Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Education by the ELITE

In today's Wall Street Journal, Craig Barett, a former CEO of Intel Corp. and co-chair of ACHIEVE made his case for national standards in education.
Fifty different sets of standards make no sense. It is much more efficient and less costly for states to mutually develop standards and then work together on the tools needed, such as tests and textbooks, to ensure the standards reach classrooms, teachers and students.
If cost and efficiency are now the primary objectives of government then it makes absolutely no sense to have fifty states at all. If we really want to reduce costs why not abolish Congress and the idea of a representative republic and instead commission an unelected board appointed by a supreme leader to determine what the laws and regulations should be for everyone. We could call the board ELITE! Once established, the ELITE! can work with us to make sure we have the tools needed to ensure that everyone becomes a good citizen and follows the ELITE! standard. And let's benchmark the ELITE! standard internationally so that leaders in countries such as Venezuela and Cuba don't feel left out of the American governing process.

Barett then goes on to handle this objection,
I realize that some critics worry that common state standards will lead to federal standards and a big government encroachment on matters traditionally the domain of states and localities. But as a conservative businessman, I can't agree with these arguments. The common core effort has been 100% voluntary. And while the federal government hopes to incentivize states to adopt common standards, the effort has been entirely state-led, with no federal funding or exertion of influence over their content.
If this were 1910 then Barett might have a legitimate argument, but this 2010 and recent events prove just the opposite . Who would have predicted that in a single year the federal government would have taken over student loans, General Motors, and health care? This is sufficient proof to me that any state which accepts federal "incentives" eventually yields to federal control.

As I recently pointed out here and here and David Mundy at Education Week emphatically confirms Common Core State Standards are nothing more than Outcome Based Education repackaged and brought to you by Marc Tucker and his comrades at the National Center for Education and the Economy.

Unlike when Outcome Based Education was introduced under President Clinton, the reception to Obama Based Education has been largely favorable. Barett takes note in the WSJ,
The reaction to them has been positive from across the political spectrum, from teachers unions (the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers) to conservative governors such as Georgia's Sonny Perdue and Indiana's Mitch Daniels.
Why are politicians of both parties, unions, corporate CEO's, and others who usually can't agree on anything so willing to accept national standards and eventually federal control? Because they share the belief that our children are nothing more than a commodity which must be trained to be good citizens in the global economy. Bartlett tips his hand,
"Of course, education reform is not merely about creating future workers. Making sense of retirement options, health-care plans and mortgages—not to mention bills pending in Congress—requires a sophisticated level of knowledge and skills. We have an obligation to prepare our students to be capable adult citizens."
That part about making sense of bills pending in Congress is comical. Nancy Pelosi said Congress had to "pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it..." No sophisticated level of knowledge or skills are required to do that! (Rep. Hare of Illinois provides the evidence.)

Let me be clear, parents not politicians and CEOs bear the responsibility for our children's education and should set the standard that will prepare their offspring for adulthood. The state is neither our nanny nor our partner in that task. It is "we the people" who hold our government officials accountable and not the other way around. That principle was once a core American value commonly held by all citizens, amazingly it was widely accepted without federal "incentives."

Homeschoolers still know and believe in that principle . If we don't speak up against national standards no one else will do it for us and we'll only have ourselves to blame when we too are controlled and regulated by the ELITE.

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