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  • Opposition to Obama's Push for National Education Standards Keeps Growing

    Opposition to the Obama Administration’s push for national standards and tests is growing. Yesterday, more than 100 education leaders—professors, policy leaders, public policy heads, former Members of Congress, and others—released a manifesto opposing Washington’s unprecedented overreach into what is taught in local schools.

    Closing the Door on Innovation charges that “current U.S. Department of Education efforts to nationalize curriculum will stifle innovation and freeze into place an unacceptable status quo; end local and state control of schooling; lack a legitimate legal basis; and impose a one-size-fits-all model on America’s students.” The manifesto goes on to note:

    Transferring power to Washington, D.C., will only further subordinate educational decisions to political imperatives. All presidential administrations—present and future, Democratic and Republican—are subject to political pressure. Centralized control in the U.S. Department of Education would upset the system of checks and balances between different levels of government, creating greater opportunities for special interests to use their national political leverage to distort policy. Our decentralized fifty-state system provides some limitations on special-interest power, ensuring that other voices can be heard, that wrongheaded reforms don’t harm children in every state, and that reforms that effectively serve children’s needs can find space to grow and succeed.

    The effort to create national standards and tests began in early 2009, when the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers began developing a set of math and English language arts standards as part of their Common Core Initiative.

    Shortly thereafter, in July 2009, the Obama Administration released regulatory guidance for its Race to the Top (RTTT) program, a $4.35 billion initiative to award states for pursuing education reforms consistent with the Department of Education’s definition of reform. We wrote then that RTTT was “a first step toward the federal government creating national standards for the states.”

    It was no surprise then that, during a speech to the National Governor’s Association in February 2010, President Obama stated:

    I want to commend all of you for acting collectively through the National Governors Association to develop common standards that will better position our students for success. And today, I’m announcing steps to encourage and support all states to transition to college and career-ready standards on behalf of America’s students. First, as a condition of receiving access to Title I funds, we will ask all states to put in place a plan to adopt and certify standards that are college and career-ready in reading and math.

    And a month later, the President released his blueprint for reauthorizing No Child Left Behind. The blueprint noted that the Administration aimed to provide a “cradle through college and career continuum” and contained strong language about the adoption of common standards and tests. The blueprint once again intimated that access to Title I funding for low-income school districts could be tied to adoption of national standards.

    This is the wrong direction and will not spur educational excellence in America, as we have argued elsewhere:

    • National standards would fail to overcome the deficiencies of American K-12 education because they will not address the underlying problems, which are rooted in the public education system’s power and incentive structure. National standards would further misalign the incentives of states upward to Washington, not horizontally to parents and taxpayers, where it should be focused.
    • National standards would result in the standardization of mediocrity rather than excellence.
    • Many of those who favor of national standards cite variations in state standards as a reason to nationalize standards-setting. But the rigor and content of national standards would face the same pressure to scale down toward the mean among states, undercutting states with high quality standards, such as Massachusetts.
    • National standards would strengthen federal power over education while weakening schools’ direct accountability to parents and taxpayers. Washington’s half-century endeavor into education policy has failed. National standards would only ingrain this failure further.

    The manifesto against national standards was spearheaded by Bill Evers, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. In a press release announcing the publication of the manifesto and its 100 renowned signatories, Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institution writes:

    To some, a national curriculum sounds like a redemptive cure-all for the shame of our public schools’ failures, and a national curriculum gives the education establishment elite a powerful warrant for “doing good.” But we must not discard the proven constitutional discipline of our federalist system. Decentralization has been the engine of educational innovation. We shouldn’t trade our federalist birthright for a national-curriculum mess of pottage.

    Steele is absolutely right. Instead of nationalizing what every child in every school will learn, federal policymakers should provide states with increased flexibility and freedom from red tape, allowing state and leaders to be more accountable to parents and taxpayers. States should work to increase the rigor of state standards and increase transparency of results to parents.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Opposition to Obama's Push for National Education Standards Keeps Growing

    1. Diana says:

      Title 1 – My question is: Is this how the illegals get an education in the United States?

    2. Gary W. New Jersey says:

      If Mr. Obama were serious about public education reform he would apply some pressure to the teachers' unions to stiffen requirements to produce superior teachers. The USA spends more per student world-wide excluding only two other countries so money isn't the issue. The quality of teaching (not baby-sitting) and the lackluster performance of universities who are "preparing" teachers are the two main problems that need attention.

    3. Tim AZ says:

      It is important for one to understand exactly what success means to the regime. Total govt. control and the unhindered social engineering of a child from the time the child begins preschool to adult hood could successfully create a society dominated by useful idiots with the lack of self determination to better themselves. This would be considered success in that it would create a system where the socialist elite would never lose their power or wealth. Because a society dominated by useful idiots with no desire to better themselves, is a society enslaved through dependance upon their government. Besides these elitists are so much smarter than you that they can make all your decisions far better than you can for yourselves. The fact that some in the education industry are joining other members of our still free society in apposition the regimes intended goal of total govt. control of the social development with the absence of intellect of an entire society one generation at a time is a good sign for those who believe that the individual can govern themselves. Had enough yet?

    4. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Lindsey, as with everything Obaminable, the National Standards the Progressives want is for the non existable "Post Industrial America!" That is the neverland we are all going to if Obama gets his way. We will be like the Cold War Soviets, all in the service of the government bureacracy. The skill set we 'need' is enough math to keep books but not enough math to understand the Statistical Lies that Progressive Socialists all promote. We need enough English to buy Pie In The Sky but not enough English to understand John Locke. The Race To The Bottom is Progressives leveraging their political power with a rigged 'contest' as will fool the States into giving away their Sovereignty for nothing! Only Progressive Union Loving States get the cheese, but everybody falls all over themselves at the State level just to get their hands on some Federal Money!

      I remind the writers at Heritage Morning Bell, that we got Thought Crime in Traffic Law by the same trick of National Standards. When you get into the weeds on these Standards, the unifying principle of all of those standards is Undermining American Sovereignty! I do not exaggerate. It was Traffic Law that began the process of undermining Habias Corpus, statistical probabilities became the Standard for Damages! We got infractions that were actually million to one shots, but we don't need to demonstrate actual damages! It became Probability and not Factuality that rules in Traffic Court. So we have Family Law that destroys families. We have Drug Law that undermines the very Rule of Law.

      I think the Kagan/Obama influence can be felt all over America thanks to the 'taking over' of Harvard Law School and the Harvard Law Review! These Socialist birds put Thought Crime into every corner of the Law in America! Educational Standards have already been compromised. These new efforts for Uniform National Educational Standards are the mopping up operation after the Fall of our once great American Educational System. It isn't the Standards at fault, it is the crippling effect of Socialist Indoctrination in the Public Schools! That is why Johnnie can't read, they spent all his education money on Socialist Propaganda! Green Junk Science and Humanist baloney.

      This is a Christian Nation, with Rights that come from God (and nobody else!) You can bet our new Educational Standards will be anti Spirit, and Anti God! But I tell you, Humanism is actually a social disease. Humanism is the reason people's IQs go down with Liberal Arts Education. It was designed to be mind destroying. It will be against the Law to teach anything but complete crap!

    5. Pingback: Opposition to Obama's Push for National Education Standards Keeps … | Daily News 24 Hours and seven day a week, Best News around the World

    6. Bobbie says:

      Thank goodness opposition is growing! What detailed reasons gave feds the right to DISRESPECT THE PARENTS AND CHILDREN AND step in, in the first place?? AND BEHIND OUR BACKS AND AT OUR EXPENSE!!!!?????

    7. Steve, Grovetown, GA says:

      There is no warrant for the Federal Government to be involveds in local and State matters. Do away with the Department of Education for this department exists only for the benefit of the teachers unions.

    8. Dan says:

      The NEA needs to be dismantled. I recently helped my grandson ( 7th grade ) with some questions pertaining to the book he is required to read. The sexual content of this book is very disturbing. How can our young people make correct moral decisions when our schools are corrupting them with their school required reading. The school system is broken. We need to gain control over what the United States Government / NEA are doing to children. Both need to be down sized and made to do our bidding and not their social agenda. Our children deserve the best education we can provide for them. This can be done much better at the local level and save billions – imagine that.

    9. Dean, Scottsdale Ari says:

      Your proposed cuts to the department of education's budget are far to little. The DoE employees 5000 people; an average of one hundred for each state. The constitution does not use the words education, student, learning, college, or school within its pages. Therefore, the DoE should not exist.

      Recently the DoE passed regulations that require all new certificate and degree programs in colleges to be approved by regional accrediting body and the DoE. The department of education has never before 'approved' degrees in colleges and universities. This is outrageous. The DoE has more planned for post-secondary education monitoring and control using student financial aid as its leverage. This agency needs to be stopped. Pell grants could be block granted to states with control left to the states or (my prefrence) leave well enough alone and save $121 Billion per year by shutting down a worthless agency.

    10. James Roxworthy says:

      contrary to opinion our schools continue to produce many fine students.

      federal government interference in education will not produce any meaningful change. it is the combined efforts of parents and teachers to make education a priority, in the lives of children, that makes education a success. policy should be set at the local and the state levels where it is more responsive to the community.

    11. Dr. Bob Poole GA says:

      Federal standards can only negatively effect the classroom and individual student. A creative teacher can produce the best learning environment and any attempt to tie the local teachers hands with federal standards will hinder a creative atmosphere.

    12. Jena, Delray Beach F says:

      The influence of a federal, politically correct, multi-cultural agenda is already a crisis. High school history textbooks are rife with deletions of truth and distorted facts that destroy the concept of American exceptionalism. We are producing a generation so ignorant that one high school senior could not tell me what the American Revolution was. The study of Western Civilization is being phased out of high schools in favor of World History. The AP World History course I taught this year featured an enlightened and spiritual East and a barbaric, conquering West.

      Revisions in U.S. Government high school textbooks are even more alarming. Most fail to mention the Ten Commandments as a founding document of Western Civilization. One deletes the Declaration of Independence from its list of America's founding docs while another actually names The Code of Hammurabi as the original founding document of the United States government. Students have not the slightest clue that America's foundation rests on Judeo-Christian principles. The attempt to combine eastern and western legal traditions is appalling.

      If we are to keep our western heritage alive, our educational institutions must continue to teach the evolution of its distinct political, economic, social, religious and intellectual traditions. If we are to rebuild a strong America capable of leading the free world, then American History must continue to foster our American exceptionalism. The ethnic make-up of our country may change, but its history does not change.

    13. Pingback: Education Department Violates Law, and States Say “No” to National Standards | The Foundry

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