I enjoyed this speech (taken from EducationNews.org) and believe the author is on the right track in calling out the push for federal control over all aspects of education. The American education system is suffering, failing even, and our government is pushing for more nationalized control. The federal government has done very little to improve education and has taken the power and control away from local authorities and citizens to make decisions on the behalf of their children. Something to think about…long and hard.
You know that our students are struggling. What you might not know is WHY. Our children are not being taught what they need to know in mathematics, grammar, civics, or other critical subjects.
Thank you for that wonderful introduction. Good afternoon, everyone. It’s a fine day to fight for liberty.
I’m here today because I’m scared – for our children and our country. There’s a thief at the door. His friends are at the window. They have the exits covered, and they’re about to cut the phone line. These thieves aren’t after the car or the jewelry. They’re after something much more precious: Our children’s education. And we, the people – are literally the last line of defense. Welcome to public education.
Public education is in dire straits. So much so that it threatens our great country.
You know that our students are struggling. What you might not know is WHY. Our children are not being taught what they need to know in mathematics, grammar, civics, or other critical subjects. They aren’t being prepared to follow their dreams, or to take over the reins of this country. Our children, this community, our country are in jeopardy.
I respect and admire the teachers and staff who do their best to battle the bureaucracy. But it’s the thieves in education who have the connections, the money, and the decision-making power. They have many friends – in the district, in Olympia, and in Washington, DC. It’s their own desires that drive them – not our children’s best interests.
Do it for the kids, they say, every time a bond or levy comes up for renewal. For the kids, they say, as they refuse to allow teachers to teach sufficient arithmetic or grammar. This isn’t just a local problem. It’s national. And it isn’t just a difference of opinion. Their agenda is deliberate and purposeful.
You know Spokane has a dropout problem. You’ve read that the graduation rate suddenly improved. What you might not know is that our high school graduates don’t need to pass a state math test or state science test to graduate. They don’t need to know much grammar or ANY civics. Many high school students get As in Honors Math, and then test into arithmetic in college. Of those who take those college remedial math classes, almost half will fail or withdraw early.
Our kids simply don’t have the skills they need to go to college, begin a trade, start a business, get a fulfilling job, join the Armed Forces, or even fill out a job application.
District administrators say they need more time. Our kids don’t have more time. Spokane’s pass rate on last year’s 10th-grade math test was just 38.9%. Students needed just 56.9% to pass. 61% of our 10th graders couldn’t pass a basic-skills math test on which the passing score was less than 57%. District employees called that student data — “irrelevant.” Get angry, folks! I’m angry.
What will happen to our children? How will this country continue to absorb an entire generation of people who don’t have basic academic skills? Our children are being left behind. America is being left behind. This is not a game. There are real and long-term consequences for all of us.
Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of education – Arne Duncan – is moving in, taking over all of public education, as he says, “from cradle through career.” He talks about the importance of local control, even as he works diligently to replace it with federal control. He wants to shove a federal agenda down your throat: national standards, national tests, and a national curriculum. Have you ever tried to deal with the district on behalf of your child? Wait until you have to deal with the U.S. Department of Education. And if you think the WASL was bad, wait until the feds are running the tests.
Sec. Duncan also wants a federal role in alternatives to public education, including homeschooling, private schools, and faith-based schools.
Forget that pesky 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which makes education a state responsibility. Forget the U.S. Code, which prohibits the Department of Education from directing policy or curriculum (20 USC 3403). Sec. Duncan and his allies are pressing forward, whether we like it or not. Proper process and the law don’t seem to matter anymore. States’ rights, the people’s vote – just get in the way.
This federal education agenda will cost us billions of dollars. It won’t make our children internationally competitive, but it will remove our voice. Once our voice is gone, it will be hell getting it back.
Ironically, we taxpayers are forced to pay these thieves to break into our house, steal our voice, our vote, and our children’s future.
We still have to pay district administrators – as they fail to educate our children, as they ignore us, as they wait for the feds to tell them what to do, as they cut teachers and programs, while giving themselves raises. Last year, some of the Spokane levy – which was supposed to fund enrichment programs – helped pay for administrative raises. I tried to find out how much of the levy went for those raises. No one could tell me. Apparently, they “don’t break it down that way.” Can you believe that?
A year ago, in January 2010, the Department of Education estimated that $664 billion would be spent in 2010 on K-12 education, from all sources (federal, state, local and other). $664 billion. That was $28 billion more than the entire Department of Defense spent the year prior. $636 billion for the DoD. $664 billion for K-12 education. And look what we got for it. Our kids are failing, dropping out, not prepared for college.
Public education doesn’t need more money. It needs to spend the money it gets better. We desperately need financial transparency and accountability for administrators.
Where did our money go? The Department of Education was criticized this year for being wasteful and redundant. In some states, taxpayers paid for things like iPads – for kindergartners. Washington State Gov. Gregoire “diverted” $208 million that was supposed to fund education jobs. She just took it for the General Fund. In Spokane, many administrators get more than $100,000 each in base salary. The Spokane superintendent gets about $220,000. Where is their accountability for student outcomes?
Folks, where does the buck stop in public education? Shouldn’t district decision-makers be held accountable for the results of their policies? How will we hold them accountable when the boss is the federal government?
These are our children. This is our money. Federal, state, local – it’s all our money, and it’s being wasted on failed approaches and self-serving bureaucrats. But I believe in we, the people. I believe in your children, and I believe in this great Republic. We must all rise up and take back the classroom and our country from the people who are stealing them. You are not helpless. There are things you can do to save your children and grandchildren.
Join me on my blog, “Betrayed.” Read my book “Betrayed” and other books like it. Join us at our next organizational meeting. Run for the school board. Get your legislators talking about education. Come talk with me. Together, we the people can turn around public education, send these thieves packing, and get our children and our country back on track.
In Liberty. And for our children. Thank you.