Thursday, January 9, 2014

NATIONALIZATION = HOMOGENIZATION or Common Core Kills School Choice


Today, I hear that Eric Cantor "...Hits Critics of Expanding School Choice".

This was interesting as I was given to understand that school choice was dead.  Hadn't heard that?  Take it from me - it's true!

How exactly are we going to offer students anything different - anything outside of Common Core - at any given public school in America?  How?  Forty-seven states have signed on to the Common Core.  Countless publishers and technology providers are pushing out countless materials all aligned with the Common Core, making it nearly impossible for anyone to find educational materials outside that sphere.  All state tests (at least 47 of them) - and now the ACT - will be geared to the standards.  All curricula is being written to align with the Common Core, essentially forcing all educational outcomes to be more or less the same.  Isn't that what nationalization of anything strives to do?  Where is the choice? 

It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to produce an orange from the union of two pears.  Why is this concept so hard to understand?

Oh, yes, I guess you could CHOOSE to move your kid to a newer school across town - we humans always seem to believe new = better - but I remember hearing about a number of brand new schools built in rough areas of towns (to the tune of several million taxpayer dollars) that not only continue to fight vandalism but still-slumping student performance. 

Yes, sadly, you can change the building, but changing the building doesn't change the kids - good parents and teachers change kids.  Maybe someday taxpayers will recognize that and finally stop voting for bond issues that raise their property taxes to create pretty buildings that still continue to churn out marginally prepared/educated students.

Maybe a school across town feels like a safer option for your child.  Great, move him there.  You will get the same type curricula to fulfill the same set of standards with very little wiggle room as everyone has to pass the state tests in order to make sure their schools are graded C or above in order to prevent a state takeover of that school (yes, that is a good question, what IS the function of the local school board anymore?).  Your child will also have countless points of data collected on him as he sits in his seat, which will most probably stored in a 'cloud' somewhere, which will most likely be auctioned off to the highest technology bidder who will then produce educational materials from that data, that will collect even more intrusive data about your child.

Eric Cantor
...chided President Barack Obama for not including new money for the D.C. voucher program in his budget requests. (The administration has generally focused on funding existing slots, not bringing in many new students, despite what the program's supporters see as overwhelming demand.) 
He then said
"School choice is a threat to the status quo," Cantor said. "School choice protects families and children, not bureaucracies."
It is this kind of double-speak - this kind of ignorance of the way education and the Constitution works - that drives those that consider themselves 'conservatives' over the edge.

According to Cantor, Americans must go to the federal government to provide money (mother may I) to create educational programming for the communities found inside our states, and that situation will then create parental choice at the local level.  Seriously?  I can hardly even write that with a straight face!  Cantor must not be familiar with the conservative notion that government functions best closest to those that support and (ostensibly) benefit from it (taxpayers). 

This ignorance is exactly the reason legislators DO create the very bureaucracies they claim to hate that serve us up Common Core (and the other nationalized standards - and the associated data mining) and then feel good about telling parents and taxpayers that this method provides CHOICE in education.  Until legislators (and taxpayers!) themselves become educated about how government works, we will keep getting the same ignorant pontifications about the same ignorant (and liberty-sucking) government we have now, tomorrow.