It’s amazing what you learn if you just pay a bit of attention and ask questions.
Because of my reporting on the sex-abuse problem at Joaquin Moraga Middle School in Moraga, Calif., I’ve spent a lot of time attending Board of Education meetings there.
Aside from addressing the sex-abuse issue, the main theme of the meetings has been the alleged lack of money.
That theme never ends. As soon as voters approve school money, there’s another plan to ask for more. They do it every time.
California used to be No. 1 nationally when it came to public education.
No more – despite the fact that hundreds of billions of dollars have been dumped into the system over the years and despite the fact that because of a voter-approved initiative, nearly 50 percent of the annual budget automatically goes to the schools.
Of course, the response of the unions and the teachers is that they need more money.
Then, there was the Dec. 7 news story in the Contra Costa Times that in recent vocabulary tests, California’s national rank is fifth from the bottom.
Fourth graders were below every state except Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico and the District of Columbia, which was dead last.
Eighth graders were also fifth from the bottom, only above Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana and D.C.
California did not volunteer to have the 12th graders tested.
I can’t imagine why.
The test, known as the Nation’s Report Card, also showed that California is doing worse than states spending less on education.
So much for lack of money being a problem.
Then there was the school-board meeting I attended where there was a complete computer presentation of a new method of teaching that is now being implemented in the schools.
I had no idea what they were talking about.
They explained classes would be reconfigured, curriculum content was being revised, teachers are being retrained on how to teach and what to teach, how every student would have a laptop, books were to be virtually phased out – but some new books would be created for this whole new education system.
We were told it would take a couple of years to get everything in place, but by the time that happens, it would be in every school and every grade in California.
There was no question of refusing because the governor had agreed to it. It’s happening, and no one is exempted. It’s called the “Common Core Curriculum,” and it’s a national program, courtesy of the Obama administration. In fact, it will affect all schools from K-12th grade.
Until that point, I’d never heard of it, and there had been nothing in local newspapers and only one column since. Parents have virtually no idea what’s being planned for their children, especially since practically no one attends board meetings.
But then there was Obama himself – during the debate moderated by Bob Schieffer – who was talking about that he’s accomplished, and he said: “You know, under my leadership, what we’ve done is reformed education, working with governors, 46 states.” He said bad schools were improving.
I couldn’t believe it! He said it! But no one called him on it. No media pursued what he was talking about. No one wondered why not all 50 states were involved. No one asked what it meant
I found out.
Most traditional “fictional” literature, classics and poetry are eliminated. Nothing long, only short pieces Children will read what’s described as “informational texts,” government reports, computer manuals and technical bulletins. There will be more “reading” in science and math classes. The focus will be on computer literacy with little, if any, actual “writing.” Cursive penmanship is already being phased out. Supposedly all this will make children more college ready.
All schools will have to meet the same standards and tests, and all students will be tracked by the feds. Ultimately even private and home schools will be forced into this because national tests (i.e. the SAT) will be geared to this curriculum.
Interestingly, not all states have agreed to this major transformation of their schools. Of the 50 states, 46 have agreed, as well as D.C.
Was there a vote of the people or the legislatures? No.
Each governor decided – pushed by the National Governors Association, and the lure is $4.35 million in federal money from the Education Department’s “Race-to-the-Top” school plan. The Obama administration said you have to participate to get the grants. The money was part of Obama’s stimulus plan.
The gentle arm-twist works every time with dollar signs attached.
And there’s more big bucks here. In all, the Bill Gates Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave more than $100 million to develop the plan, and it’s parceled out to publishers, public television, George Soros’ “Center for American Progress,” universities, school districts and even teachers’ unions.
Think back to just before Obama’s first presidential election.
Remember, his telling a cheering crowd, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
What did that mean?
He knew, but those supporting him that night and later didn’t realize the scope of his goals.
Then again, those who knew what he was up to loved the support he got and the media – which should have asked specific questions – were so caught up in the manufactured magic of that campaign, just ignored it.
They still do.
Unfortunately, we’re now embroiled in the aftermath of such political philosophy. With Obama’s re-election, it may be all but impossible to put a stop to his destruction of American education and the dumbing down of our children.