WILL UTAH’S LEADERS REFORM EDUCATION, OR RESTORE IT? —AN APPEAL TO UTAH’S LEGISLATORS TO PIONEER AN EDUCATION RESTORATION—

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!”

Footnotes:

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/
See also:
http://www.otlcampaign.org/equity-commission
http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/reform

5. President Obama’s “2020 Vision Roadmap” to reform America’s education system into the German model.
http://www.otlcampaign.org/vision-2020
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.

http://investor.mhfi.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=96562&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=592486&highlight=
“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.
http://contentincontext.org/2011/index.php/program-speakers/151-david-coleman
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2012/06/OPP1061551

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”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/30/e-mails-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
Additional resources:
“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.
http://www.nga.org/cms/home/news-room/news-releases/page_2011/col2-content/main-content-list/nga-releases-implementation-guid.html
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.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/k-12/educate-innovate
President Obama’s 5 Pillars of Education Reform
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/03/10/taking-education

10 thoughts on “WILL UTAH’S LEADERS REFORM EDUCATION, OR RESTORE IT? —AN APPEAL TO UTAH’S LEGISLATORS TO PIONEER AN EDUCATION RESTORATION—”

  1. I support this letter to Utah’s Legislators & recommend it be sent to Pres, Obama. Someone once said “Even if millions of people believe in a bad idea, it’s still a bad idea.” This statement certainly applies to Common Core. I could go on BUT……

  2. You will not teach my children under common core. This is the United States of America and we will not stand for this blatant disregard for our children.

  3. GREAT GREAT article Jakell! There are still so many of our parents and grandparents that DO NOT know or understand what cc is all about. I will send this article on to my legislators and school board. Thank You to all of you giving us this cc information, Please do not stop!!! Utah has got to come to it’s senses. Governor Herbert you have signed something you knew nothing or completely abou, all for $’s.

    1. In addition to the informative articles and opinions shared on this website, please also share Common Core’s official website which has details of the CC standards that are being implemented. One way to know all about the CC is to read the content of the CC website in addition to the opinions and criticisms about it.

      Putting all the politics and procedural issues aside, the CC itself seems to hold promise in attempting to make our students better prepared for higher education.

      Official Common Core website: http://www.corestandards.org/

      Some may dismiss the common core website as propaganda but it is what it is, common core’s own description of what the common core is about. Some on this website have criticized portions of the common core description but the criticisms can only be considered in context if the signatories to the anti-CC petition invest some time in reading what the original content is.

      1. Links to the CC website have been posted on this site before. Most people who have contributed to this website and it’s responses have poured over CC from its shared root sources well before ever stating opposition to it. It was that initial read through that got their questions and research started. CC leaves way more to be desired then what it promises to be accomplished.

        1. You are right, links to the official CC website have been posted to this site before. But first time visitors to this site, reading this particular page do not have ready access to those links. Since this page voices opposition to common core, it seemed only right, in the interest of informed opinion, to provide a direct link to the original content of common core that is being opposed. I was also hoping that Peggy and Jeff will share the official CC link with the people they say they know that do not know or understand what CC is all about.

  4. I find it interesting that those opposing CC are willing to do so with their names attached, while those supporting CC prefer to remain “anonymous”…

    Jakell Sullivan has provided specific references which the reader can use to verify all that is argued in the letter. The interesting thing is that in many instances, the sources come from the very supporters and unelected profiteers of CC.

    I will spread the letter to my friends and neighbors, so many of whom still have no awareness of the dangers of CC…they are just starting to get used to hearing the term, but many are noting differences in their children’s school work and homework. Let’s hope they become better educated themselves.

    Thank you Jakell Sullivan!

  5. We have to change the Utah State Constitution – Legislator can’t set curriculum standards

    I attended a meeting with my legislators and speaker Becky Lockhart. According to them, we will have to amend the Utah Constitution before they, the legislature, can significantly impact Common Core in the state of Utah.

    The Utah Constitution is different than most other states. Due to the federal governments concerns with the influence of the LDS church in Utah, they required that the state constitution be set up differently and that the elected state board of education (SBOE) be the sole director of what is taught in our schools. The SBOE does not report to the State Government and the State government can’t legislate what is taught in the schools. The only thing the legislature could do right now, is shut down all funding for schools. Similar to what is happening in Washington with Obamacare and the budget. It is not going to happen.

    Speaker Lockhart said that they are forming a committee this year to look as education models in other states with the goal of amending the constitution to a more representative form with accountability back to the legislators and thus the people. She said even Governor Herbert is becoming more amiable to the changes as the SBOE has become more hostile towards him. When he has asked for answers or assistance from the SBOE, they have responded that “on advice from their lawyers” they will not do as he asks it could be perceived as they were giving their power to the state.

    This link is a different meeting but the same material was discussed.

    Please do all you can to push your legislators to make these changes and support the amendments to the constitution. It will be a fight but this may be the only way to get CC out of Utah!!

    We have removed our daughter from 9th grade English and Math. We are homeschooling her in Math (Saxon) and will use BYU High School English. If we had put here in CC Math, she would have lost a full year. What a waste! For now, this will keep her out of the state testing. Next year we will again make decisions that are best for her. At the end of the day, the only thing that can save our children may be parents exerting control for their own children.

  6. I have read several posts like this recently. As someone who is literally working with the CCSS every day and in a variety of ways (Educational psychology doctoral student U of u) I must finally pipe up and say that I don’t agree that the common core is where or criticism should be aimed. Yes, it was developed by business types. This is a problem that all educators from universities to grade schools recognize. As such, many of the standards lack solid research. Assessment is also a problem. We simply don’t know how to assess the core correctly and what should be done with the results of such assessment. This worries me. BUT……it is not the common core that is leading the commodification of education and students. It is legislatures–Utah’s and others. What many don’t realize about the core is that it isn’t pushing students to a higher level just to make them job competitive or career ready as much as it is attempting to correct the last 3 decades of educational decline. As a college instructor I embrace the college and career ready standards. (Not the whole core necessarily but the anchor standards.) So few of my freshman are strong thinkers, mindful citizens and good communicators. These traits are what we need in all of our citizens whether they want to become artists, mechanics or CEOs. Those who think the common core is the reason our nation is beginning to value education for money alone, are off the mark. This push comes from elected officials and overly vocal businessmen. I would love to see the students graduating from our high schools “college and career ready” as defined by the CCSS because such students just might have the mindfulness and thinking skills necessary to elect representatives that will actually address social problems in our culture that go beyond economics. Without raising educational standards, whether through the common core or a different method, we will continue to see the election of short sited, money driven government bodies that don’t have any idea how to place appropriate value on and properly fund education.

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