Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Feb. 17 Meeting in Grand Island
To Address the Boilerplating of ‘Global Governance’
In Nebraska Schools
It’s pretty telling, when you compare current and recent education bills before the Nebraska Legislature, and the United Nations plan for standardizing education worldwide. They’re very similar. Do Nebraska lawmakers even realize this? It’s hard to say.
The striking similarities between what’s going on with the globalization of education systems and a proposed federal law that would basically nationalize public schools, the Dodd-Ehlers bill, and how both of those are reflected in proposed legislation in the Nebraska Unicameral, will be examined at a Feb. 17 private meeting scheduled by longtime Nebraska education leader Kathy Wilmot.
The meeting, set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Grand Island, is open to all those who want to learn more about the globalization process and how it can be stopped. For information and to register, contact Mrs. Wilmot, firstname.lastname@example.org
Consider the standardization effect of Outcome-Based Education, put in place in the 1990s in Nebraska and controlled by the State Department of Education with highly subjective and highly suspect “assessments” that have little to do with evaluating excellence in the delivery of the 3 R’s, and lots to do with obvious politicized attitude control. Net effect: to “dumb down” the strongest learners so that they are standardized with the weakest learners, including those in Third World countries.
Consider the focus on job-related skills, rather than liberal arts academics, brought in with the School to Work changes of that same decade. School to Work is also a “fit” with global education reforms which are attempting to change the purpose of school from the traditional one – creating good, well-rounded citizens – to the post-modern one: creating compliant, options-impoverished, entry-level workers for multinational corporations.
Consider other school changes in Nebraska in recent years: establishing an early childhood education system and school-based preschool on the route toward universal, compulsory preschool . . . all-day kindergarten even though it’s a waste of time and money, and creates unhappy, unruly kids (see the RAND study, below) . . . forced consolidations of smaller schools into bigger ones over the objections of a majority of voters despite the incontrovertible evidence that the smaller schools were doing a better job for very close to the same amount of money . . . invasive databases and micromanaging student “tracking” systems . . . .
As for this year’s crop of education bills, there’s the whole spate of “learning community” bills that would basically create one statewide school “system,” rendering local schools as cookie-cutter franchises of the state model. Both the State Board of Education and elected school boards would be even more out of the loop than they are now, and, soon revealing themselves to be irrelevant, will no doubt be phased out.
Consider LB 241, transferring teacher pay from the responsibility of locally-elected school boards to the State of Nebraska. That’s a “fit” with the global governance model, to consolidate the power of the teachers’ unions and unelected educrats, and remove hurdles to higher pay and more staff in schools, with no linkage to the quality of the educational product being delivered.
Similarly, LB 601 would consolidate the more than 20 Educational Service Units across the state into one, run by a council of ESU administrators, and apparently doing away with the many elected ESU boards across the state. That’s another “fit,” to eliminate the last vestiges of local control by systematically eliminating the public’s representation in the form of locally-elected school boards.
Man! This is as scary and dangerous as the hit TV show, “24.” Here’s hoping that a whole bunch of Jack Bauers will gather in Grand Island, and sort it all out.
It’s About Time: RAND Analysis
Shows All-Day Kindergarten Is a Bust
Dang it. Wish we’d had this information BEFORE most of Nebraska caved in to the unions and educrats, and switched to all-day kindergarten. It was “sold” in Nebraska using a few cherry-picked and hothoused anecdotes of places where all-day kindergarten was working wonderfully, in the views of a few self-serving parents and teachers. Obviously, they were drawing their conclusions prematurely and based on ‘way too small of a sample size. But that’s opinion. Now we have fact:
The prestigious RAND Corporation has conducted a major study on the effectiveness of switching from half-day to full-day kindergarten, and found that it really does NOT help academic achievement on down the road. So it’s a big, fat waste of time and money. TOLD you so. It’s past time for Nebraska policymakers to right this wrong, and here’s the ammo to do it:
Iowa Tax Watchdogs Accuse Educators
Of ‘Getting Theirs While the Getting’s Good’
Whoa! Does this ever have application to efforts in Nebraska to make our public school districts even LESS accountable with statewide “equalization” of school funding.
Tax activists in Iowa are going to town fighting school spending increases in general and a Feb. 13 vote in Cedar Rapids on $344 million in additional sales taxes, largely for schools, in particular. The one-third-of-a-billion-dollar measure comes despite a 30% enrollment decline in that city, and what the tax activists say is excess capacity equal to 3,500 students. Read more about their efforts on:
Note this quote from www.stoplocaloptiontax.com:
"But again, remember this vote is not about paying for real needs of schools. This issue was put on the ballot because an opportunistic group of school board officials is attempting to grab our money now before the state forces them to share it with other districts. There are no real needs here that are driving this new tax, hence questions about particular projects and viable alternatives are moot."
Also note the interesting charts on www.iowalive.net, which Nebraska’s Class I schools advocates ought to translate to Nebraska stats, and see if we follow suit. The Iowa group reports that the number of school districts in Iowa has plunged from 4,500 in the 1940s, to less than 500 today. Yet in that timeframe, the cost per pupil in constant 2000 dollars has risen from about $2,000 to over $10,000. Also in that timeframe, student achievement as measured by standardized tests also has plunged.
‘Everyday Math’ Curriculum Gets the Gong
In the Show-Me State; How About It, Nebraska Teachers?
I was really heavy-hearted when many Nebraska school districts switched to Everyday Mathematics in recent years, ignoring clear and convincing evidence that that particular style of “fuzzy math” was going to wreak havoc on everything from standardized test scores to kids’ ability to handle upper-level math and science in high school and college. When it comes to building math skills, that curriculum is the kiss of death.
So I was not surprised to receive a copy of this math teacher’s lament, as read aloud to a school board in Seneca, Mo. Would that some Nebraska teachers had these guts. See: http://senecanewsdispatch.com/articles/2007/01/24/news/news1101-07.txt
“My name is John Wydick. I am a fourth grade teacher and I have been designated to speak on behalf of the teaching staff at Seneca Elementary School.
“We as the elementary staff, with the knowledge of Mrs. Barnes (the principal), feel that now is the time to state our position on our current math curriculum, Everyday Math.
“Soon after fully implementing the program, we discovered that it does not meet the needs of the majority of our students. It is our professional judgment that the topics and skills that are left out prohibits students from building the foundation that they need in middle school, high school, college and the real world. We also determined Everyday Math’s ‘spiral process’ of teaching one method one day, another method the next and then an entirely unrelated topic leaves students confused and frustrated.
“Mrs. Barnes has allowed us to supplement the program to help meet the needs of our students; however, the philosophy of the program that if students don’t get it now, they’ll get it later, doesn’t work. For students to engage in ‘higher-order thinking’ in math, they need to master basic operations first.
“We are professionals and our job is to teach the students. If we are collectively seeing that what we’re doing isn’t reaching the majority of students, then we need to research and evaluate curriculum and find what will work. The elementary staff would like to form a committee and do just that. We need a curriculum that not only addresses our GLES, but introduces, reinforces and expects mastery of critical thinking and computation skills meeting the needs of a wider range of students.”
According to the article, “(a)t the conclusion of the reading applause broke out in the room. A copy of the letter was presented to board members.”
Say it, brother! Amen.
Kudos to Secretary of State Gale
For Posting This Video on State Website
Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale might wind up influencing unknown numbers of young people to become lifelong voters, if they watch this patriotic video that connects the importance of voting with the sacrifices made by our nation’s military veterans. He posted it on the office state website, and that’s a good thing:
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