The Attack on our Educational System
Today, on September 11, what I feel deeply is that we are again under attack. It is not a swift, flaming, explosion with fire and smoke and screaming voices. It isn't bombing and visible devastation. No, it is more insidious and creepy. James Madison said, “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” And he’s right on.
I’m supposed to be finishing work on Right-Brained Fractions, but ever since I saw the news about the Special Education Mandate the other day, I have been suspended in a world where time doesn't exist. One thing I read led to another, and to more until I can hardly sleep at night for feeling the horror sink into my very being. What I have read simply cannot be true! Or can it? I wake up in the night asking myself if I made this all up.
But no. Apparently all of it is true. And I feel that my naiveté has known no bounds.
While I have been going through my life, working, gardening, cooking, creating product for kids who need images and body movement in order to learn, hanging out with my family, some pretty creepy and just plain wrong stuff has been going on.
I say my naiveté knows no bounds because for the past decade, my conviction was that once the word got out that 65% of our children learn best via images and not symbols, suddenly we would have a uprising of people who joined together in support of our visual, spatial, kinesthetic children and embraced the idea of offering them what they need to learn successfully. Of course doing so would mean being proactive as we use materials and approaches that are different from what the schools dictate our children are taught with. And that is scary to do because “they” are the experts after all. They are supposed to know more about how my child learns than I do, right?
I imagined that once administrators in schools saw how their failing students could excel once they had what they needed – visual tools for learning – suddenly we would be able to make a greater impact on the thousands of children who are failing, are defeated, have given up, have resorted to acting out because they are sick of being singled out as the weirdo who can’t learn.
But guess what. Guess what I have realized just like a punch in my gut. It isn't that people don’t know better. It isn't that administrators need to see an alternative to what they are using with their kids that are failing. It isn't that there is no money for good supplies. NO. It is not at all about the kids and what they need, it is not about the teachers not being competent, and it is not about trying to make our schools an emotionally safe and healthy environment.
Because I am by nature an optimist and sanguine, it devastates me to have to face the fact that there is deep and ugly corruption at the very top. That corruption is oozing down and blanketing our children, suffocating them. Oh, and on the way to our children? It is delivering a death knell to our schools, demoralizing our teachers, and putting our children’s parents in untenable situations. Parents now have to try and make up for the damage that is being done to their children in school, the very place children are supposed to be able to go safely every day to have their hearts and minds expanded. A place where their gifts should be encouraged to blossom and grow.
But that is not what is happening.
What is happening is corrupt and is all about money.
Here are the facts:
- Common Core standards were produced by Pearson, Inc., a BRITISH textbook publisher and this production was funded by Bill Gates in the guise of doing his part to help American Education. What a nice, nice Billy Boy to give so many of his millions to benefit our schools! Except that Microsoft will be raking in millions of dollars in this project because of the software and touch screens they are manufacturing to sell to our schools. So basically Bill Gates paid some money to open up an enormous market for his own company. Does this sound wrong to you?
- But back to Pearson, Inc. They not only wrote the standards for Common Core that is being mandated in our country, but they are also writing the textbooks for Common Core which they will sell to every school in our country. They are also writing the tests and scoring them (for a price). They are offering teacher training so our teachers will be schooled in what to say and how to teach Pearson’s Common Core curriculum. Bottom line? Pearson has the whole ball of wax whether or not they are even qualified or competent to be in that position! They are dominating every tiny part of our education system. (See item 7.)
- U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan sold us to Pearson. At this point I need a few more days to recover before I begin to dig more to find out what Arne Duncan stands to gain from this deal with Pearson and Microsoft. But let me be very clear on this point. He is NOT making decisions in the best interests of your children. He did NOT call our own American educators to ask for consensus on what our children need. He didn't gather our own brilliant minds to guide him. NO. He chose to hand our whole education system to Pearson. Pearson gets to choose what our kids are taught and Pearson gets to pick who passes the test. They get to decide who goes to college even because they are in charge of many other tests as well.
- In fact Pearson has successfully infiltrated almost every segment of our society. They own many of our publishing houses, they control Stanford University, University of Phoenix, and others. Their reach is frightening. And guess what? Someone had to hand us over to them! Pearson didn't come in with guns blazing to terrorize our country. We were handed to them. Ironically, today is September 11, 2014 and I soberly posted a memorial on our Facebook page in memory of those who fell during that attack on our country. But all I could think of was that we are under attack again and have been for years, and this one is not overt. This one is silent and deadly and coming with the blessing of our own leaders.
- That isn’t all. I labored under the delusion that our states were actually voting on whether or not to adopt the Common Core. I remember assuming when I heard Michigan adopted Common Core that this was a misguided choice on the part of our governor and his cohorts. But no. What is true is that every state that failed to meet requirements of No Child Left Behind was offered the chance to apply for a waiver (a hall pass excusing them from being in time out) but they had to do two things to get this waiver. They had to adopt Common Core and they had to agree to link teacher’s performance to their students’ test results. Rather than say no, refuse the conditions, demand the freedom to make educational choices for their own states, every governor bowed to the demand of Arne Duncan. I am reasonably sure that to refuse would have been made difficult because Arne Duncan has taken a derisive and coercive approach to dealing with our leaders. In our country! This is happening in our country!
- One article I read spoke about how teachers were being told by their administrators to not complain about Common Core. In America! They are being told to keep their mouths shut.
In my business I hear complaints almost daily about the lack of money for school resources. And yet it is not about lack of funding for good educational supplies! It is all about how the available money is spent. “New York officials signed a $32 million five-year contract with Pearson PLC's subsidiary, NCS Pearson Inc., in 2011 for its Common Core test merchandise. Pearson, a British consortium, is the world's most influential purveyor of educational supplies and holds numerous contracts with New York and other states. Texas, for example, is paying Pearson $462 million for its five-year contract.”
My reason for writing this blog post is pretty simple.
Our children are being hurt immeasurably. The only way we will change our children's situation is when we realize that America is OUR country and when we demand what we want. We pay for our children's education, and we pay the wages of every single person who is making decisions that directly impact us without asking us what we want. We are not frail and helpless and not yet without a voice! If we don’t like what we are getting, if we don’t like getting what we didn't ask for, if the product we got for our money is unsatisfactory, we need to refuse it!
Last I checked, it still is OUR country. And I am so not political, but I simply cannot remain silent on this one. If we don’t like what is happening, we must act. If we are not heard, we need to fire some people starting with Arne Duncan. Along with firing Arne Duncan, we need to break every contract with Pearson and Microsoft. I don’t want a British publishing company controlling our education system!
Today, on September 11, what I feel deeply is that we are again under attack. It is not a swift, flaming, crash with fire and smoke and screaming voices. It isn't bombing and visible devastation. No, it is more insidious.
Let’s wake up; let's get informed! Let's exercise our right to know how OUR money is being spent and on what. Let’s say no and stop and shut up and go away! There are many people and organizations that have been calling for Arne Duncan’s dismissal. Let’s join them and make sure it gets done.
Next, let’s look at our own leadership in our own states. Let’s get rid of any other person that has their hand in the cookie jar and who is choosing against us. Let’s exercise the rights we have and make an educational system that is truly FOR the benefit of our children.