Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Obama Takeover of Education

In his weekly radio address, President Obama said,
"[O]n Monday, my administration will send to Congress our blueprint for an updated Elementary and Secondary Education Act to overhaul No Child Left Behind. What this plan recognizes is that while the federal government can play a leading role in encouraging the reforms and high standards we need, the impetus for that change will come from states, and from local schools and school districts. "
What does this mean? According to Susan Ohanian, a longtime opponent of national standards and the proposed reforms,
In order to qualify for the pots of money President Obama is eager to hand out, states must accept 100 percent of the Common Core standards document. They cannot pick and choose. Exercising any judgment based on what teachers and parents know about kids and about literature is forbidden. To get the Obama bribe, state politicos must promise that schoolchildren will be forced to swallow ALL the Kool-Aid. If states want federal money, they have to reform education the Obama way.
This is a case of which came first the chicken or the egg?

The Obama Administration will claim all of the education reforms are state-led and the federal government is merely supporting their initiatives, but are states enacting the desired reforms because money is promised for states that Race for the Top and win first prize?

Already, there are rumors that Title I (special needs funding) will be tied to education reforms and the National School Boards Association released a statement last month indicating that the proposed reforms,
"amounts to an unnecessary overreach by the federal government to coerce states to adopt a particular approach or be shut out of future funding for key programs."
And what about homeschoolers? Our issue isn't funding but freedom. Common Core Standards will impact us, they will become the defacto national standard and lead to even more federal regulations (tied to funding, of course).

Recognizing the potential risks, HSDLA had this to say in May, 2009 about national common standards,
"If groups of states on their own want to establish common standards for public schools, that is one thing. HSLDA firmly believes that educational decisions should be left up to the states and local school boards, not Washington, DC. However, we believe that any attempts by congress to create nationalized standards, curriculum, or testing would be unconstitutional, and harmful to students and families. Homeschool famlies have demonstrated that parents, not bureaucrats in Washington, best know their children and what htey need to learn."
I searched their website for more updated information and nothing more recent appears to have been published. I hope they speak up soon.

A draft of the Common Core State Standards is now available online. The time for public commentary and opposition is now, not when Congress is deciding how much to pay each state for their compliance.

This is not the time for homeschoolers to sit and watch from the sidelines as the states gobble up federal funds and Obama's blueprint. At the very least, forward this post to others who may not be aware of the "other takeover" going on in Washington, DC.

This isn't a partisan plea against Obama, but a real desire to all homechoolers realize that national standards will be a huge deterent to our ability to homeschool in the United States. He didn't start these reforms, but he is currently the President moving them forward. And make no mistake about it, these reforms, modeled after Europe, will impact us. We must speak up or risk losing our ability to direct the education of our children. And unlike the German homeschoolers, there will be no place for us to go to seek asylum.

For more info...
Heather has a post about national reforms and special needs homeschooling.
Susan Ohanian has a site Stop National Standards with loads of info (Facebook group here.)
Education Week: Debunking the Case for National Standards

Subscribe to SpunkyHomeschool by email

No comments: