Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who is smarter than an education bureaucrat? The taxpayer paying for the bureaucrat!!

Posted For STLGretchen
Missouri Education Watchdog

State and national educational policymakers once again illustrate how out of touch they are with taxpayers, parents, teachers and administrators when it comes to crafting more onerous mandates. Instead of education reform, the plans from DESE and the Department of Education will add to the bureaucratic nightmare of public education, creating more harm than true reform.

From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

An attempt to recalibrate how school districts are rated by the state has triggered a unified uproar among educators and administrators throughout Missouri.

Groups representing teachers, principals and superintendents say they're concerned about a proposal that could double the number of standardized tests issued in public schools, including 10 more exams at the high school level in such courses as chemistry and physics. They don't like a recommendation to report the percentage of each high school's graduates who earn college degrees within three or six years, particularly if it means school administrators have to do the tracking.

While they say they agree with (Commissioner) Nicastro's goal, they oppose more testing and more tracking. State exams in chemistry and physics, they argue, would push schools to require students to take these courses, when there aren't enough science teachers to educate them. The groups also question who would pay for the additional tests, who would be responsible for tracking high school graduates through college, and whether expecting all students to take chemistry and physics exams is the same as the state dictating that every student take higher level science.

The increased tracking of students at the district levels is time-consuming and costly. At a time when Missouri (and other states) are having education budget cuts, how can these goals be accomplished? It's not only a concern at the state level, but national level as well. Arne Duncan is under increased scrutiny for the mandates he wants for education:

Frustrated by what he called a "slow motion train wreck" for U.S. schools, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he will give schools relief from federal mandates under the No Child Left Behind law if Congress drags its feet on the law's long-awaited overhaul and reauthorization. (Grumpy emphasis and red, think Obamacare waivers)

Duncan has warned that 82 percent of U.S. schools could be labeled failures next year if No Child Left Behind isn't changed. Education experts have questioned that estimate.

Still, no one thinks states will meet the law's goal of having 100 percent of students proficient in math and reading by 2014. A school that fails to meet targets for several consecutive years faces sanctions that can include firing teachers or closing the school entirely.

Duncan said he's encouraged by talks with federal lawmakers in recent weeks indicating the law might see revisions this year. But he said he wants a backup plan in case that doesn't happen.

"We can't afford to do nothing," he said. (Emphasis added)

Reading the comments from the readers, superintendents, administrators and teachers on these mandates from DESE and the Federal government, it seems as if the vast majority of them believe it would actually be best for education reform if the governmental bureaucrats did nothing. It would be preferable to them if no action was undertaken, the "slow motion train wreck" occurred, and the authority to education students was left to the local districts.

Here is a reader's comment from the msnbc.com site:

C'mon now, this has been law through half of Obama's term without a whisper of change. Shooting for 100% proficiency in what would be its 13th year is not exactly like setting a goal for zero crime. All they did was shoot for reasonable improvement each year to get kids up to grade level, and obviously they failed.
The Federal Education Department needs to be disbanded - they are a waste, a redundancy, and accomplish nothing except to spend our money on useless bureaucrats. Tell me exactly what does some idiot in DC know about a school district in Dos Palos, or anywhere else for that matter?
All education is local - it's far passed time to stop sending money to DC to waste on useless bureaucracy.
Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:12 AM EDT
and from the St. Louis Post Dispatch article:
westcountyteacher said on: June 11, 2011, 7:44 am
There will never be enough money to do any of this. The state mandates, but provides no funding. The state cannot even afford to maintain its own program let alone expect schools to jump through more hoops. Will private schools have to jump through these hoops? Doubtful, which once again gives private schools another advantage over public schools. Private schools can use their money to actually help students and not waste the time of teachers and administrators. Is DESE trying to destroy public education?
Once again, the taxpayers who are paying into a system in which they have no administrative control or voice, demonstrate they have more common sense than the bureaucrats deciding what children must learn and how they are tested, with no regard to the cost or outcome

Grumpy Note:

Recently I was told that because I oppose Obama's Education Reform proposals I was using Grumpy to promote liberal propaganda,,,

Since STLGretchen also writes for the St Louis Tea Party, I thought it might be a good time to clear up any misuderstanding... Please read the comments I posted.  It looks like there's a whole host of conservatives who agree with me.


  1. Romney comes out against Obama's Education Scheme.... The liberals at Think Progress freak out..

    A common claim among Tea Partiers and the right-wing fringe is that the Obama administration is engineering a “federal takeover” of the public education system through its support for common, national academic standards. During a townhall in New Hampshire a few days ago, 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney played into this nonsensical fear, responding to a question about a “national takeover” of public education via national standards by warning about the Obama administration’s “so-called experts taking over the rights of people, states and local governments”:

    ""If Barack Obama says I’m going to take that and impose it on the nation I will fight it to the ‘n’th degree. We do not have the federal government stepping in with their so-called experts taking over the rights of people, states and local governments. It’s against the Constitution and it’s wrong for America. [...]

    I can’t imagine in America where you’re going to have a White House, Republican or Democrat, or a Congress, a Republican or a Democrat, laying out what our kids have to be taught. That is unacceptable""


  2. Now Marc Tucker has joined up with Obama and Arne Duncan to mount a complete federal takeover of the public schools without a single vote ever having been taken in Congress to approve this effort: National standards (i.e., Common Core Standards), national tests (i.e., Board exams), national curriculum (aligned with the national tests), a national database (probably produced by Bill Gates), and teachers’ evaluations and merit pay tied to individual students’ test scores, thus forcing teachers to teach the national curriculum each day

    New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition


  3. Today the Education Committee voted to send LD 12 to a full vote of the legislature. Now is the time folks to make your voice heard. Tell your house and senate members to vote "NO" on LD 12 to stop the federal takeover of education. It wasn't tha…

    Pat Murry, Maine TEA Party


  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. It’s the last chance for anyone who opposes turning control of Alabama’s curriculum over to the feds to have their say. Tomorrow morning, the Alabama State Board of Education will vote on whether to adopt the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. While the National Governors Association supports the proposed initiative, problems with the Common Core have been cited by several leading Republican governors, most notably, Texas Governor Rick Perry. Common Core is also opposed by the following organizations:

    Alabama Federation of Republican Women

    Alabama Policy Institute

    Allied Women of Alabama

    CATO Institute

    Christian Educators International

    Common Sense Patriots

    Concerned Women for America of Alabama

    Eagle Forum of Alabama

    Family Research Council

    Focus on the Family

    Heartland Institute

    Heritage Foundation

    Home School Legal Defense Fund

    Lexington Institute

    National Association of Scholars

    National Conference of State Legislators

    Pacific Research Foundation

    Pioneer Institute

    Reason Foundation

    Smart Girl Politics of Alabama

    Tea Party Patriots of Alabama

    U.S. Coalition for World Class Math

    Wetumpka Tea Party


  6. Bill Gates, PTA Eye Some Southern Schools

    Education > Federal Government

    Written By: Bob Holland

    Publication date: 12/22/2009

    Publisher: The Apex Herald


    Now that the much-ballyhooed Common Core State Standards being pushed by the Obama administration have been drafted, the National PTA is launching a well-funded campaign to sell these curricular prescriptions for K-12 education.

    With $1 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National PTA is rolling out its propaganda guns first in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, and North Carolina, and it expects to hit other states by mid-2010.

    Were parents truly represented in the drive for national education standards, they would have been consulted before this train left the station and given the chance to say whether one set of standards for all 50 states is a good idea.

    In truth, the Chicago-based National PTA long ago became just another Big Education interest group. It has marched in lockstep with the national teachers unions, even supporting teacher strikes and opposing all forms of school choice for parents. Its membership rolls, which peaked at 12 million in the 1960s, have dropped to 5.2 million as parents have gravitated to locally based parent-teacher organizations (PTOs) that truly look out for their interests.

    The Common Core initiative is far from a grassroots undertaking. Led by staffers from the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the standards-writing has proceeded behind closed doors with hand-picked academicians in charge.


  7. Michele Bachmann

    Is against federal control in education.

    Wants to abolish the Federal Department of Education.

    Thinks dollars should remain at home instead of ending tied up in Federal education bureaucracy.

    Opposes No Child Left Behind.


  8. As a follow up, Duncan did decide to give "waivers", which he is authorized to do, but added conditions. These conditions jumped into areas that the Congress is authorized to do and getting a pounding for it. Yesterday, a report emerged that the DOE was under investigation for potential illegal activities related to "insider trading." Both events were reported with sources cited in Grumpy Educators.

    These facts are neither liberal nor conservative, they are just what they are facts. Read the facts (or not), consider them (or not), or question their relevance (or not). There is no benefit to making them personal.


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