WILL UTAH’S LEADERS REFORM EDUCATION, OR RESTORE IT?
—AN APPEAL TO UTAH’S LEGISLATORS TO PIONEER AN EDUCATION RESTORATION—
by JaKell Sullivan
In the 1830’s, when Alexis de Tocqueville visited America he was fascinated to find that the backwoods pioneer was better educated than the aristocrat in Europe.(1) How was this possible? Because Americans uniquely understood the power and significance of self-government. They were motivated self-learners who pioneered a restoration of the correct principles of good government by studying from the best books, including the Bible. They knew that in order to protect their newly established Republic, they would have to understand history and the political principles that would protect their freedoms.
Today, we see a move away from self-learning as more and more citizens understand less and less about self government, and depend on government to dictate the type of education they will get. Not surprisingly, Washington bureaucrats, along with self-proclaimed education reformers, have stepped up to mandate what our children should learn by standardizing our system, collecting data on students, teachers and principals, and making education about human capital instead of humanity. We should not be surprised when this strains the student-teacher relationship and stifles inspired learning.
While countries like China and Singapore are trying desperately to move away from their entrenched standardized education systems—citing a lack of entrepreneurship and intellectual creativity in their citizens(2)—America is fast-tracking standardization. And, Utah is along for the ride. Whether they know it or not, Utah’s Education Excellence Commission(3) is following President Obama’s Equity and Excellence Commission(4) and “2020 Vision Roadmap,” (5) through the President’s five pillars of education reform to complete his aptly named “cradle to career” federal remake of K-12 education. Meanwhile, Utah’s Education Task Force meetings (6) show that, to this point, they are hearing almost solely from groups who subscribe to standardization and the human capital model of education.
The human capital model of education is the endgame for central planners who have let profits and power blind them to the reality of what constitutes true learning. Some of our state and business leaders are selling this model with the words “college and career readiness” and President Obama’s “2020” mantra without realizing that they are setting up a power structure to redistribute wealth and resources among states, and to provide a continuous pipeline of profits for elite education reformers. This power shift could impale our representative form of government and eliminate parental rights to direct the education of our children.
Why are the same profit seekers who are behind the human capital model also behind the push for Common Core national standards that 45 states have already adopted? Because national standards are the wheel that will steer states into national testing, national curriculum, and national data collection—setting us up for a backseat ride straight into their human capital model of education.(7)
Education is a multi-billion dollar enterprise for unelected reformers like David Coleman(8), Jeb Bush(9), and Bill Gates who plan to collect data on each student’s skills and try to micromanage their job opportunities while taking tax payer money to pay for it and profit from it. They, and others, have built corporate foundations, created data collection businesses and made deals with curriculum publishers and government officials that reveal their motivations. Bill Gates admitted in a 2009 United States Legislative Conference that national reforms were about building a “uniform customer base,” not educating great thinkers.(10)
Why are we following these unelected profiteers down a path where they take control of our children’s educational opportunities and treat them like cogs in a managed economic wheel? Even if they are well intended, their vision is flawed and the history of the decline of great nations proves it. They envision a society of workers. Our vision should help us stay true to who we’ve always been—a nation of creators.
As parents, we are inspired by our children’s imaginations and ingenuity! We know that they are clever, resourceful and original! They will become great contributors to society as we help them develop their innate talents and abilities, not because reformers standardize their educations to “compete” with other standardized nations in the “21st century economy.” Sameness does not create leaders.
It’s time that we the people, as parents and local school districts, create a brighter and wiser vision for our children’s education based on our beliefs about what constitutes true learning. But, in order to do that, we need legislators who will reinstate the principles of federalism.
I am calling on Utah’s legislators to pioneer a restoration. Restore local control over education. Get Utah out of the reformer’s backseat before standardization is too entrenched. Decide that the group-think mentality and human capital mantra coming out of national reform conferences and meetings held to woo our state, business and education leaders must not be allowed to be legislated. Be the check on the federal government, and unelected reformers, you were elected to be. Grant power back to local board members who know us and can truly represent us and our children at the local level where needs are best met.
As our elected representatives, you can help Utah lead states in restoring America’s original ideals of exceptionalism and individualism, not standardization. If we buy into the human capital model, we will soon find that we’ve lost something much more valuable than money— the heart and soul that makes us who we are, and the entrepreneurial spirit that beckons every child with the words, “Follow your dreams!”
1. Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville. http://www.amazon.com/Tocqueville-Democracy-America-Library/dp/1931082545
2. AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice, “Common Core State Standards: An Example of Data-less Decision Making, Dr. Christopher Tienken. http://www.aasa.org/uploadedFiles/Publications/Newsletters/JSP_Winter2011.FINAL.pdf
3. Governors were encouraged by national reformers to establish Education Excellence Commissions. Utah’s was formed in 2010. Reformers use these commissions, & their government relationships, to push federal policy down through states. The state policies coming from Utah’s Education Excellence Commission mirror President Obama’s Equity and Excellence Commission’s “2020” goals and “2020 Vision Roadmap.” Many leaders on the state commission may not be aware of this fact. http://www.utah.gov/governor/priorities/education.html
4. President Obama’s Equity and Excellence Commission, housed within the US Department of Education, is charged with redistributing wealth using America’s education system. Their report “For Each and Every Child” to Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, explains how government can partner with key business leaders to bypass America’s Constitutional structure & complete a federal/reformer’s remake of our education system by mandating the redistribution of money, & principals & teachers who are considered by the federal government to be “highly effective.” http://www.foreachandeverychild.org/
5. President Obama’s “2020 Vision Roadmap” to reform America’s education system into the German model.
The “2020 Vision Roadmap” was written by Linda Darling-Hammond who helped create Obama’s Equity and Excellence Commission in the US Department of Education. Darling-Hammond chaired the Model Standards Committee for the Council of Chief State School Officers which co-produced Common Core Standards. She is in charge of content specifications for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia (SBAC). The SBAC is one of two testing consortia for Common Core Standards & was funded with Federal Stimulus funds. She is an advisor to American Institutes for Research—Utah’s new Common Core testing agent that is partnered with SBAC. She was also a creator of the politically-biased, anti-Christian and anti-American CSCOPE curriculum that was investigated in full hearings in the Texas Legislature in the spring of 2013. See: “Threat of Subpoena Produces Texas Curriculum Records” http://www.wnd.com/2013/05/threat-of-subpoenaproduces-texas-curriculum-records/#BB0SiUjykqOHP63w.99
6. Utah’s Education Task Force. See “Meeting Minutes” http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2013&com=TSKEDU
7. See Footnote 10: Bill Gates video clips #5 and #6
8. David Coleman, “Architect of the Common Core, sells Grow Network to McGraw-Hill” in 2005.
“Architect of Common Core Appointed to Lead College Board & align SAT to Common Core.” http://press.collegeboard.org/releases/2012/college-board-namesdavid-coleman-new-president
David Coleman founded Student Achievement Partners who played a lead role in developing Common Core with funding from the Gates Foundation.
9. Jeb Bush, Foundation for Excellence in Education. http://excelined.org/
Foundation for Excellence in Education funding from the Gates Foundation: http://excelined.org/about-us/meet-our-donors/
Jeb Bush created Chiefs for Change to train state superintendents in the reform agenda. “Emails Link Bush Foundation, Corporations and Education Officials”
Jeb Bush, Common Core: http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/common-core-standards-alec-jeb-bush-frozen-people-americantaxpayers-citizens
10. Gates Foundation. http://www.gatesfoundation.org/
“Gates, Pearson Partner to Craft Common Core Curricula” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/04/27/30pearson.h30.html
Bill Gates defines the “crisis” in education to the National Conference of State Legislators in 2009, & explains why national standards, federal assessments, aligned curriculum, and national data collection are necessary reforms. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyiwai1sAgE (7 Clips)
Video Clips #5 and #6 show the agenda behind Common Core to be to “unleash new markets” for the profiteers behind education reform.
Clip #5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtTK_6VKpf4 Bill Gates tells state leaders they should join in national standards, federal assessments and curriculum
Clip #6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMmABNwiITE Bill Gates tells state leaders they should take federal stimulus funds for longitudinal data systems
“Governors Implementation Guide” for Common Core Standards. This guide was created by the producers of Common Core—the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers—with funding from the Gates Foundation. None of them are elected.
Utah’s STEM push is federally led and part of the government/business partnership touted in Obama’s Equity and Excellence Commission’s report. It calls on state leaders to establish partnerships with key business leaders in order to bypass America’s legislative process, and thereby, citizen representation. The goal behind the federal STEM agenda is to redistribute wealth, & resources like principles & teachers, from suburban communities to urban cities & minority groups.
President Obama’s 5 Pillars of Education Reform