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Monday, April 18, 2011

Attendees at Tea Party Rally asked for help

Note from Laurie Rogers: I've been criticized for speaking at an April 16, 2011, Spokane Tea Party Tax Day Rally. The Tea Party, one person said in all seriousness, is a "homophobic, xenophobic, reactionary populist neo-nationalistic group" and so my well-intended message will be tarnished. The person told me: "If you play with tar, you get black" and "If you sleep with the do, you get fleas."

Wow. Setting aside his unjust determination of "guilt by association," this also is what passes for public discourse nowadays. Our current president told an entire political party, and the near-half of the country that belongs to it, to "move to the back of the bus." Our local newspaper -- which has not said a word about the April 16 Tea Party Rally -- reports today that conservativism might lead to teen suicide ("Local politics play role, teen suicide study finds," Spokesman-Review).

People in power and most of our media will continue to divide the country because it serves their purpose. I will talk to anyone who listens. I want the children to be able to learn what they need to know, and I do not want my voice to be removed by the folks in power. That's my entire message. I have always been treated with absolute respect by people associated with the Spokane Tea Party. They listen, ask questions, and tend to express support. Certain others in the world could set down their condescension for a minute and take a lesson.

I respect, support and encourage the people's efforts to have a voice in the spending of their money and in the running of their country. If fighting for the children and speaking up for my country label me as a problem, that's the choice of those who label me. It's already happened to me, and I am not afraid of it.

- Laurie Rogers

*******************

Laurie Rogers's April 16, 2011, speech to attendees at the Spokane Tea Party Rally


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. 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 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 Tuesday, April 19 at 6 p.m. at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. 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.



Please note: The information in this post is copyrighted. The proper citation is
Rogers, L. (April 2011). "Attendees at Tea Party Rally asked for help." Retrieved (date) from the Betrayed Web site: http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/

This speech was posted April 20, 2011, at EducationNews.org at http://www.educationnews.org/political/154315.html

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're great on math, Laurie, but you're completely wrong on this one, and you're frankly revealing some of your own politics in the introduction to this post.

This doesn't help.

Sandy Elliot said...

To discover how much of levy dollars go to administration will be difficult except in percentages - certificated administrators:teachers. Ask for help from Auditor Sontag's office. Their auditors will walk the Public through their findings.

As for "federal intervention: fed-ed" check out the legislation that authorizes outcome based aka standards-based education. The language of the law is "representative government". That is not America -- we are a CONSTITUTIONAL representative government. Our Legislators need to go back through the laws written for education to assure the Washington State Constitution is in the bill at every reference point.

Whether or not we have the will to return to local elected governance depends entirely on this Legislature. The power and the money (Prototype Schools/Core24) will be in the hands of the Union and their minions along with the businesses and industry that can afford to buy access to the decision-making of Quality Council and Governor's appointments/appointees.

Mike Miller said...

Anonymous, how can it not help to share well researched facts & concerns honestly with other Americans, many of whom have children and/or grandchildren in the public schools? There wouldn't be much point to advocacy if you limited your speech exclusively to individuals or groups who think exactly as you do... on every issue. Mrs. Rogers may have revealed some of her own political opinions (and what's wrong with that?), but your post reveals something far more crippling... narrow-mindedness.
Laurie, I applaud your aggresive inquiry into public education, and especially your articulate courage to share your accumulated knowledge with whomever will listen. I think the words of your speech (and your introduction) were perfect and true.

Vain Saints said...

I would not call Anonymous1 narrow-minded. That is too kind. He/she is in fact a bigot. Anon1 has fallen for the lie that those who disagree with him/her are a bunch of dangerous yokels. This is the lie that the fake Left media (the New York Times, et al.) pushes for the reasons Ms. Rodgers states. The fake right, with their Hannittys, have their own variants of this.

Anon1 has to grow up so that he learns to love his children and his neighbors' children more than he hates his fellow americans who disagree with him.

Laurie H. Rogers said...

Dear Anonymous:

You said: "You're great on math, Laurie, but you're completely wrong on this one, and you're frankly revealing some of your own politics in the introduction to this post. This doesn't help."

I have a few questions for you:
1. How am I "wrong on this one"?
2. About my "politics," here's what's obvious from my blog. I'm fighting for the children's education. I don't want my voice to be removed from the process. I'm disappointed in our president's rhetoric and Arne Duncan's approach to public education. I'm willing to speak to all parents who are willing to listen. What else about my "politics" have you managed to glean?
3. Why do you think my commentary "doesn't help"?
4. Which solutions are you offering that would be more helpful than what I'm doing? Please be specific.
5. Are you suggesting that I should try to inform only those parents who agree with your political viewpoints?

concerned said...

Great Job Laurie!! I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog!

I don't know if you've seen this or not, but I'd love to read your take on it:

HarvardStudy Shows that Lecture-Style Presentations Lead to Higher Student Achievement

Widely-usedproblem-solving pedagogy as implemented in practice is not as effective forraising achievement levels

Cambridge, MA– A new study finds that 8th grade students in the U.S. score higher on standardized tests in math and science when their teachers allocate greater amounts of class time to lecture-style presentations than to groupproblem-solving activities. For both math and science, the study finds that a shift of 10 percentage points of time from problem solving to lecture-style presentations (for example, increasing the share of time spentlecturing from 60 to 70 percent) is associated with a rise in student testscores of 4 percent of a standard deviation for the students who had the exactsame peers in both their math and science classes – or between one andtwo months’ worth of learning in a typical school year.

Schwerdt and Wuppermann observe that in recent years,a consensus has emerged among researchers that teacher quality “matters enormously for student performance,” but that relatively few rigorousstudies have looked inside the classroom to see what kinds of teaching stylesare the most effective. Their study of teaching styles finds that “teaching style matters for student achievement, but in the opposite direction than anticipated by conventional wisdom: an emphasis on lecture-style presentations (rather than problem-solving activities) is associated with an increase — not a decrease — in student achievement.” They report that prominent organizations such as the National Research Council andthe National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, for at least the last three decades, have “called for teachers to engage students in constructing their own new knowledge through more hands-on learning and groupwork.” The emphasis on group problem-solving instructional methods has been incorporated into most U.S.teacher preparation programs, and the authors found that teachers in thestudy’s sample allocated, on average, twice as much time to problem-solving activities as to lecturing, or “direct instruction.”

About the Authors Guido Schwerdt is a postdoctoral fellow at the Program on Education Policy andGovernance (PEPG) at Harvard University and a research at the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich, Germany. Amelie C. Wuppermann is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Mainz,Germany.

Education Next is a scholarly journal published by the Hoover Institution that is committed to looking at hard facts about school reform. Other sponsoring institutions are the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance, part of the Taubman Center for State and Local Governmentat the Harvard Kennedy School,and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

For more information please visit: www.educationnext.org

Anonymous said...

So, when we run and get elected for our local school boards - we immediately switch sides and become the "enemy". Judging from your speech - there are no good school boards, superintendants, or administrators. Are you sure peddling your book (although you have many good points and concerns)has not clouded your judgement. How would you recognize a good sb member, SI, or Admin. You've already implied they are the enemy. I have no problem with your politics, but I do question your ability to be objective because of the poor manner in which you were treated when attempting to bring about positive changes in your own school district. I'm afraid you'd miss out on a positive change because you are so bitter and can't see beyond that. There is wasteful spending (a lot of it!) in our Government - at all levels. Local Bonds and Levies can not all be judged the same way you lump all admin together. Local Bonds and Levies are communities trying not to rely on the federal government. They allow us to take care of our own. That's a great step towards firing the Fed. Gov. from State matters.

Laurie H. Rogers said...

Dear Anonymous (April 26, 1:50 a.m.): I’ll take your comment line by line:

So, when we run and get elected for our local school boards - we immediately switch sides and become the "enemy. "
I didn’t say board directors are the “enemy.” Board directors are responsible for holding superintendents accountable for the results of their policies. If they fail in this job, the people must hold the board directors accountable. The word “enemy” is yours, not mine.

Judging from your speech - there are no good school boards, superintendants, or administrators.
I didn’t say there are no good board directors or administrators. In fact, I’ve said exactly the opposite – in public and in my book. Several board directors and administrators are colleagues of mine. I respect their efforts and dedication to the children. Unfortunately, their numbers are too few. Other board directors and administrators continually interfere with teachers and student learning.

Are you sure peddling your book (although you have many good points and concerns)has not clouded your judgement.
I’m pretty sure. My judgment is based on data, statistics, studies and reports from the district, the state, and from across the country. If I can’t support it, I don’t write it.

How would you recognize a good sb member, SI, or Admin. You've already implied they are the enemy.
We recognize good school board directors and administrators by their actions and policy – which should be focused on student learning, not on their own wants and desires. I didn’t imply, state, or suggest that they are the “enemy.” You did that and then tried to attribute it to me. I reject your use of the word. It isn’t a word I would use.

I have no problem with your politics, but I do question your ability to be objective because of the poor manner in which you were treated when attempting to bring about positive changes in your own school district.
Do you have a specific example of why you question my ability to be objective? Otherwise, it appears that your statement is rather subjective.

I'm afraid you'd miss out on a positive change because you are so bitter and can't see beyond that.
Do we know each other? Please provide support for this assessment of my supposed bitterness and how it prevents me from seeing things.

Local Bonds and Levies can not all be judged the same way you lump all admin together.
You’re accusing me of things I’m not doing. I don’t judge bonds and levies the same way, and I don’t lump all administration together.

Local Bonds and Levies are communities trying not to rely on the federal government. They allow us to take care of our own. That's a great step towards firing the Fed. Gov. from State matters.
My comments about bonds and levies are that a) some of that money has been misspent, and b) we don’t have sufficient transparency or accountability in how that money is spent. You, on the other hand, are suggesting that bonds and levies will help keep the federal government out of state matters. What is your support for that statement? We have bonds and levies now, and the federal government is just getting warmed up.

Mr. Peterson said...

Laurie,

Some interesting stuff to think about, as a parent, as a teacher, as a citizen. Thanks for throwing some gas on the fire, it is always and I do mean always to look long and hard at what we do and why we do it in education.