood of a dumbing down of standards toward a mediocre middleground, but isn't the debate over standards not only over technicalities of learning?Did I miss this in your argument?

    41. Sue Marie, Detroit says:

      As stated in this article "Standardization of Mediocrity" is the goal of this socialistic regime. I am soooooo greatful to God, that my husband and I made the financial sacrific and had our children go to private schools. No matter how the government spins this, this is social engineering.

      The Heritage Foundation is explaining the lies the government wants me to believe today.

    42. Eric Potter MD says:

      As a concerned parent, I have been working to raise other parent's awareness of the ways in which the federal government is not only encroaching on the family sphere, but is blatantly invading it. Most parents with whom I have interacted fall into one of the following camps 1) indignant that I would suggest that they are responsible for their children's upbringing rather than teachers/day care/social servcies, 2) too overwhelmed to rally motivation to respond, 3) "they can't do that" so they can just ignore it, or 4) " I'll get back to you after after I drop my kids at daycare while I go shopping". Only a small few both recognize their responsibility and actually take action of any sort.

      It is a sad day that we have reached. The case against national standards is clear as a "morning bell", but most parents are deaf to the ringing. Furthermore, many other alarm bells are ringing out a warning that the federal government is invading the family sphere, yet parents carry on life as usual. I pray for a parental awakening of sorts.

      Eric Potter MD

      parental rights.org

    43. Timpclimber Provo, U says:

      Great article but you left out an important fact. In most countries children are selected in grades 6-8 who will be put on the university tract and those who will be put on the blue suit street repair/cleaning tract. Once sat in an 8th grade class in Germany. The teacher taught and interacted with nine children in the front of the room while eight others sat in the back. When I asked why the teacher pointed to the students in the back and said blue suiters. Our AP and IB high school students compete well with their peers in other countries. Could the other countries be reporting only the scores of their college track students and the U.S. all students? If our schools become controlled by the Feds the innovation and experimentation by the States will be greatly reduced.

    44. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      "No Child Left Behind" is nothing more than an introduction to our "Culture of Entitlement" mindset. Where is the motivation for learning? The really smart kids will excel and the lesser children will find socialsim appealing. If we really want to help kids the plan is to get rid of entitlements and let a few generations fail until they get the idea that the "free ride" is over.

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    46. Walt Goode VA says:

      the problem with education is the same problem with our military, namely that politicians and administrators do not allow the competent professionals to do their job and succeed. Teachers are held hostage by the morass of administration and the inability to discipline or rid their classroooms of the disruptions that prevent education to occur. Until this is allowed to occur, education will never have the ability to succeed no matter the amount of $ thrown at the problems, or the latest fancy catch phrases used to disguise continued mediocrity.

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    49. bigdave ocala fl says:

      The Federal Government is no longer in the EDUCATION MODE. They are much more interested in INDOCTRINATION INTO PROGRESSIVE IDEOLOGY and the destruction of AMERICAN HISTORY thereby destroying our ROOTS and our CULTURE! The Democrats have already made our youth EQUALLY DUMB by lowering standards for immigrants who do not speak English and for minority students who show up part-time. The cost of a PUBLIC SCHOOL "education(?)" costs over TWICE(2 times for you libs) as much as PRIVATE/PAROCHIAL schools and the kids are no where near the level as the private schoolers! Most of the money goes to TEACHER'S UNIONS, and their retirement plans are unsustainable!!

    50. Leith Richmond, VA says:

      Will you please, please write about the criminal connection between Soros, the Center for American Progress, Petrobus- Brazil, Leon and Tony Podesta's involvement, Obama's two billion loan to Brazil, and his dishonest reason for a six month moratorium, inspite of the experts advice against it. The White House rewrote the expert's advice by adding two paragraphs to support their side.

    51. PAUL HERBST, LAS VEG says:

      A GOVERNMENT OF MEN: Many in Congress and the White House obviously prefer a government of men, not laws. If you can drag in a CEO and fire him [General Motors]; wipe out widow and orphan bondholders so you can give a payoff to your union pals [Chrysler], then you will love the BP $20 billion slush fund this president wants, as well as the criminal claims that will drastically increase the fines BP must pay. As said on Charlie Rose this week, the states suffering from the spill are the states that did not vote for Obama. Does anyone doubt that Rahm "Let no good crisis go to waste" Emanuel could counsel that the White House should drag its feet on the spill so that Obama could exploit it to pass his pet legislation, Cap and Trade? After all, the affected states didn't vote for Obama. Isn't that the "Chicago Way" we have heard so much about since this president took office? Look at the minutes Obama devoted in his Oval Office speech to his legislative hobby horse, Cap and Trade, as compared to helping gulf residents. Will Eric Holder criminally prosecute MMS employees who were watching pornography rather than inspecting oil rigs? Does not that behavior meet the standard of criminal negligence? Where was the Nobel prize-winning Secretary Chu when the rig went down? And Congress, instead of plugging the spill squanders its time in high dudgeon using the BP CEO as a whipping boy, hoping its grandstanding will distract the electorate from the anti-incumbent fervor sweeping the land that threatens to consume their treasured political careers.

      And a note on reciprocal legalities. What if the British Prime Minister had brought criminal fraud charges against all the American investment and commercial banks which sold toxic CDO's with the fraudulent "Triple-A" rating to British financial institutions? And then demanded that those same American financial institutions pay the salaries and bonuses of all the employees in London who lost their jobs due to the toxic American CDO's? After all, the worldwide damages from America's subprime crisis is in the trillions. Do you doubt Obama would be trying this if the shoe were on the other foot? And what if other European treasuries, weighed down with toxic American subprime CDO's, saw that Britain was getting some dollars? Wouldn't they be remiss in not jumping on the gravy train and rattling the criminal prosecution saber, while demanding pay for the employees of the banks they shut down?

      As to criminal intent, does anyone think BP wanted the spill? As to American financial institutions, does anyone doubt that they knew the CDO's were worthless and still sold them while misrepresenting them? Goldman Sachs' emails alone prove this and Eric Holder appears to heartily agree. Would Congress like to see American financial institutions in the dock being bullied to pay for slush funds to be administered by a hired member of the Prime Minister's office and threatened with criminal prosecution if they didn't agree immediately to every outrageous demand?

      Like any bully, this White House will throw its weight around until Governments start to push back. Sauce for the goose.

      Congress applauds the rule of men, not of law. What will it say when one of its pets is given the same rough treatment by a foreign government?

    52. Blair, Franconia, NH says:

      I don't know what's worse. Having national standards or having a government believe

      that we need national standards.

    53. john Arizona says:

      Isn't it amazing that the country continually throws money after the education system, and every politician running for office promises to be a friend to education and support more monies for education.

      And what do we have to show for it? A ranking of 39th in the world and falling.

      When will a politician stand up and say "Enough!" and propose a re-do of the entire system?

    54. Billie says:

      get rid of national standards (feds eds), it does not promote potential to the fullest. It will not allow the use of free thinking. It won't respect the individual thought. There has been punishment of children who have thought on their own.

      Where do the records of achievement go? How about personal achievement? Who's eyes are looking and for what sinister reason?

      This country isn't to train children standardized obamanomics or obamiculums. They have full brains, not one/one hundredth. Let them grow freely without federal government impositions. It's none of feds business. They deserve the ability to use their minds to figure things out using their own intellect. Not government's socially mandated intellect.

      ALL CHILDREN DESERVE TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND GOVERNMENT.

    55. Reece Morrison from says:

      I am inclined to agree with Pamela from Tampa, Florida. Whose curriculum/agenda are we going to be following? It seems that national educational standards dictated from a bureaucracy is just another encroachment upon individual freedom and liberty. It is a sure way of ensuring mediocrity, controlling the opposition of the next generation, and shamefully altering the character of what is American. To me it is just short of treasonous.

      R. Morrison

    56. sherry, avon, ma says:

      Maybe we can build a big big school for all the liberal nazis and his dictator and teach them the Constitution of this country. Then we can tell them to find themselves a facist piece of land, somewhere like Mars, and they can dictate to each other and leave us the hell alone. Dont they know whatever crap they are teaching in school that parents can tell their kids that is totally wrong. I know I will and this is the true American way. I know my kids listen to me, I am sure your kids will. These people in Congress have too much time on their hands making up new rules every minute. Did they get beaten when they were a child and are blaming us for it???

    57. Ginny, Tulsa, OK says:

      "Misconception #1: National standards are necessary so parents can understand how their children compare with other children across the country. The information parents need is already available. State tests let parents know how well their children have mastered the curriculum."

      Not completely true. Oklahoma state standardized tests, for example, are significantly less rigorous than national standardized tests, resulting in artifically high scores for the Oklahoma state test in comparison to the national tests.

    58. patriot greg says:

      thanx to all you "dumb masses" (say it fast)that voted for this f*****g marxist

    59. Pingback: Paranoia Roundup | Austrian Economics Blog

    60. Viviana, Miami FL says:

      "Voluntarily" brings back memories of Cuba where you are required to "voluntarily" leave your home on your single day off and go to the sugar cane fields to cut the cane with a machete. Don't get use to it America! When the government controls your actions you become a "voluntary" slave. We must stand up and stop the wrecking train that this administration is. W/E @ Bernie's or the sports page, + sports channels is not the best action at this trying times. Please! Stand up, open your eyes, don't bury your head in the sand because if you ignore what's happening you are going to shed bitter tears of sorrow in not too distant future.

    61. Dave, Virginia says:

      We should be striving for excellence, not settling for mediocrity – there is only one reason the Fed wants a hand in education and that is to control the message from the inside, using Federal funding for blackmail. Thank you Gov. McDonnell for backing out of the system.

    62. Ruth, St. Helena Isl says:

      YES, Beverly Barnum, there really is a way to secede from the union.

      Send all your IRS tax dollars to the Treasurer of your state to hold in escrow. Pressure your elected officials to secede and give up all Federal monies. There would no longer be a President of the United Statesbecause the states would no longer be united. Once he and his 'COMRADES" were out, we could then begin to rebuild this country in its original beliefs. By the way, I live in Beaufort, SC where the first laws of secession were signed.

    63. Sarah, OK says:

      Has ANYONE read James Clavell's "A Children's Story…but not just for children"? We're headed there!

    64. Patriot Cat, Texas says:

      The standards that are tested in Texas are 'basic' which means that they are really the very bottom rung at any grade level. If the standards set by the federal government are below these, then there is a real threat to any decent immediate improvement in the education of our students. In any case, a test of any kind is only a 'snapshot' of one day in the life of a student, not a year's worth of learning nor of the value or worthiness of the educator. In fact, the test is only as good as the student on that day. It is an instrument, usually objective (multiple choice) that is relevant only as a part of a benchmark in a student's progress. Today's schools are hardpressed to accommodate many different students, requiring that all meet certain levels of understanding by a certain term which is not possible as educators are dealing with humans, not cars and their parts. Many students come to school for one thing: 2 meals and a place to sit. Others can not tell you their phone number or address because they've moved so much in the last 3-9 months. There are abuse issues that don't go away just because someone has called protective services because the child refuses help because the parent has a leather belt in the warm waters of the kitchen sink waiting for the person to leave. Seen that? There are learning issues that go far beyond the 'educational' process that educators and counselors are now dealing with. Many of these issues are not addressed adequately because there are not enough people to deal with them on any kind of continuing basis. If you look at the research, our kids do very well against other countries…although I realize that the msm has not mentioned this. American Thinker has a whole column about this in which it is noted that there is not a real global standard that allows true comparison of apples to apples, per se. So, to say that our educational system if failing our students may not be correct. It is often the case that many who flay the educators of this country are from those states who have chosen to mandate belonging to the AFLCIO or other state-mandated union which is an entity with enough clout to put most states' coffers into debt. And they are in debt. If the mandate were repealed, the state could then operate on a more sound basis and the need for ridiculing the educational system would for once be concerned with education and not hiring/firing practices.

    65. Karen Bonville Pendl says:

      Can we get this socialist out of office before his term is up? Socialist are bullys,the make you think that they are on your side and what they are doing is for your own good.Please, give me a break.This man and his socialist friends want to put our heads in a noose and dare us to move without being hung.America as we have known it does not exist any more.I am so sick of it all.He wants to run everything from bogus health care reform,to the war, to gun control and to major companies.He is a silly little man if he thinks the majority of Americans are going to put up with his stupidity any longer.

    66. Mrs Kelleher says:

      Thank you so much for keeping s informed this administration is unbelievable at undermining everything America stands for, I hope many are waking up to what this administration is all about, and with your help many will seee what we need to do. Thank you again

      Mrs Kelleher

    67. Steven T. Polgar, Wa says:

      As a teacher for over thirty years in both public and private educational settings, ranging from inner city to suburban middle and high schools to two and four year colleges, and the CIA's Office of Education and Training, I support your statements. Having had the misfortune of personally experiencing education under Communism in Hungary as a child, I can vouch for the terrible effects of any state authority setting standards and using these to exert control over the content of education, most importantly the interaction between students and their teachers.

      The greatness of America's educational system, as so many other things about this most unusual country, is exactly its variety. That sometimes results in lower standards but it also guarantees the possibility of higher ones, and above all leaves open the possibility of innovation. That is why there are so many original and unusual experiments in education in the U.S.. Again some do and some do not improve education, but it is the felxibility which they provide which is so important and unique about the educational environment in this country.

      If we go back to Thomas Jefferson, who did not include mention of his presidency in the words he composed for his gravestone, but did want to be remembered for founding the University of Virginia, then we will understand better the ways in which he and his exceptional compatriots envisaged education in this country. They certainly did not think of the United States as a state modeled on the empires, dictatorships or social democracies of Europe. Rather they saw it as a union of independent states, often exceeding in size and wealth many countries of the world. That is why their conception did not include any

      U. S. Department of Education.

      So rather than expand the power of another European style central government bureaucracy, and thereby invite all the ills and dangers that come with centralized authority, let us take away some of the money and power already in the hands of nameless, faceless bureaucrats. Rather than centralize more power in the hands of the statists and socialists who have managed to wrest it away from the people, replace them and work more in the direction envisaged by Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Franklin et al.

    68. Ken Florida says:

      Actually, the Constitution has no mention of education. Therefore, it is a state right. A strickly interpreted Constitution states Federal Government should not be involved in education. Another case of power grabbing by the Federal Government…

    69. Chanel says:

      In order to leave a comment, you must supply information for all of the required fields below (which are indicated by bold text).

    70. Caps says:

      Actually, the Constitution has no mention of education. Therefore, it is a state right. A strickly interpreted Constitution states Federal Government should not be involved in education.

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