Obama’s USDOE: Appointed to Privatize. Period.

President Barack Obama pretends to be a friend of public education, but it just is not so. Sure, the White House offers a decorative promotional on K12 education; however, if one reads it closely, one sees that the Obama administration believes education (and, by extension, those educated) should serve the economy; that “higher standards and better assessments” and “turning around our lowest achieving schools” is No Child Left Behind (NCLB) leftover casserole, and that “keeping teachers in the classroom” can only elicit prolonged stares from those of us who know better.

All of these anti-public-education truths noted, the deeper story in what the Obama administration values regarding American education lay in its selection of US Department of Education (USDOE) appointees. Their backgrounds tell the story, and it isn’t a good one for the public school student, the community school and the career K12 teacher.

In this post, I examine the backgrounds and priorities of eight key USDOE appointees.  (Here is the complete USDOE list of senior officials, and here is the complete USDOE list of appointments.)

I just wanted a closer look. It’s what I do.

obama-duncan-e1416792589311Of course, there is Obama appointee Arne Duncan, US secretary of education, who had his big education reformer break in 2001 when then-CEO of Chicago Pubic Schools (CPS) Paul Vallas had a falling out with then-Mayor Richard Daley. Duncan had been playing professional basketball in Australia until 1991 then decided to return home to Chicago. A childhood friend, John W. Rogers, Jr., gave Duncan the job of “director” of the Ariel Education Initiative (AEI) and education based upon an “investment curriculum” modeled after the stock market. What Duncan actually did in his AEI “director” role is a mystery. However, in 2001, CPS being under mayoral control, Mayor Daley appointed Duncan as CPS CEO, a role in which Duncan served until 2008. (Documented in my book, A Chronicle of Echoes.)

To read Duncan’s USDOE bio, one would think that Duncan’s focus on standardized test scores and on closing traditional public schools and opening charters created a Utopian, market-driven CPS. However, if such were true, there would have been no reason for another Obama pal and former Obama admin chief of staff, current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, to slaughter CPS in the name of “reform.”

It seems that what Duncan had to most recommend him to Obama is Duncan’s willingness to do what the President requires.

Emma Vadhera, Duncan’s chief of staff, was formerly in charter management for Uncommon Schools. Prior to that, she was in USDOE as deputy assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development under Common Core State Standards (CCSS) clueless promoter, Carmel Martin, former assistant secretary at the U.S Department of Education in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development who “debated” in favor of CCSS in New York in September 2014 but did not even know CCSS was copyrighted.

Massie Ritsch, acting assistant secretary for communications and outreach, but who is leaving USDOE to help the glorified teacher temp agency, Teach for America (TFA) with (as Ritsch tweeted) the “vital work” of (in a Ritsch email) “communications, marketing, research and strategic partnerships.” TFA is trying to get complete control over its public image, which is suffering from exposure of its illusive success. Ritsch was previously USDOE’s deputy assistant secretary for external affairs and outreach, a position in which he directed “outreach to stakeholders, including education trade associations and the business community.” That’s what America needs: More business “stakeholder” involvement driving the American classroom.

Ritsch is to be replaced by USDOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications Development Jonathan Schorrwhose background includes being a NewSchools Venture Fund “partner” in San Francisco and “director of new initiatives” for KIPP charter schools (KIPP was was founded by TFA alums.)

Obama appointee Jim Shelton, deputy secretary of education, has previous connections to the Gates Foundation, NewSchools Venture Fund (whose current CEO, Stacey Childress, was also with the Gates Foundation), and McKinsey and Company. (Lots of ed reform folks originate with McKinsey and Company, including CCSS “lead architect” David Coleman, numerous individuals at the online education site, Khan Academy, and Louisiana Governor Bobby JindalRead here for more info on McKinsey’s influence on public education.)

Tyra Mariani, chief of staff, office of the deputy secretary, is one of Eli Broad’s“academy trained” education reform-promoting “graduates.” She ended up in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in 2003, the time that Duncan was CPS CEO (and the same time that CPS happened to be doing business with David Coleman’s assessment company, Grow Network). Prior to her appointment at USDOE, Mariani was executive director of test-score-focused New Leaders for New Schools (NLNS) in New Orleans.  (The NLNSexecutive board has both McKinsey and TFA connections.) When Mariani was appointed to USDOE in 2001, she was congratulated by the corporate-reform-promoting PR group, the K12 Search Group, Inc.

Nadya Chinoy Dabby, assistant deputy secretary, Office of Innovation and Improvement, is a former Broad Foundation investment advisor.

One more.

Obama appointee Ted Mitchell, under secretary of education, is the former CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund. In an article entitled, Ted Mitchell, Education Department Nominee, Has Strong Ties to Pearson, Privatization Movement, The Nation writer Lee Fang notes:

[Mitchell’s] ethics disclosure form shows that he was paid $735,300 for his role at NewSchools, which is organized as a non-profit. In recent years, he has served or is currently serving as a director to New Leaders, Khan Academy, California Education Partners, Teach Channel, ConnectED, Hameetman Foundation, the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, Silicon Schools, Children Now, Bellwether Partners, Pivot Learning Partners, EnCorps Teacher Training Program, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the Green DOT Public Schools.

In addition, Mitchell serves as an adviser to Salmon River Capital, a venture capital firm that specializes in education companies. Mitchell sits on the board of Parchment, an academic transcript start-up that is among Salmon River Capital’s portfolio.

Salmon River Capital helped create one of the biggest names in for-profit secondary education, Capella University. …

Update: After publication of this blog post, Mitchell e-mailed a statement noting that he could not comment on gainful employment regulations because he is in the “midst of a confirmation process.” He added that he is on “an informal advisory Board for Salmon” and that Pearson sponsored a summit for his organization in May. 

Well. There we have it. Eight fine Obama-serving individuals in key USDOE positions whose priorities (and professional experience) lay far and away from the traditional American classroom but who have been appointed to carry out the work of condemning and supplanting the traditional K12 American classroom with profitable “ventures” and disposable teachers by relentlessly testing the traditional classroom, collecting unprecedented amounts of data on it; labeling it a failure; replacing it with under-regulated, philanthropic-padded, market-driven “reform” that is also supposed to channel students to serve the market, and all the while adding the USDOE padding to their corporate-favoring resumes and advancing their own careers in the process.

Have I missed anything?

RELATED ARTICLE: Federal Secretary of Education: “To Phase Out the Authority of States”

Marine’s Daughter Gets Failing Grade for Refusing Islamic Indoctrination – The Thomas More Law Center Steps In

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) today announced its representation of John Kevin Wood, and his wife Melissa, in their battle with La Plata High School in Maryland over the Islamic indoctrination of their 11th grade daughter in her World History class. Their daughter was required to complete assignments where she had to affirm that “There is no god but Allah” and the other Five Pillars of Islam.

The case gained national attention when the school banned John Wood from entering school property after he objected to the religion of Islam being taught in his daughter’s history class and demanded that she be given an alternative assignment. The school refused. Wood, a former Marine who served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and lost friends in that action, saw firsthand the destruction caused in the name of Allah and that Islam is not “a religion of peace;” and he would not budge from his position.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) is a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. TMLC Senior Trial Counsel, Erin Mersino, and Maryland attorney, Michael F. Smith of The Smith Appellate Law Firm, represent the Wood family. Yesterday they filed a request for records relating to the case under Maryland’s Public Information Act.

On October 22, 2014, John Wood discovered that his daughter was being forced to repeat religious tenets of Islam as a part of her World History class assignment. She was required to write how the prophet Muhammad was visited by the Angel Gabriel and preached that there is only one true god, who is Allah. The assignment made her write that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah and that the Qur’an is holy text. The assignment required her to affirm that “Allah is the same god that is worshipped in Christianity and Judaism” and that the “Qur’an is the word of Allah revealed to Mohammad in the same way that Jews and Christians believe the Torah and the Gospels were revealed to Moses and the New Testament writers.” The assignment also forced young women such as the Woods’ daughter, to fill in the following sentences: “Men are the managers of the affairs of women” and “Righteous women are therefore obedient.”

When John Wood discovered the Islamic propaganda and indoctrination, he was rightfully outraged, and that evening unsuccessfully tried to contact the school by phone to voice his objections. Wood witnessed firsthand the destruction caused in the name of Allah and knows Islam is not “a religion of peace.” He served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and lost friends in that action. On 9-11, Wood responded as a firefighter to the smoldering Pentagon. He refused to allow La Plata High School to subject his daughter to Islamic indoctrination despite the threatened academic consequences.

The next day, October 23rd,Wood had a phone conversation with a La Plata vice principal where he again reiterated his objections to his daughter being indoctrinated into the religion of Islam He asked how the religion of Islam could be taught when schools are prohibited from teaching the religion of Christianity.

The following day, October 24th, John Wood spoke with the high school principal. The principal refused to allow an alternative assignment and threatened that if his daughter, a high school junior with college hopes, did not complete the religious assignment on Islam, she would receive a failing grade.

Commenting on the case, Richard Thompson, TMLC’s President and Chief Counsel stated: “Adding insult to injury, in an arrogant and unnecessary display of power, La Plata’s principal issued a written “No Trespass” notice, which denied this former Marine who stood in harm’s way defending our country including the principal and her staff, any access to school grounds. The school’s actions not only dishonored John Wood’s service, but the service of all men and women in our Armed Forces who defended our nation from Islamic violence. True to his Marine training, John Wood stood his ground. He did not retreat. Yes, his daughter has received a failing grade in her World History Class. But the story is not yet over.”

The Never-Ending Quest for Utopia: CONTROL by Fraud!

20141116_gruberdetail

Jonathan Gruber, Professor MIT, Obamacare architect.

I hope you had an opportunity to listen to one of the many recordings of Jonathan Gruber, designer of Obamacare. Jonathan told the world that Americans are STUPID – and therefore must be lied to, for their own good – in order to pass new laws designed to CONTROL them!! (READERS: HEADS UP! You will see CONTROL a LOT in this article!)

Jonathan Gruber and Obamacare: What His Quotes Really Tell Us … Please do not think his remarks are limited to Obamacare. This is the commonly-held view of most of the Regime, and of the Elite.

  1. YOU are not capable of making your own decisions.
  2. YOU are not capable of controlling YOUR life.
  3. YOU need someone else to CONTROL you, to determine YOUR Destiny.
  4. YOU need the Government!

I disagree, the terminology is wrong! Americans are not stupid; they are IGNORANT.

Ignorant…of what is REALLY going on behind the scenes. Ignorant…because the MSM (Main Stream Media) CONROL what they SEE in the News! Ignorant…because the American people…do not learn the BASICS in school… that the Elite CONTROL. There is a big difference. The sentence that hit me the most was when he said, “Americans have limited economic knowledge.” Therefore it is easy to fool them. Not one journalist asked, WHY?

The ROOT CAUSES of America’s problems are SCHOOLS and the Education Systems…under Elite CONTROL!

All Americans attend some form of school for the first 8 years of their lives. If schools concentrated on what they were supposed to, like reading, writing, and math – Americans would not be ignorant of economics. But instead of Basic Fundamentals, schools now contain so many social programs, I am amazed that a child can learn anything relevant at all!!

List of social programs in Schools:

Today, schools focus on the (right brain) – which enhances Emotional Responses for situations…

When a child is taught to focus on feelings and values…Eliminating Reason and Logic…COMMON SENSE and RESPONSIBILITY – LOSE OUT! (C’MON NOW, AREN’T YOU DISGUSTED?)

Instead, frustration and confusion often leading to temper tantrums – whereby our young people turn to Drugs…and a total cultural breakdown are the results.

Lying to make a point, or to sway an opinion – becomes the Societal Norm.

The desired results (outcome-based) become more important – than THE TRUTH, or the Ramifications of the ACT. This is why progressives focus on “Tomorrow.”

They can not tolerate the results of their actions, they do not filter in or assess the wake of the destruction created by their untested, unproven projects. When they are discovered and found out for their failed plans…they are angry, indignant, mad as hell, and the problem needs an investigation…None of which ever happens.

Remember Hillary’s famous remark: “What difference at this point, what difference does it make?”

The American Public is Ignorant. Ignorance occurs when knowledge is OMITTED, hidden, and conveniently…not provided. Common Core Standards (CCS) enhances Ignorance!

Confusion, leading to VIOLENCE – is often the result. The regime wants confusion and violence – because confusion will lead to MORE CONTROL!

They tell us if only we did this differently…spent more time explaining…spent more money…(That’s YOUR tax money, by the way! – another famous method of CONTROL)

They never once believe that their policies are at fault! The quest for Utopia is never-ending!

Progressives understand that if Americans knew history and understood history repeats, Americans would FORMULATE A DEFENSE…and STOP THE DESTRUCTION! That’s why CCS is VOID of American HISTORY! CCS teaches UN History!

For Example: U.S. Civil War, WWI, or WW2 are NOT even covered in CCS. CCS does teach the UN Treaty of the Seas and other key UN events. This is all a result of Bill Gates’ meddling in our education system, and making money from a contract with the UN that he arranged. Who gave him this Authority?

Gates signed a contract – with UNESCO to implement WORLDWIDE COMMON CORE STANDARDS!

Think of all the money Gates will make, forcing all of the SHEEPLE… YOUR KIDS… to think as HE commands!

That is why Progressives focus on the future…THEIR UTOPIA of CONTROL! They “kick the can” down the road, and take no responsibility or accountability…for their actions. Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow… Elites can CONTROL the future – but not the past.

They told us: Forget about No Child Left Behind (NCLB). (It was awful, kids didn’t learn!) Instead, the Elites said…We need more control…called cradle-to-grave education, and more money for technology. Scrap that old NCLB failure and let’s do a new program called “CCS” or Common Core Standards. We will give CCS more values, more feelings, more confusion, more lies. Elites never believe that the structure they promote is the problem…

Students have no foundation and can never draw conclusions by relying on their past experiences – because they never learn about the past, never learn TRUE U.S. History.

Is CCS tested? No. Will it work? No, but no one will notice – because the Elite will change the name in 4 more years. Vendors will get rich. The Elite get richer, and the middle class DISAPPEARS and becomes THE POOR. Children learn their Rights come from the Government. Americans live the Hunger Games.

In order to transform something you must first destroy it. In order to destroy it you must LIE to the people, so they will give you their power. Someone can only have power over you if you let them. We let the elite rule because that is what we are taught.

Our Ignorance…allows our rulers to subjugate us.

The Elite tell us what they want to accomplish. They want people controlled, so these people, now called “useful idiots” can be controlled and ruled in a socialist (communist) state.

How do you CONTROL 331 million people in the United States? You LIE TO THEM.

Consider the Elite’s “Playbook”: How to create a Social State, by Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: There are 8 levels of CONTROL (there’s that word again!) – that must be obtained before you are able to create a Social State. The first is the most important:

  1. Healthcare: Control healthcare and you control the people.
  2. Poverty: Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
  3. Debt: Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.
  4. Gun Control: Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way, you are able to create a Police State.
  5. Welfare: Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income)
  6. Education: Take control of what people read and listen to, take control of what children learn in school.
  7. Religion: Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools.
  8. Class Warfare: Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent, and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.

Every American program is built on LIES… (Are YOU Spitting MAD, Yet?)

It does not matter what Industry, THE RESULTS ARE ALWAYS THE SAME!

  • Energy: Fossil fuels, the cheapest form of energy – is demonized.
  • Climate: Unprepared people die (which is OK with the regime) – or rely completely on their government.
  • Conservation: We will run out. YOU must control your usage – not the regime, just you.
  • Food: Inspect, regulate, control the food industry – putting producers out of business.
  • Water: We have a water shortage. We will run out. Not likely, since 75% of the earth is water.
  • School: Eliminate and alter history.
  • Foreign policy: Despise our allies, and romance our enemies.
  • Our kids are told America is at fault, humans destroy the planet.

This one is a Whopper of a LIE:

• Humans can control the weather and “make a difference” in Global Warming.

Remember THIS? – this just happened 4 DAYS ago! US-China climate accord gives hope for global agreement | Fox News. One has to consider: WHY is the U.S. making SO many concessions to “CARBON EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS” when China simply has “GOALS” to reach for. The Angry GOP Backlash to Obama’s Historic Climate Accord – The earth is entering a Cold Cycle. Who is warning you? Telling you? Preparing you? Get Prepared!! Climatologist: 30-Year Cold Spell Strikes Earth.

The problem with the Truth is… ONCE you learn it – you can’t UNLEARN it.

Now comes the hard part. You must share the TRUTH with others! Americans have a perfect opportunity to come together and say:

“I will not comply… I will not continue paying on a contract I know to be a LIE.”

– OR the likes of Gruber are RIGHT…Americans can no longer be told the truth, and are incapable of making their own decisions.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. TALK and TEACH – Discuss US History with your kids. Incorporate history knowledge, books, TV historical movies, and articles in your conversations with your kids. Family discussions are CRITICAL, because your kids are NOT LEARNING about American Exceptionalism. They are NOT LEARNING about their Rights, Liberties and Freedoms they were born with as a FREE person. They are NOT LEARNING about American History. Talk with your kids in the presence of older people that lived through the Great Depression, WW2, Kennedy Assassination, Vietnam, Watergate, Iraq War…and other such key U.S. history events that impacted the lives of millions of Americans. Teach them about the CONTROL that the ELITE have over their Schools, and teach them to think independently…not to be part of the HIVE mentality. Remember, those that do not learn from History…are Doomed to repeat it.
  2. ACT – Contact your Representatives in State, Federal and local legislators. Pick an industry above. Find the committee investigating, and tell them the contract is a FRAUD, therefore Stop Payments. If they do not listen, then tell them this is the Last Vote they will ever get from you!
  3. READ – As we enter the Thanksgiving season, take time to read American Minute with Bill Federer, about the Failure of Communism in America. It failed then, and it will fail now. The rest is up to us.
  4. • Sign our petition: StopFundingFraud.com

Too Dumb for Democracy? Global ignorance vs. local knowledge by B.K. Marcus

Should Americans feel bad that we are the second-most-ignorant country in the world? (Italy is number one.)

Our penultimate status made the news recently, after research group Ipsos MORI announced the results of the first international study “to look at the gap between perception and reality” on questions of social policy. The issues included teenage pregnancy, immigration, and unemployment.

The result of the study, as one reporter summarized in the Huffington Post UK, is that “everyone is wrong about almost everything.”

In particular, those polled consistently overestimated the prevalence of all the groups they were asked about. Apparently, most of us believe there are far more unemployed immigrant pregnant teenage girls among us than is actually the case.

“Such misconceptions are typical around the world,” according to the Guardian’s report on the study, “but they can have a significant impact as politicians aim to focus on voter perceptions, not on the actual data.”

Earlier studies, focused on American voters, reveal even more embarrassing results.

For example, according to political scientist Jeffrey Friedman, “at the height of the Cold War, 62 percent of the US public failed to realize that the USSR was not a member of NATO.” If you believe that a healthy democracy requires an informed public to watch over its elected officials, you may find it disheartening that “seventy percent of the public doesn’t know the names of either of their state’s senators, nor can most people name either congressional candidate in their district at the height of the campaign season,” according to a Cato policy report, “Public Ignorance and Democracy.”

But maybe particular statistics and specific names don’t matter as much as the principles being debated and voted on. If so, there’s still reason for concern: “sixty-nine percent of the public believe,” Friedman informs us, “that price increases are mainly caused by companies manipulating the market to raise their profits.”

If you’re reading this article, you probably already know better. As far as basic economic policy is concerned, I shouldn’t speak of us and our ignorance. We’re really talking about them and theirs.

If the vast majority of them — the putative decision makers in a democracy — don’t understand the most basic principles of cause and effect, what hope is there for our economy?

Should we be trying to educate them? Of course. But despite hundreds of years of understanding on the consequences of price fixing, and at least decades of effort to disseminate that understanding, voters in four states decided recently to raise the legal minimum wage within those states. They simply don’t believe that they are voting against the interests of the poorest workers; they think they’re helping them!

Ignorance, like knowledge, tends to be specialized. We all know highly educated people who haven’t a clue how prices and wages work — or what damage is done to the most vulnerable in the economy when someone tries to engineer the price system. The problem isn’t that Americans (and Italians, and voters in every country) are “wrong about almost everything.” The problem is that they’re being asked to make decisions outside those fields in which they have plenty of knowledge.

The next time you’re in the grocery store, look around. Would you rather everyone in the store vote to determine collectively what goes in everyone else’s shopping carts? Or should they stick with choosing what goes in their own carts?

We can’t know what everyone’s individual wants and needs are. Nor can we know the relevant theory and history — or the current facts and statistics — of every policy decision in an ever-expanding political realm. We have to work hard enough just to keep up in our own fields. Worse than that, we have no real incentive to divert effort from our lives and specialties to learn the ins and outs of other areas in which we have, individually, almost no chance of making an impact.

As Bryan Caplan points out in his work on “rational irrationality,” getting an issue like the minimum wage terribly wrong takes no work and has the immediate payoff of feeling like you’re on the side of the angels. It also solidifies your standing within your own ideological tribe. Bothering to understand supply and demand (or knowing the names of your senators, or the percentage of teenage girls who are pregnant) offers no practical reward after you pull the lever in the election booth.

“Irrationality, like ignorance, is sensitive to price,” Caplan notes, “and false beliefs about politics … are cheap.” Mistakes are more costly in private life: “If you underestimate the costs of excessive drinking,” to take one example, “you can ruin your life.”

Where either costs or benefits are high, people will be more responsible about what they know. In the game of majority rules, costs and benefits for individual voters are quite low. No amount of education can change the rules of that game.

The problem with democracy, then, isn’t the ignorant masses. It’s that the masses, as masses, have a great impact on those policies where they are most ignorant — and where they’re least likely to improve their understanding.

If you criticize democracy, many will think you’re suggesting a more authoritarian alternative. But would a dictator or a planning board of experts do any better than the voting majority?

In 1945, F.A. Hayek wrote “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” demonstrating that no central planner can ever manage an economy as well as the decentralized market of private property and free prices.

Planning boards (and research firms such as Ipsos MORI) focus on statistical aggregates, but the sort of information that needs to be coordinated in a complex system cannot be captured in a statistic. It can’t be captured in any form of centralized knowledge. What Hayek was reminding his fellow economists — or perhaps informing them about for the first time — is that most of the relevant data in a dynamic process involve “local knowledge,” an often temporary and sometimes seemingly trivial form of information that can only be held by the individuals who immediately benefit from it — or pay the price for getting it wrong.

“We need decentralization,” wrote Hayek, “because only thus can we insure that the knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place will be promptly used.” In contrast to the kind of knowledge that Ipsos MORI and Caplan have studied, “The most significant fact about [the market] system is … how little the individual participants need to know in order to be able to take the right action.”

What is true for the complexity of an economy is necessarily true for the even more complex society of which the market is a part: “The problem which we meet here,” Hayek wrote, “is by no means peculiar to economics but arises in connection with nearly all truly social phenomena, with language and with most of our cultural inheritance.”

Spreading the decision out among millions of voters does not make the plan any less centralized.

If we care about the gap between voters’ perception and the realities relevant to so-called social policy, it is precisely because these social issues have been taken out of the spontaneous order of the social realm and turned over to the world of policy, where engineered solutions do as much damage to society as engineered prices do to an economy. Ignorance and bad theory can make the damage worse, but the truth is that the most enlightened planners with the most accurate data still can’t match the results of the invisible hand. Why? Because the “invisible hand” is really shorthand for real people acting on local knowledge.

If voluntary society already contains within it the means of directing specialized knowledge to the benefit of the general welfare while minimizing the consequences of our ignorance, then the solution to our irreparable ignorance is simple: we need less government policy and more voluntary interaction.

20140926_BKMarcusAndSonThumbABOUT B.K. MARCUS

B.K. Marcus is managing editor of The Freeman.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Eighteen Essay book ‘Common Ground on Common Core’ released

EssayCover_v9Resounding Books today officially announced publication of Common Ground on Common Core: Voices from across the Political Spectrum Expose the Realities of the Common Core State Standards. The 18-essay volume uniquely gathers 20 top education experts and activists. The authors hold widely varied political and ideological viewpoints, yet they stand firmly united against the Common Core.

Standards expert Sandra Stotsky and prominent mathematician R. James Milgram are among the book’s authors. Both served on the national Common Core validation committee but refused to sign o’ on the standards. Former U.S. Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, a passionate advocate for true education in his own rite, graciously contributed.

Edited to ensure that readers of any political stripe could inform and empower themselves and others in the growing fight to push back against the controversial education initiative, Common Ground on Common Core enables understanding and appreciation not just of the basics but also crucial anti-Common Core arguments and insights they might not otherwise encounter, because those concerns have been raised principally on only one side of the political continuum.

“Common Ground on Common Core takes the fight against Common Core to new levels by encouraging open dialogue and alliances across political lines,” asserts Resounding Books’ Founder and Editor, Kirsten Lombard. “Interacting with Common Ground’s many authors—who self-identify as everything from radical Leftists to social conservatives to libertarians—has made it clear to me that we all have a lot more in common than we’d previously been led to believe.”

The book stands out in yet another way. All of the authors agreed to forego royalties so that Resounding Books, established in early 2013 as a super political action committee, could dedicate a significant percentage of the book’s proceeds to funding anti-Common Core activism at the state and local levels. “Resounding Books is strongly committed to encouraging and funding citizen activism around the subjects on which we publish,” Lombard asserts. “We look forward to realizing that goal.”

In addition to Stotsky and Milgram, other contributors to Common Ground on Common Core who will be more familiar to readers include Ze’ev Wurman, who helped to review the standards for the State of California, education researcher Christopher H. Tienken (author, The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth, and Lies) as well as activists Kris L. Nielsen (author, Children of the Core), Jane Robbins (American Principles Project), Ceresta Smith (United Opt Out National), William A. Estrada (HSLDA), and Shane Vander Hart (Truth in American Education).

There will also be plenty of new and valuable discoveries for readers among the the essay collection has already begun to receive nods from key individuals in various political corners. In addition to Ron Paul, for example, Democratic New York State Senator George Latimer (Dist. 37) describes the book as “a thoughtful presentation of why we must have a slow, deliberate government that always asks who will benefit when we implement any new programs, but especially in education.” Dr. Gary Thompson, a Utah psychologist who has become known for his opposition to the experimental nature of Common Core assessments, calls the book a “brilliant, diverse compilation…which forever will put to rest the notion that Common Core critics emanate exclusively from the Right Wing.”

Lombard

Kirsten Lombard

EDITORS NOTE:Common Ground on Common Core is currently available in print, with two digital formats planned. It is available for purchase on the Resounding Books website. Bulk orders are also possible. To interview editor Kirsten Lombard or any of the book’s authors, telephone Resounding Books at 608.467.0877 or email kirsten@resoundingbooks.org.

No More Common Core Video: Another Brick in The Wall!

Christel Swasey writes, “This music video, written by Ohio’s Anti Common Core Club, rewritten to the tune of Pink Floyd’s Brick in the Wall, is sure to be a hit nationwide.  Thanks, Ohio.”

A music video project by the Anti-Common Core Club made possible by Matthew Goforth and Frank Yanno.

EDITORS NOTE: Please Support the Anti-Common Core Club athttps://www.facebook.com/groups/AntiC… and buy a T-Shirt http://teespring.com/anti-common-core….

Why the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Tom Tryon just doesn’t seem to get it

Opinion Editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune Tom Tryon did a column titled “Post-election enmity won’t help schools.” Tryon used the word enmity when referring to Bridget Ziegler, a newly elected member of the Sarasota County School Board.

Enmity is defined as, “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” You know like being opposed to things that are absurd, and people who are bad or evil.

Tryon is concerned that  in the local community there is “a palpable sense of hostility, enmity and animus.” Tryon wants to be the “can’t we all just get along” Rodney King of Sarasota, Florida. You know, think alike, be alike, don’t stand out from the crowd for your ideas and ideals. Perhaps Tryon should write a letter to President Obama on his enmity toward Republicans, rather than picking on a working mother who is doing her civic duty.

Tryon wants this new school board member to go along to get along. To fully embrace Common Core State Standards (a.k.a. Florida Standards) even though she campaigned against it because teachers and parents are against it. In the name of just getting along Tryon wants this newly elected school board member to abandon those who have enmity toward Common Core.

He wants this school board member to embrace government secrecy and behind closed door “workshop” meetings in the name of being nice.

He wants this new school board member to lovingly embrace the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association that repeatedly used the district email system, even after Superintendent Lori White sent out a warning that it violates district policy, to defeat her. Perhaps district staff member Gary Ferguson, who used his office and the district email system to support Ziegler’s opponent, didn’t get the memo, which he probably wrote?

What about the district staff and SC/TA enmity toward Ziegler?

Tryon wants this school board member to forget what she stands for and stands against in the name of uniformity of purpose.

Tryon wants this school board member to abandon those parents, teachers, administrators and citizens who voted for her in the name of friendship with those on the School Board who openly and publicly attacked her at a behind closed doors school board “workshop.”

Tryon wants this newly elected school board member to forget how her fellow school board member Democrat Shirley Brown and her fellow Republicans Caroline Zucker and Jane Goodwin did everything in their power to undermine her election. Brown used the school district email system to fund raise for her opponent. Zucker brought her opponent to a North Port Republican Party event as her guest. Goodwin did a robo-call endorsement of her opponent. Isn’t three against one bullying?

But let’s let bygones be bygones. Just slip into bed with the enemy and all will be right as rain.

Abandon your principles, says Tryon, and you will be loved. Tryon has one thing right, the 2014 mid-term election is over. But the bad policies of the school board continue. Policies like:

  1. Embracing Common Core State Standards (Florida Standards) that takes away every teachers ability to teach. A centralized one size fits all education system.
  2. Holding school board workshops off camera, throwing government transparency under the bus.
  3. Holding SC/TA negotiations at their offices rather than in the open, live and on camera at the district so all can see.
  4. Putting the tax referendum on an off year March ballot (thereby suppressing the vote), while costing taxpayers $500,000, rather than during the regular November election cycle.
  5. Teaching to the test as required by No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top federal legislation.
  6. Allowing school board members, the district staff, SC/TA and others to use the taxpayer funded district email system for political purposes.

Tryon seems to want a 5-0 vote on everything district staff brings to the board for action. Heaven forbid that any school board member ever questions any district action or school board policy because it is considered unfair, wrong or just plain bad policy by parents, students and ordinary citizens.

Maybe Tryon needs to tell Brown, Zucker and Goodwin to stop the enmity toward those who don’t think like them such as parents and students?

We do agree with a couple of Tryon’s comments like Brown, Zucker and Goodwin avoiding “creating the appearance that the School Board is their private club.” We also like Tryon’s idea, which he took from us,  to make “Union leaders to help themselves and their members by creating their own email system.”

Maybe Tom Tryon is actually reading what we write? No, that can’t be it.

Enmity is a good thing. Marching in lockstep is a bad thing, just as it is in Washington, D.C. and at Sarasota school board meetings. Different ideas must be heard, discussed in a civil manner and then voted on. That is the Constitutional Republican way.

Tryon is trying to use his editorial pen to pound a round peg into a square hole. Good luck with that Tom.

Scary News about Common Core Education

Irony Alert, Grit, True Grit, Academic Politboro Punishing Bill Maher.  The release of the Department of Education report “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century” in 2013 seems to have had a residual effect.  The report claimed that strictly academic factors were not as important as certain personality traits, like “grit,” for success in school–and life.  At the risk of suffering the same opprobrium as British English professor Thomas Docherty for being too “ironic,” and “sighing and using negative body language,” Dissident Prof (former English professor, who like other English professors specializes in “irony”) will be ironic about “grit.”

“Grit” is now a part of Common Core and college entrance evaluation, replacing old-fashioned criteria, like knowledge.

True, True GritTrue, True Grit Most people of a certain age will associate “grit” with the 1969 movie True Grit, about the Wild West and revenging a girl’s father’s killer, starring John Wayne. John Wayne would be surprised that the word is used in the context of education, including fashion education.

Fashion education was the focus of a recent White House event.  First Ladies have always focused on fashion, of course.  Think of Jackie O and Chanel and Dior, and Nancy Reagan and Oscar de la Renta.

But fashion has entered a new era in the current White House, with student-designers credited with “imagining” a dress.  Washington Post writer and fashion critic Robin Givhan led her article earlier this month with the news about a fashion education event at the White House focusing on the newsworthy topic of …. ba da dum, drum roll…the First Lady’s shoulders.  Dissident Prof is being serious and not ironic.  She is quoting the first paragraph in full:

For a Wednesday afternoon luncheon in the State Dining Room, first lady Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless navy dress with a full skirt and a fitted bodice. It had a racer-style back and a sensuous front that showed off her shoulders. The relatively simple frock didn’t carry the weight of an inaugural gown but it was particularly significant nonetheless, because it was the dress she chose to wear to the first White House fashion education workshop.

The event was educational in nature, intended to give “a leg up to aspiring fashion designers and stylists, writers and entrepreneurs from 14 East Coast high schools and colleges.”  Dissident Prof does not recognize the names of most of the designers–and also does not follow the logic of Givhan’s sentence, “But Obama’s dress made it clear just whom she wanted to be the stars of the day: the students.”  She supposes, though, that that’s because she is still used to the old-fashioned linear literacy and has not become used to “visual literacies,” including clothes.  Alas, Dissident Prof cannot read the “fashions” that WP’s fashion critic can read.

New Verb Form: Or maybe Dissident Prof has trouble recognizing new verb forms, as in this sentence: “Her dress was imagined by Natalya Koval, a student from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, who was the winner of a design competition.”

What does it mean that a dress is “imagined”?  Is it sewn? Is it designed?  Is it drawn?  Does the student-designer imagine it and then somehow transfer the imagined image by osmosis?  Is any skill even involved?  (Although she excelled in English, Dissident Prof also had her sewing handiwork displayed in the Home Economics hall of Benjamin Franklin High School: Her 5/8-inch seams were always 5/8-inches!)

Are the fashion imaginers even expected to be able to draw or sew?  Dissident Prof is perplexed.  The First Lady, in prepared remarks, said that “the clothes you see in the the magazine covers are really just the finished product in what is a very long, very complicated and very difficult process.”

Vogue editor Anna Wintour is quoted as crediting Obama with changing the perception of fashion as being “unserious.”  Said Wintour:

Fashion can be a powerful instrument for social change. . . . It allows us to think about who we are as individuals and as a society.

Wintour failed to explain how fashion can be a “powerful instrument for social change.”

Dissident Prof declares right off the bat that there shall be no jokes, smirks, or comments, though, about irony.  To wit, the concluding paragraph of this very important article about education:

Spanx and confidence: And as for the first lady, who named Cornejo as one of her favorite designers and declared her affection for Spanx: “Fashion plays an important role in my confidence.”

We turn now to new college entrance criteria and “grit” and similar hallmarks.  At the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, as reported in USA Today recently, personality tests now are being administered for college entrance. Jeff Fuller, director of admissions at the University of Houston, says colleges are looking “for reasons to admit a student.”  No doubt.

It’s not only happening at small technology institutes.  Purdue University admissions director Pam Horne is quoted as saying,

I think that there are many of us who are very interested in the noncognitive factors that can help predict a student’s success. And we know what some of those might be: perseverance, goal orientation, maturity in general, time management, self-determination — which are difficult to measure.

The courage of hunting down your father’s killer in the Wild West pales in comparison.

Speaking of courage, remember when comedian Bill Maher called the 9/11 terrorists “courageous”?  Well, Mr. Maher has now joined company with those like Condoleeza Rice and George Will.  Yes, formerly favorite comedian of the college set has now found disfavor and been “disinvited.” University of California/Berkeley chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks, in a rare administrative move, however, overruled the student group that blocked Maher’s invitation as commencement speaker for December.  Maher is known for his vicious attacks on conservatives and Catholics, but now finds himself exiled for deviating from the politically correct path of the university Politboro.

Will this end when one of the professors espousing ever more refined standards of political correctness in the classroom finds himself or herself as the object of disinvitation by students?  The irony of all this is that one can never be politically correct enough.  Perhaps, we need to start teaching about the history of communism and worry less about “grit.”  One of the fundamentals would be the government’s obligation to enforce contracts, and not allow student “loan forgiveness” for “public service” workers.

Sarasota School Board member Caroline Zucker politically attacks fellow board member during public meeting

open school board meetings

For a larger view click on the infographic.

Sarasota County Florida School Board member Bridget Ziegler introduced board agenda item # 7 for discussion during the official Sarasota County School Board workshop meeting held on October 21st, 2014. The item addresses the workshop meetings the school board holds off camera in a small room to discuss specific agenda items (see infographic on right). Ziegler wants the entire meeting, including workshops, televised in the name of government transparency. The meeting and discussion quickly turns political.

During the off line, but public, workshop board member Caroline Zucker attacks fellow school board member Ziegler about her campaign contributions. In the room during the workshop was Ken Marsh, Ziegler’s opponent for the District 1 seat. Marsh was subsequently defeated during the November 4th mid-term election. Ziegler stresses (multiple times) that the workshop is an inappropriate venue for conversations about her campaign while they are supposed to be discussing taxpayer issues concerning education.

Many question what does a discussion about school board transparency have to do with Ziegler’s campaign?

Board member Brown then says being away from the cameras is “the only way to have a candid conversation.” Brown talks about Ziegler’s campaign website. Zucker and Brown appear not to want to meet in the sunshine, i.e. be live on television for their “candid discussions.” Brown states 30% of Sarasotans don’t care about public schools. Superintendent Lori White does not want these meetings televised because “staff can’t get lunch or take a break.” White says “we don’t have enough staff to do the two shifts.” White says she likes it the way it is.

Brown then attacks Ziegler because the issue of holding workshop meeting in public is on her campaign website as an issue of concern. Brown then accuses Ziegler of wanting transparency from the board but not herself, because she will not release her donor list. Brown states sunshine laws “tie her hands.” Brown wants the board to come together, but does not want to do it in the open, live and on air.

Brown wants the board to come together but bullies a school board member at this meeting. Are diverse views not welcomed by Brown and Zucker?

Brown, Zucker and Superintendent White do not appear to want government transparency. Ziegler does. Listen to the entire discussion of the meeting:

The Catalyst Message: Are God’s children returning Him to public schools? [+Video]

There is a student lead high-school campus coalition that is bringing God back to public school campuses across the United States. It is a living, breathing adventure. A real life adventure as explained by Jean Carlos Diaz in the below video.

Watch Jean Carlos Diaz explain this movement, a grand adventure:

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Jean Carlos Diaz

Alice Patterson, President of Justice at the Gate, reports:

A coalition of youth pastor networks and students forged a movement that is touching high school campuses across the nation. It started with a freshman at Blaine High School in Minnesota in January 2011. Jean Carlos Diaz, born in Puerto Rico and raised in Iowa then Minnesota is the catalyst that Jean Carlos used to start the movement. Jean Carlos attended See You at the Pole at his high school. That led him to a Bible study of 25 students that dwindled to 6 by year end. When the leaders graduated, he was asked to lead what was left of the group. Shortly after that the group went on a missions trip to Kansas City. They were fired up, sad to leave and came home with a heart to impact their school. So they had a sleepover with three guys where they worshipped, prayed and dreamt all night. They wanted to pray something big, so they prayed, “Jesus, would You finish the Great Commission in our generation?”

At the same time they were praying for the Lord to use them on their campus, a network of youth ministers called Allies Ministries, led by Dan Buschow in Minneapolis, were praying for the youth of Minnesota. They sensed that the Lord wanted them to keep praying and not initiate anything.

God was doing the initiating through Jean Carlos. From the very beginning, everything was student-led and student-driven. It was a movement for students by students. We had learned from our mistakes and were able to teach and train other students. Since we were only teenagers in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of the church, God was the only one who could get the credit. We didn’t want to be a class about God; we wanted to be an agent of change in our school. We changed our focus, our name and started the first Catalyst.

As youth pastors prayed and waited, students stepped up and led. Shortly after that, a coalition between Catalyst and Allies Ministries, other shepherds and caring adults was formed. The first year Catalyst grew from 1 school to over 15 and from 30 students to over 500. Catalyst has now grown to over 50 groups and is spreading past Minnesota to 20 in Iowa and to Illinois, New York, Maryland, Arizona, California and Texas.

Read more.

“Tanscending” the idea of “American History” and Forgetting D-Day

Recently, Cal Thomas, in what has become a journalistic ritual, bemoaned the loss of knowledge about American history in a column titled “D-Day=Dumb Day for Many.” This historical occasion was the 70th anniversary of D-Day on June 6. Thomas cited a study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni that showed only 70 percent of recent college graduates knew that D-Day occurred during World War II. This and other dismal statistics revealing historical ignorance were attributed to the fact that very few colleges require survey courses on American history.

But Thomas, and others similarly concerned, might be surprised to learn that not only is American history being overlooked, but that a movement among many history professors has been underway to eliminate the very category of “American history,” and even the idea of the United States as a legitimate nation. While attending the annual conference of the Organization of American Historians, I learned about such “reframing of history.”

The OAH claims to be “the largest professional society dedicated to the teaching and study of American history,” but its members seem to have a limited view and that is of the United States as an overwhelmingly oppressive, unjust – and illegitimate – nation.

This year’s conference theme, “Crossing Borders,” focused on slavery and segregation in the past, and on supposed persecution of “immigrants” (illegal aliens) in the present. Assumptions reigned among the panels I sat in on: ACORN was good, objections to forced busing for school integration were bad, the 1964 presidential election that allowed Lyndon Johnson to institute metastasizing federal programs was a positive counterforce to the election of Richard Nixon and the rise of the “right-wing.” The Plenary Session, “Remembering and Reassessing the Mississippi Summer Project” included activists from that summer of 1964, Dorie Ladner, Rita Bender, and Charles E. Cobb, singing praises to Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, Tom Hayden, John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Noam Chomsky, and Frantz Fannon. In the sprawling vendors area, publishers plied books for high school and college, including the graphic adaptation of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of American Empire, Eric Foner’s Who Owns History?, and paeans to Margaret Sanger, Mother Jones, Hugo Chavez, and Earth Day.

The strategies for teaching to the new A.P. U.S. History exam, discussed in one panel, were in keeping with the conference’s theme. But the genesis for such anti-Americanism became apparent in another session called “Internationalizing American History: Assessment and Future Directions”; it focused on the deliberate effort to teach American history from a “cosmopolitan” perspective, with that meaning incorporating the views of foreigners who do not believe in the legitimacy of this nation. At that session, I heard the phrase “what used to be called” prefacing “Early American History,” “the American Revolution,” and the “creation of the American republic.” The promotion of Common Core as presumably “internationally benchmarked” is no coincidence: historians have been working on imposing the “cosmopolitan” perspectives of history, a specific aspect of Common Core criticized by George Will.

The Prevailing View

Panelist Jane Kamensky of Brandeis University started off by declaring that American history needs to be “rescued from not only the national but from the nationalist framework” and that we must study a “diasporic” revolution involving “freedom struggles against imperial masters” of indigenous peoples.

Johann Neem of Western Washington University dissented by offering Hegelian theories about particularity and relationships as an argument for retaining the category of “nation.” He noted that works of the eighteenth-and-nineteenth-centuries are filled with “tolerance” for diversity, even though our national identity is mostly white Protestant. Neem is author of Creating a Nation of Joiners: Democracy and Civil Society in Early National Massachusetts.

The next panelist, Kristin Hoganson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, challenged the idea that American history should be a national history. She cited three books that reveal how “partial” our histories have been: Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States & the Philippines, and Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State. Apparently, no history of “what used to be called the United States” is complete without a reference to occupation, imperialism, blood, and empire. Hoganson gave credit to Thomas Bender (New York University), the commentator on the panel, for making a “powerful case” for the “need for more transimperial history,” with his book, Rethinking American History in a Global Age.

Kiran Klaus Patel of Maastricht University in the Netherlands suggested a more European, “transnational” approach to the study of American history, and destabilizing boundaries. Fortunately, to him, in the 1980s and 1990s cultural history transformed all of history, including diplomatic history.

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu of The Ohio State University, where she has a joint appointment in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, asserted that there is need for more “global, gendered analysis,” for example, of how women opposed the Vietnam War, the subject of her second book, Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era. Her first book was Dr. Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity.

Thomas Bender, considered the founder of the “transnational turn,” approvingly asserted, “The panel has embraced the international historiographical approach”– “except for one skeptic on the panel” (Neem). Bender suggested pushing students in the new direction of “entanglement with the planet, people, and nations,” requiring them to learn foreign languages like Arabic and Chinese. Jobs in the future, he said, will be in history that transcends the idea of “American history.”

The History of the Transnational Turn of History

I was shocked that history professors would want to eliminate American history as such. But then I learned that this “transnational” effort began in 1996. Under the direction of Bender, the Organization of American Historians and New York University’s International Center for Advanced Studies jointly established the Project on Internationalizing the Study of American History. They then met in Villa La Pietra, New York University’s Center in Florence, Italy, in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000.

According to “The LaPietra Report,” the historians spent the first year at the Villa planning, then the next discussing “the theoretical issues that attended the project’s reconsideration of the assumptions that determined the temporal and spatial scales of conventional national historical narratives.” The third conference resulted in “exemplary” essays “probing either particular themes or reframing conventional historical movements or periods from a more international perspective.” The final meeting, in 2000, put attention on the “practical implications of the intellectual agenda.”

The Practical Implications

The practical implications include a “reframing of American history” in college and in K-12 education.

Such reframing includes preparing “globally competent citizens,” the aim of Common Core. The as-yet voluntary “College, Career, and Civic Life (c3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards” replace knowledge about American history with activism and follow those set for college in the Department of Education’s 2012 report, “A Crucible Moment” (roundly criticized by the National Association of Scholars in a special issue of Academic Questions). Replacing factual questions of traditional “national historical narratives” are loaded questions, as high school, and even younger, students are asked to evaluate primary and secondary sources, think “critically” and “deeply,” and “grasp the relevance of widening the lens of social analysis.”

It is no wonder that History Literacy rates continue to plummet.

Unlike the vast majority of professors at OAH, Robert Paquette, Hamilton College History Professor who co-founded the independent Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, teaches his students “that the United States was founded on the principles of limited government, voluntary exchange, respect for private property, and civil freedom.” In a recent SeeThruED article, he criticized the neglect of American history, noting that not one of the eleven New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schools requires that undergraduates attend a single course in American history and “a substantial majority of these eleven elite colleges do not even require of their majors in history as many as one American history course.”

Paquette warns, “The United States cannot survive as a nation if the traditions and principles that made it cohere as a prosperous and distinctive country are distorted and marginalized.”

Cal Thomas makes a similar point in his column, remarking poignantly about the World War II veterans visiting the beaches of Normandy, probably for the last time in their lives: “if they could have foreseen what America would become and how little their descendents know, or care, about their sacrifice, would they have done what they did?”

But student ignorance is the aim of professors and teachers meeting at conferences that we pay for in taxes and tuition. While the Greatest Generation remembered D-Day, influential professors spent summers in an Italian villa discussing how to destroy the very idea of the United States in history classes. And then they congratulated themselves at a conference in Atlanta in 2014.

Little Muslim girls raped at Florida ‘Light of Islam’ Academy

The Nur ul Islam Academy (NUIA) is a Florida accredited Pre-K, Elementary, Middle and High School. Nur ul Islam is the Arabic phrase for “Light of Islam.”

According to its website the NUIA “[F]ocuses on a complete education that emphasizes excellence in academics and Islamic morals and values. Students can pursue their interests and learn to balance a rich variety of activities along with traditional Islamic values.” Located in Cooper City, Florida the NUIA was founded in 1996 and enrolls more than 335 students.

tariq ahmad

Tariq Ahmad, 35, who worked at Nur-Ul-Islam Academy, Florida, has been accused of the sexual abuse and rape of two middle school female pupils. Photo courtesy of Creeping Shariah.

Creeping Shariah reports:

Police are hunting the former head teacher of a private Islamic school accused of the sexual abuse and rape of two middle school female students.

Tariq Ahmad, 35, who worked at Nur-Ul-Islam Academy, Florida, has been charged with five first degree counts after the alleged abuse which left one student needing ‘substantial surgical repair’.

The girls were aged 14 and 15 when Ahmad allegedly forced them into sexual relationships, according to a lawsuit.

Their attorneys said Ahmed would use text messages, social media and even code on the chalk boards in the classroom to set up meetings with the girls.

They also claim the Academy officials knew of Ahmed’s illegal conduct for years and did nothing until now.

[ … ]

The attorneys for the two students are asking anyone who may have information as to where Ahmed might be to contact Pembroke Pines Police immediately.

A LinkedIn profile in Ahmad’s name said he most recently served as the ‘head of high school’ at the academy, where he started working in August 2006.

Robert Spencer in an October 31st, 2014 Front Page Magazine article writes:

The UK’s Guardian reported Wednesday that “sexual exploitation of vulnerable children has become the social norm in some parts of Greater Manchester,” and the denial and obfuscation about what is really causing this problem is thicker than ever.

In the very same sentence in which it broke this terrible news, the Guardian stated that this phenomenon is “fuelled by explicit music videos and quasi-pornographic selfies, an MP has warned.” The MP in question, former social worker Ann Coffey, has issued a report on the sexual exploitation of children in Britain that she said would “make painful reading for those who hoped that Rochdale was an isolated case.”

It was in Rochdale that a group of Muslims were involved in a large-scale sex trafficking ring involving young non-Muslim girls. Coffey is right: there is already abundant evidence that it was not an isolated case, as 1,400 British non-Muslim children were gang-raped and brutalized by Muslims in the British city of Rotherham alone, and there are numerous other documented cases in Britain of Muslim sex trafficking and rape gangs, of which the victims were non-Muslim girls.

Read more.

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Young girls converted to Islam and then married to Boko Haram fighters.

The treatment of women by Islam has become front page news in the Middle East. News Nigeria reports on Boko Haram converting captured little girls to Islam and then marrying them off to their fighters.

Quran 4:3 –

“And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then one or those your right hand possesses.”

There is growing concern that Mohammedans, like Tariq Ahmad, are doing what is ordered by Allah. Muslim women and Muslim little girls are treated like objects rather than human beings.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘I Have to Check Her Teeth’: Chilling Footage Shows ISIS Fighters at Slave Girl ‘Market’ Bartering for Young Women…

RELATED VIDEO: Minimal Muslim – What does it mean if a Muslim says that they are not extremist, but just practice the Five Pillars?

Eye on U.S. Education: The Complete Parent’s Guide to Common Core

For a few years, people and organizations throughout the State of Florida have been fighting the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  For the most part, focus has been on trying to convince legislators in the House and Senate – along with the Governor – to remove these Standards or to, at least, “pause” its implementation until there is further analysis.

Unfortunately, informing the parents about CCSS has been almost completely ignored.  Ask a parent what they think about Common Core and you will probably get a “blank expression”.   What they may know about CCSS is what the backers of these Standards have been providing to the media.

The POWER to make a change lies with the PEOPLE.  If legislators think that their constituents are not concerned about an issue (and their elected position is not in jeopardy), they may not take any action.  Also, they are continually influenced by lobbying organizations and political/financial pressure.

Eye On U.S. Education (EUSE) has decided that parents need to be informed about the “Florida Standards” – which is really another name for CCSS.   We have made up a PowerPoint presentation called “The Truth About the Common Core State Standards”.    This presentation, although written for parents in Florida, can easily be edited for those in other States.  We also have made up an initial Announcement Notice and hand-outs for use after the presentation.

To obtain your free downloadable copy of The Complete Parent’s Guide to Common Core please click here.

If you have a website, EUSE gives you permission to upload it.  The object is to get the word out to as many people as possible.

RELATED RESOURCES FOR PARENTS, GRAND PARENTS AND CONCERNED CITIZENS:

 A Closer Look at Common Core

What You Can Do to Fight Common Core

A Common Core Flyer

RELATED ARTICLE: Pro-Common Core Math Instructor: Kids Are ‘Clean Slate,’ Parents Must Be ‘Retrained’ (+video)

Common Core Architect David Coleman’s Imperial College Board

What happens when a school board decides not to implement the new AP U.S. History standards wholesale and insist that such courses not present a distorted anti-American version of history?  Common Core is creeping into college, taking over the rightful role of professors, as I report at the Selous Foundation, in my article, “Common Core: K-16 Education.”  It’s also creeping in via the AP exams that give students college credit.  The College Board, which directs the AP coursework and exams, under the direction of its president David Coleman, “architect” of Common Core, is now using its muscle to usurp local boards of education.  The most recent example comes from the Denver area, in Jefferson County.

Several days ago, the teachers union, objecting to the school board’s decision to review the standards, manipulated high school students into staging a multi-day walkout.  While most newspapers simply reported that students objected to “censorship” or a biased “conservative” version of American history, Michelle Malkin reported the real story of teachers using the controversy to recruit students to protest for their own aims, keeping the leftist history standards and doing away with teacher evaluations.

The teacher union activists’ agitation has had its effect.  It’s chilling to the idea of local representative government. USA Today reports that the review of the standards has been shelved for a compromise proposal, which will now include administrators, students, and parents.

Flannery-OConnor 1947

Fannery-O’Connor 1947

 Dissident Prof reminds readers of Flannery O’Connor’s famous essay about allowing eight-graders to choose the literature they’d like to read, “Total Effect and the Eighth Grade,” wherein the wise woman reminds the adults, “Ours is the first age in history which has asked the child what he would tolerate learning. . .”

The Devil of Educationism: This is a problem of “Educationism,” a “devil” which can be “‘cast out only by prayer and fasting.'”  She notes that at one time children’s attention was held by Homer and Virgil, but “our children are too stupid now to enter the past imaginatively.”  What would she say now that school board members, parents, and teachers are asking students what they want to learn in history?  Back then, 50-some years ago, O’Connor posed, “No one asks the student if algebra pleases him or if he finds it satisfactory that some French verbs are irregular, but if he prefers Hersey to Hawthorne, his taste must prevail.”

The taste for takin’ it to the streets has prevailed, and it seems that protest, or mob action, has had the intended effect.

What also probably “helped” was the directive last Friday from the College Board, under the leadership of David Coleman.  It began:

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® supports the actions taken by students in Jefferson County, Colo., to protest a school board member’s request to censor aspects of the AP U.S. History course. The board member claims that some historical content in the course “encouraged or condoned civil disorder, social strife, or disregard for the law.”

Do these minors have the maturity and judgement to make decisions about protesting?  Well, if they agree with the College Board’s radical agenda, yes.  In fact, their lawlessness is cast as being the pinnacle of patriotism:

These students recognize that the social order can—and sometimes must—be disrupted in the pursuit of liberty and justice. Civil disorder and social strife are at the patriotic heart of American history—from the Boston Tea Party to the American Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement. And these events and ideas are essential within the study of a college-level AP U.S. History course.

Are “civil disorder and social strife” at “the patriotic heart of American history”?  Many would differ.  Many would take issue with aligning students skipping class with the brave men facing possible death in a war.  The opinions on civil disobedience are not unanimous.  But in the classroom, it is now taken as doctrine that mob protest, shouting, placard-carrying, and civil disobedience are the highest forms of civic action.  This is no accident.  Teachers and textbooks have been promoting this line for decades, and Common Core is accelerating this view, much of it through substituting group work and social justice activity for reading and writing.  So the students are right because they agree with the College Board’s view of history.  Did I mention that logic is also being shirked under the Common Core conglomerate?

Ignoring evidence and the historical record of its work, the College Board then presented an altered version of its own history:

The College Board will always listen to principled concerns based on evidence—and in fact has announced a public-review process for the AP U.S. History course framework. But in light of current events, an important policy reminder is in order:

Insisting that teachers and college faculty “collaborate” in designing the AP courses and exams, while allowing them “flexibility” to examine local topics, the College Board reminds those who resist the detailed 98-page directive,

To offer a course labeled “AP” or “Advanced Placement,” a school must agree to meet the expectations set for such courses by the more than 3,300 colleges and universities across the globe that use AP Exam scores for credit, placement, or consideration in the admission process.

The final boot comes down with a threat:

As vital context for the courageous voices of the students in Colorado, the AP community, our member institutions and the American people can rest assured: If a school or district censors essential concepts from an Advanced Placement course, that course can no longer bear the “AP” designation.”

The bold is in the original.  Perhaps a review of some texts from the Soviet Union might be in order in this curriculum in order to give students some perspective.  With video games, informational texts, such as EPA directives, and Common Core comic books replacing foundational works like the Federalist Papers, and, fiction, such as Animal Farm and 1984, students might be misled into believing that those who toe the line of a powerful agency, supported by millions of dollars of government funds, and federal diktats over “equal access” are really “courageous voices.”

Common Core: Victim to the “Well Meaning Technocrats”?

What now for the Common Core?

That is the question that the three hoping to Save the Core asked on the October 22, 2014, AEI panel.

Of course, their answers completely gloss over the fact that the Common Core (CCSS) is a bureaucratic attempt to frankenstein “success by standardization” out of a failed, high-stakes-test-driven No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

On October 26, 2014, I wrote my first post on this AEI panel, but there is just soo much nonsense emanating from them, I had to write a second post.

I haven’t even gotten to the actual panel discussion yet. The first post was on the event summary, and this second is on the video description.

In that description, AEI “scholar” Rick Hess rose tints his view of CCSS concoction, with his words being taken from another CCSS discussion:

In 2010, the Common Core State Standards were widely supported. But 60 percent of Americans now oppose them, and several states are rethinking their earlier stance. In a recent National Affairs piece, AEI’s Rick Hess argues, “The trouble with the Common Core is not that it was the handiwork of nefarious, anti-American ideologues or self-dealing, anti-teacher dogmatists,but that it was the work of well-meaning, self-impressed technocrats who fudged difficult questions, used federal coercion to compel rapid national adoption, and assumed that things would work out.” [Emphasis added.]

Love how Hess paints those “technocrats” as “well meaning.”

How kind. And how accountability-exempt of Hess: No problem. Let’s just organize a panel to promote the salvaging of their techno-crap.

crapRepackage the crap, and the flies will still buzz around it.

At least the public is not yet fully aware.

Indeed, even as panelists note that the public is not generally aware of CCSS (see the AEI panel event summary), they cite CCSS as being “widely supported.”

So, who has been responsible for all of that “previous wide support”? Well, in 2009, 46 governors and state superintendents signed on for a nonexistent CCSS, and US Secretary Arne Duncan was already cheering for the unwritten standards and even dangling federal money for future CCSS assessments. And billionaire Bill Gates was supporting CCSS because CCSS edupreneur “lead writer” David Coleman and CCSS “owner” organization, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) President Gene Wilhoit asked Gates to pay for CCSS. Then there were both national teachers union leaders endorsing the freshly-minted-though-unpiloted CCSS.

Let us also remember standards-grading Thomas B. Fordham Institute and its favorable “grading” of CCSS in July 2010– one month after the finished-and-never-tested CCSS product was birthed.

All of that “wide support” was outside of the school house and the local community.

In Fall 2014, Arne Duncan still pushes for CCSS, as do Bill GatesDavid ColemanFordham Institute, and both national teachers unions. A Gates-funded survey notes that most state superintendents are still pro-CCSS. The governors, well, they’re a shaky bunch, with many having second thoughts about this marvelous CCSS that they signed on for before a CCSS existed and some trying to distance themselves from a CCSS they inherited.

In short, those originally Core-happy– who happen to be outside of the classroom and therefore untouched by *CCSS excellence*– tend to stay Core-happy.

The governors might be finding that CCSS to be a pain in their career paths.

Let us move on to another term Hess uses in the above defense of those responsible for CCSS: He declares them as not being the “hanidwork” of the “self- dealing.”

Not so.

Consider David Coleman, a self-confessed non-teacher who had no background in standards writing and declared himself and others involved in the inner circle of CCSS writing as “that collection of unqualified people who were involved in developing the common standards.”

How did Coleman get in on this CCSS gig in the first place?

I answer that question in my CCSS book (due for publication April 2015). However, the short of it is that Coleman has connections to Arne Duncan that go back to 2002 and Duncan’s days as Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO. Coleman’s then-brand-new “data-driven” assessment company, Grow Network, was contacted with CPS for over $2 million in data-driven “consulting” in the heyday of NCLB.

Coleman rode the NCLB wave until 2007, at which time he created Student Achievement Partners (SAP)– the “silent partner” on the inside of CCSS development.

SAP is now a nonprofit exclusively dealing in CCSS– and for which all five CCSS standards-writing “leaders” work– Zimba, Pimentel, McCallum, and Daro– except for Coleman, who has moved on to the presidency of CCSS-insider organization, the College Board– where he has dumbed down the SAT to force-fit it to CCSS.

Not “self-dealing”?

Already the stage is set for what I am certain will be an enlightening hour-and-a-half video.

Feel free to watch it. I will be writing about it soon.

I can hardly wait.