Saturday, February 01, 2003

SO LONG, K - 12; HELLO, PreK - 16?!?

In yet another example of the disconnect between taxpayer distress over school spending, and the thinking patterns of Nebraska educators, note the annual meeting of the Nebraska PreK-16 Initiative in Lincoln last week as reported in the Lincoln Journal. It's located by a search for "Teachers Focus on Seamless Transition" and be sure to note how nary a mention was made about the state's horrific budget squeezes in school spending.

More than 100 educators assembled to discuss "Linking Teaching and Learning PreK-16." Their leaders were top educrats from the University of Nebraska and the State Department of Education.

For more about this latest money-sucker-upper from the education establishment, visit the Nebraska PreK-16 Initiative and be sure to note how their retreats have been held in the following places over the last few years:

Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Stowe, Vermont
Park City, Utah
Fish Camp, California
Englewood, Colorado

Umh-hmmmmmmm. :>)

The idea is to extend the authority and funding for public education down to the moment of birth, apparently, and throughout the traditional K-12 years on through the college or technical-school years. Who's behind it? University wonks, educrats and big business types. It is linked to the Goals 2000 and School-to-Work debacle now showing its ugly underskirts in the tax hurricane going on in Oregon; preliminary tidal waves are already hitting Nebraska school districts that have succumbed to the Outcome-Based Education / School-to-Work spending maelstrom. (See story below, 1/31)

So what you used to know as "senior year in college" has now become "Grade 16" -- at least in the minds of the educators who want us to think of the "system" that way now. Bottom line: they want to glom their hands onto control of your child's every move from birth to 'bout age 22, and the big, big bucks that come with. Ewwww!

What about the incontrovertible fact that kids used to come to school ready to learn much, much better back in the good old days? That was before confiscatory taxation, when moms could stay home and work with them 1-on-1. Now, apparently, we are going to have government-subsidized, school-delivered, universal preschool so that "No Child Shall Be Left Behind and Certainly No Child Shall Be Allowed to Get Ahead." Sigh. Shouldn't the real focus of any truly useful pre-K initiative be how NOT to suck the poor little kiddies into the system too soon? Haven't the last 20 years of Head Start and increasingly ill-structured preschool, with concomitant discipline and academic problems on down the road, already clearly proven that "state preschool" costs a ton and doesn't help them anywhere near as much as their mamas could do for free?

And what about the incontrovertible fact that families and friends are much better suited to advise young people in their proper post-secondary paths on into the workforce, NOT the educrats, and certainly not making taxpayers pick up the tab for what the students and families themselves have always understood to be their responsibility?

And isn't it pretty much a fact that the reason more and more college students need remedial classes in college is that the traditional academic skills that used to be delivered to them in the K-12 years are just not getting delivered now? And that what we need is LESS of the same-old, same-old, not another six or eight YEARS of it before and after the K-12 model?

Facts don't seem to matter, though, with this slide into cradle-to-grave educational socialism. Education activists have noticed the gradual substitution of "PreK-16" for the familiar "K-12" over the past decade or so, beginning with the Goals 2000 verbiage of the 1980s and escalating with the Clinton years.

Nebraska educators have been using the jargon, "seamless web," for some time now, exposing how they have been brainwashed by the national movement toward preK-16 and a nationalized education system that stems directly from the U.S. Department of Education. "Seamless" is one of the memes, right along with "benchmarks," "proficiencies," calling schools "local education agencies," and so forth. You could look it up. "Seamless transition" is code for "nationalized schools." But apparently, Nebraska educators think THEY invented the term. Oy.

They also think they're entitled to grow government education to this extent, too. Entitlement disease is epidemic now, with people who used to be satisfied with public payment for educating children for 13 years now trying to change our mindsets to more like 20 years, and counting.

Double oy.

Think this isn't a big-dollar power play? Check out the power players listed as contact people on the PreK-16 Initiative website: Joe Rowson, assistant vice president for external affairs and director of communications for the University of Nebraska . . . Jay Noren, N.U. executive vice president and provost . . . and Rachael Black, another N.U. staffer. Then there is Polly Feis, deputy commissioner, Nebraska State Department of Education, and Ann Masters, Nebraska DOE official.

The steering committee members are so prominent, they don't even have to have their names listed. Now, THAT'S when you know big power is involved, when the people behind it are hush-hush.

Think about it: preK-Grade 16. This isn't a pipe dream by educators. This isn't child's play. It's a power play. And it's time the rest of us got a defense pumped out and into the game.

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