Another, among many, efforts to bring an erstwhile free country under the unified control of the federal government is what is called “Core Curriculum.” Regardless of what may appear on the surface to be merely an establishment of higher standards for K-12 schools, it is a one-size-fits-all approach to education that is ill-advised at best and totalitarian at worst.
Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri and Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa have sent letters to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan requesting clarification of changes in education policy and funding.
The following quote from Rep. Luetkemeyer’s letter expresses one of his concerns:
“In addition to expressing our concern with the department’s circumvention of Congress to reform education policy, we are writing you to express our concerns with the implementation of Common Core standards and changes to federal data collection and disbursement policies.”
If you are unconcerned about the federal government’s determining the curriculum for all K-12 schools in the nation (and by the way rendering your local Board of Education irrelevant), move on; there’s nothing to see here.
If, like me, you find Common Core an alarming development, you should contact your Legislative Representatives and urge them to support Grassley and Luetkemeyer’s efforts to get the Education Department –
You can contact your representatives through this web site: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/
Never doubt that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Melissa Harris-Perry, a Professor of Political Science, has garnered a lot of attention with her recent statement that children don’t belong to their parents and families, but to the community at large. This, of course, harkens back most recently to Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village.” Beyond that it reminds us of policies of communist totalitarians.
It should go without saying that the “community” plays an important role in kids’ development. They have always learned from their playmates, their playmates’ parents, their teachers, their schools and school policies, churches, recreational entities like Little League and Pop Warner, other programs like Big Brother-Big Sister, etc. Furthermore, they are “reared” in significant ways by media: television, movies, electronic games, and the like.
Obviously, it seems to me, that on its surface, Professor Perry’s objective, to have the community rear children, has already been met in myriad ways. But that is not the case because what she means is for the community to take over and control the development of American children. And what does she mean by the “community”, the town, the state, the country?
Her ideas have not been well-received by, of all things, the community. In this day and age when the majority of citizens self-identify as conservative, parents go out of their way to avoid much in the community that they find harmful to their kids. Witness the groundswell of support for home-schooling, charter schools, and vouchers. Some educators point to the fact that, via the internet, students have immediate access to a wider range of knowledge than ever before. One can even earn a college degree online. Public schools are more and more being referred to as “government schools.” If anything, parents and other family members are challenged to protect their children from the community. Substitute the words “Federal Government” for “Community” and Perry’s ideas are even more threatening.
Parents and grandparents should hug their kids close and tell them how much they are loved. That’s something they will not get from “the community” if Melissa Harris-Perry’s radical ideas ever take control.
Republicans are reminding us that the Federal Government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. With a Federal debt of about 17 trillion dollars and an annual deficit of about a trillion, it certainly appears that spending is outrunning our ability to pay. The imminent budget “sequester” is a miniscule reduction in the scheduled increase in spending even though the Obama administration has tried to describe it as just this side of Armageddon.
But is the problem really one of spending? The sequester will force modest cuts in the amounts spent by the various federal departments and agencies. (For this I’m setting aside concerns about the effects on the military to which the word modest probably doesn’t apply.) Unfortunately, the cuts are done arbitrarily without regard to reasonable priorities. It will force spending cuts, but will it do as much harm as it does good? That remains to be seen. The government is so huge and complex that there are probably less than a handful of people who come anywhere close to understanding it. Inevitably, though, when legislation is introduced to address the objectives of separate special interests, there will be overlap. When agencies become huge and complicated, inefficiencies and waste inevitably intrude. The more opaque the workings of government become, the greater grows the opportunity for fraud.
Expecting that by forcing arbitrary cuts on government we will somehow miraculously address these concerns is hopelessly optimistic.
When Barack Obama first ran for President, he said that he would, if elected, “streamline agencies and get rid of programs that don’t work.” As I remember it, he claimed that he was going to evaluate each program one by one and get rid of duplication, fraud, and inefficiency. A tall order, to be sure. Some would say impossible. At any rate, it hasn’t even been attempted. What we got instead was a proliferation of programs under the guidance of 40 plus “Czars” appointed by the President and unaccountable to anyone but him.
So what we have is not simply a spending problem. We have a program problem. It’s time to create numerous employment opportunities for auditors to identify where there are overlapping programs, cost overruns, programs that have outlived their original purposes, etc. and rid ourselves of such waste. We can’t just hit the budget with a stick and hope that we are squeezing out the noxious parts.
We hear a lot about equality these days. We are reminded that our Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. President Obama, in his second inaugural address, indicated that we should not just be equal in the eyes of God but in each other’s eyes as well. Certainly we should all be treated equally under our laws and should respect one another equally as human beings (until, that is, we have reason to alter our judgment). But should our political leaders be striving to make us equal as economic units?
Anyone who has recently bought a roll (coil) of stamps from the post office has seen successive stamps each with an American flag on it with one of four slogans. “Justice Forever” (check); “Freedom Forever” (check); “Liberty Forever” (a bit redundant, but ok, check); and “Equality Forever,” (What, wait a minute, really?).
For all our protestations, do we really favor equality? The President and his progressive allies want to redistribute wealth from those who have it to those who don’t. Despite the fact that achieving this equality would be virtually impossible, what would it be like? If we all had identical wealth, which of us would hire another? Total equality would produce a form of stasis.
(Stasis (from Greek “a standing still”) may refer to:
• A state of stability, in which all forces are equal and opposing, therefore they cancel out each other)
Isaac Newton taught that an object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it. Economically speaking, the unbalanced force consists of inequality of wealth and resources. Mississippi has more rice than New Jersey, but New Jersey has more cranberries. As the French say, “Vive la différence.” It is inequality that motivates and energizes commercial activity.
Despite the efforts of some who want to stop keeping score, our sports actually celebrate inequality. We want to know who runs faster, jumps higher, or lifts a heavier weight, etc. We are soon to watch Superbowl XLVII. Imagine if all players on both sides were equal to their counterparts in all aspects of the game: equal in training, speed, strength, athleticism, motivation, etc. Such players should all be paid exactly the same salary, right? None of them would be more worthy than any other of making product endorsements. And most telling of all, who would tune in to watch the inevitably dull game that would ensue?
When it come to equality, be careful what you wish for. You might get it.
© Dwight Boud 2013