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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Children are the key to America's future. The government wants control of that key.

By Laurie H. Rogers
Those who exert the first influence upon the mind, have the greatest power.
-- Horace Mann, Thoughts
The writing is on the wall. In a June 7, 2013, statement, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said President Obama is planning to "redesign" America’s high schools. This redesigning will take place through “competitive grants” (also known as “bait”). Who will pay for this redesigning? (Taxpayers will, as we always do.) How much will it cost? (The secretary and president haven’t said, as they rarely do.) Does the president have the legal or constitutional authority to “redesign” America’s high schools? (No.)
According to 20 USC 3403, Obama and Duncan also lack the authority to direct standards, curriculum and teaching approaches. That isn’t stopping them. They say their interventions are for our own good.
He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be? (Animal Farm)Please take note of the language in Duncan’s press release. The “redesigned” high schools will entail:
  • "Student-centered" learning
  • "Project- or-problem-based" learning
  • "Real-world experiences” and “real-world challenges"
  • "Evidence-based professional development"
  • Engaging in “complex projects” and working with others to apply knowledge
  • Moving “away from the traditional notion of seat time"
Uh, oh.

Math advocates will recognize that language. It typically alerts us to reform math – to fuzzy content, “discovery learning” (or constructivism), excessive group work, teachers who don’t directly teach, and lofty concepts presented before skills. That approach has not worked well for students for the last three decades.
It seems Duncan is a reformer, and why wouldn’t he be? Public education systems, colleges of education, curriculum developers and policy makers all have been bathed in reform philosophy and approaches since the 1980s. The president’s new mandate – excuse me, his new initiative – appears to mandate an instructional model that has completely failed children for 30 years.
Duncan and Obama also push the controversial Common Core initiatives, which are leading many districts to fuzzy math and weak English programs. The CC math standards contain a separate section, called the “Standards for Mathematical Practice.” Many states and districts are emphasizing the SMP, and the SMP supports a constructivist approach. Voila: more reform math.
It’s noteworthy that the publisher of Singapore Math – a series long praised by traditionalists – released a new “discovery” version based on the CC. Other publishers also have done so. They appear to believe the CC embraces constructivism, and they're going along with it.
And now we have this high-school initiative, announced with the same language used by proponents of reform math. After three decades of grim failure, reform approaches to math are unlikely to suddenly work for students just because the feds throw another trillion taxpayer dollars at them.
In April, Obama also announced plans to “expand” early learning programs for 4-year-olds, rolling them into the K-12 system. Initially, children will be from low-income families, but other families and toddlers are to be rolled in, too. “Preschool for All” is estimated to cost taxpayers $75 billion over 10 years.
This de facto federal takeover of public education is cunning and devious. Many Americans have been persuaded that the Common Core and related initiatives are “state-led” and academically better; that nothing is federally mandated; that our right to privacy is intact; and that the Standards are the key.
Not true.
Proponents say the CC initiatives are voluntary; internationally benchmarked; research-based; rigorous; proved to work; that they’ll save money; they’ll provide commonality and consistency; and that they aren’t “one-size-fits-all.”
Not true.
The CC initiatives were never internationally benchmarked or academically sufficient. They aren’t grounded in scientifically conducted, replicable research. They’re unproved, with no student data behind them. They’re a national experiment on children. They won’t save taxpayers money. A base cost estimate just to get started is $140 billion nationwide (14,000 school districts x $10 million each).
The CC initiatives are voluntary only in a technical sense. States and districts have been threatened with the loss of federal funds, with the loss of money for impoverished students, and (ironically) with punishments under the No Child Left Behind Act if they don’t comply.
This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half. (Animal Farm)The CC initiatives aren’t “state-led.” The feds are pushing them very hard. They were rammed through states before they were completed, with many proponents appearing to have had a financial reason to support them. The Department of Education has yet to fulfill my FOIA request from four years ago on its role in the development of the CC, but even if the initiatives really were “state-led,” why do the organizations in charge claim to not be subject to public-disclosure laws?
The nature of the CC also is expanding rapidly. Initially, this was K-12 standards in mathematics and English/language arts, but now it’s to be a complete nationalized educational program – with standards, tests, curricula and professional development; from cradle through workforce (P-20); in all subjects, all grades and all schools; in daycares, preschools, K-12 systems and colleges.

The CC initiatives also include an intrusive national database on children and their parents and guardians. Data and information are to be collected and shipped around public agencies, corporations and organizations without our knowledge or consent. Certain state and federal laws were altered or ignored in order to allow and facilitate this sharing of private information. Citizens were not informed.
At the foot of the end wall of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written, there lay a ladder broken in two pieces. ... [N]ear at hand there lay a lantern, a paint-brush, and an overturned pot of white paint. (Animal Farm)The CC initiatives appear to entail serious violations of the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Code. The overall deceit is so huge, few believe it. Fewer in leadership have questioned it. Legislators on all sides, media, state agencies, governors, districts, money advocates, unions, corporations and foundations have lined up at the Common Core trough, ready for a treat and a pat on the head.
The birds did not understand Snowball’s long words, but they accepted his explanation, and all the humbler animals set to work to learn the new maxim by heart. (Animal Farm)
How long will it be before the feds threaten the loss of taxpayer dollars if states don’t comply with the new high school “grant” initiative or the new early learning initiative? How long before states and districts shrug off questions from parents and taxpayers, saying they had no choice in these matters?

Considering the unproved and dictatorial nature of these federal initiatives, they can’t be about academics. I expect the feds will find it necessary to redesign middle schools to “align” with redesigned high schools. Elementary schools will have to “align” with redesigned middle schools. Preschools will have to “align” with redesigned elementary schools. Colleges are already aligning. It will be one brick at a time, each ripped from the fabric and foundation of the country. This is about control.

With this incredible taxpayer expense – and with academic programs that continue to be as weak as a White House explanation – the children and the country will sink into economic and academic dust. Education policy makers have learned nothing over three decades. Or, perhaps they’ve learned everything. Choose your poison. No doubt, Obama and Duncan will report great improvements.
Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer – except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs. Perhaps this was partly because there were so many pigs and so many dogs. (Animal Farm)The Department of Education is now dictatorial and intrusive, assisted by non-government organizations and corporations working together behind our back. Did you think fascism was just for right-wingers? Read up on “fascism” (but do look beyond Google’s definition). This is educational tyranny.
There are some things you can do, however:
  • Help your child. Fill in academic gaps. Leave the public system if it isn’t working for your child.
  • Support Alabama Representative Martha Roby’s effort to rein in the U.S. Department of Education. Ask your representatives to support H.R.5 (the Student Success Act 2013), introduced in Congress on June 6, 2013. This bill won’t undo everything, but it’s a step in the right direction.
  • Say no to the intrusive data collection that comes with a district’s participation in the CC. Don’t tell them anything about your family that you don’t want Bill Gates, Pearson Education, the ED, the IRS, the Department of Justice, and other government agencies to know. Refuse questionnaires and surveys. Don’t tell them your voting status, political preference or religion.
“In a world of locked rooms, the man with the key is king...” (BBC series Sherlock). Don’t let them have the key.

Please note: The information in this post is copyrighted. The proper citation is:

Rogers, L. (June 2013). "Children are the key to America's future. The government wants control of that key." Retrieved (date) from the Betrayed Web site:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Public education’s “culture of power”: Small minds, thin skins, fragile egos

By Laurie H. Rogers

“Culture of Power”: That’s what a parent recently called the prevailing attitude in the local school district. It’s an apt description. Power is what people in public education know, and power is what they crave. In any culture of power, dissenters are seen as the problem and dealt with accordingly.

I’m privileged to know some teachers and staff members who care deeply about the children and who work hard to do what’s best for them. But there are many, many others whose interests begin and end with themselves and with their own economic/political/social agenda. Conversing with these self-interested people in a reasonable, intelligent way is impossible, a fruitless exercise. They want; they don’t want. It’s all they can see. Their logic is infantile and their perspective constricted and unyielding. With thin skins and fragile egos, it doesn’t take much for them to start showing teeth and claws.

Public education has been infiltrated by a willfully ignorant, bureaucratic, obscenely expensive, narcissistic, dictatorial mob. The Edu Mob is an enterprise concerned with enriching, maintaining and expanding itself -- not with accountability, responsibility or transparency. Derelict in its duty to the children and morally bankrupt, the Edu Mob blames others, attacks dissenters, and finds creative ways to get more money (such as filing lawsuits; trading private student information for grants and other payments; and training children to support the enterprise without question).

This video from Utah – just 8 ½ minutes – shows socio-emotional indoctrination in textbooks that claim to be aligned to the Common Core. If you click on no other link in my article, please click on this one. With these books, small children will learn to use inflammatory, antagonistic language to get what they want. These books actively work to develop negative feelings in the children for their parents.

Meanwhile, those in the Edu Mob tend to see what’s academically good for the children as bad, and what’s academically bad as good. The harder we argue for what’s actually good, the less successful we are. It took me years to see it and believe it. The line they draw is clear; we’re either "in" or "out," and we advocates are out. They see our focus on the children’s academics as a threat to the Edu Mob enterprise. When you read through the alarming links below, you’ll understand why I call these people what I do.

Reading the news, and seeing what’s coming from the feds and the
now-rather-disturbing Bill Gates, I see the once-noble field of public education as deathly ill – infected with myriad perverted missions and corrupted tactics. Children are no longer vulnerable beings to be protected; they’re now vehicles for obtaining money and power. Involved parents are no longer the first, best educators whose wishes are respected; they’re now annoying and irrelevant, just wallets to be tolerated until they start questioning things, whereupon they’re useful for taking the blame.

The sad fact is this: The Edu Mob sees everything that must be done to save public education as bad.

Still, the truth can be told, and there is value in that. Outing the Edu Mob can change public perception, and that can affect everything. Information is power. Providing information to the people helps return power to the people, where it rightfully belongs. (This is exactly why the Edu Mob works so hard, using our money, to keep it from happening.)

These are strong words, I know, but I arrived here the hard way. I’ve often said, “Parents should see what I see every day; then they’d know.” The links below show you a glimpse of what I’ve seen – over just a few months – of the culture of power, predation and selfishness in America’s education system. The issue in these articles isn't money or academics; it's power -- over the children, over parents, and over the future of this country.

We aren’t losing control of America’s classrooms; we’ve already lost it. Here is just one place where it all leads:
Last December, a California university student reportedly was suspended after asking college professors questions about a poem that was published in the university’s student newspaper. That poem began: “America the land robbed by the white savage; the land of the biggest genocide; the home of intolerance; the place where dreams come to die; the place of greed and slavery ...”

We can’t ever persuade those in the Edu Mob that their focus is misplaced, that the money is misspent, or that they’re failing the children and endangering the country. They’re getting what they want. What we can do is tell our communities what’s going on, we can save our own children and grandchildren, and we might also be able to save someone else’s child.

Read through the links below. Feel angry about what you read. Feel scared for the country and for the children. If you haven’t already done so, talk to legislators, vote for better board directors, write letters to the editor, inform others, and volunteer to tutor a child.

Do what you can. Do it today.

[Note: If you find any broken links in this article, please let me know at Thank you.]

June 2013:
A Maryland middle school student was suspended for 10 days for saying the word “gun” on a school bus. A deputy reportedly visited the boy’s home; threatened the boy’s father with his son’s permanent suspension if he didn’t fill out a questionnaire; and began a search of the home.

May 2013:
Florida schools conducted iris scans on children, without the knowledge or consent of parents. After receiving complaints, the district said all collected data was destroyed. (Uh, huh.)

May 2013:  
An Illinois high-school teacher was reprimanded for reminding students that they have a legal right to avoid self-incrimination.

 May 2013:
A Milwaukee school planned a cross-dressing day, where little girls were to dress as boys, and little boys were to dress as girls.

May 2013
: A 5-year-old in Maryland, who brought a toy cap gun onto a bus, was reportedly interrogated by school officials until he wet his pants, and then he was suspended for 10 days.

May 2013:
A 6-year-old in Massachusetts was given detention and made to apologize for bringing a tiny toy gun (slightly larger than a quarter) onto a bus.

May 2013: In
Maryland, Georgia, Maine and other states – laws were proposed or passed allowing self-identifying transgender males – or all males – to use bathrooms and showers for girls or women.

May 2013: A North Carolina high school student forgot his skeet gun in his truck. Not wanting to be late for class, he called his mother and asked her to pick up the gun. He was overheard, arrested, and charged with a felony. (An administrator who previously made a similar error was charged with a misdemeanor; reports indicate that the law doesn’t treat administrators and students the same way.)

May 2013:
A Massachusetts student was suspended for bringing a butter knife to school so she could cut her pear.

May 2013:
A Maryland 7-year-old was suspended for nibbling a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun.

May 2013:
The Florida Virtual School reportedly teaches students that terrorists join groups to kill in the name of religion because of their low-self-esteem and a need to belong. A school official was quoted as saying the lesson is based on Common Core State Standards and cannot be changed.

May 2013:
Commentary: Various conservative students struggle to maintain their right to free speech.

April 2013: A Wisconsin school was
designated a “Mix-It-Up Model.” In one activity, students were to help reduce bias by discussing the difference between natural and drug-induced highs.

April 2013:
A New York middle school reportedly told girls to ask other girls for a kiss, and boys to decide which girls look like “sluts.” (In an email to a reporter, the district superintendent complained about the news coverage but did not refute these specific claims.)

April 2013:
Atlanta educators were indicted in a cheating scandal.

March 2013:
Glenn Beck exposed CSCOPE, a controversial education program in Texas. According to Beck’s guest panel, the CSCOPE program is anti-American, anti-Christian, politically biased, and historically inaccurate. Teachers reportedly were to sign anti-disclosure contracts and not reveal lesson plans to parents. Prompted by a photo of students wearing burqas – without parental knowledge or consent – Texas legislators debated removing CSCOPE from schools. Incredibly, it isn’t gone yet.

March 2013:
A Massachusetts principal reportedly said an “honors night” could be “devastating” to other students. He canceled it in favor of a “more-inclusive” assembly.

March 2013:
New York and other states compile private student information and data to give to companies. The $100 million database was reportedly funded “primarily” by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Officials say student data is “protected” by FERPA. (Perhaps the new definition of “protected” is: “We’re marketing your private information without telling you.”)

March 2013:
New York school videos – reportedly based on the Common Core – favor the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights over the U.S. Constitution.

March 2013:
A Texas school test said 9/11 happened because of America’s actions in the world. A Texas school worksheet on the Bill of Rights lists food and medicine as “rights.”

March 2013:
Georgia teachers openly advocate in their classroom for illegal immigrants.  Students who oppose this political agenda are challenged to face their undocumented classmates.

March 2013:
Commentary: Rotten to the Core: The feds’ invasive student tracking database.

February 2013:
A Houston school put on an assembly that sung the praises of Barack Obama.

February 2013: A Texas curriculum told students to design a flag for a “new socialist nation” and to “use symbolism to represent aspects of socialism/communism” on their new flag.

February 2013:
A Colorado school offered extra tutoring to students ... unless they’re white.

January 2013:
A Philadelphia 5th grader was reportedly scolded,  searched in front of her class, and threatened with arrest – after pulling out a paper her grandfather had shaped like a gun.

January 2013:
A Pennsylvania kindergartner was suspended for 10 days and labeled a terroristic threat after playfully telling a classmate she would shoot her with her “Hello Kitty” bubble gun. The kindergartner’s friend was reportedly listed as being the “victim” of the incident.

January 2013:
A high school teacher stomped on the American flag in class and reportedly said the flag is just a piece of cloth that doesn’t mean anything. In May, the teacher received an $85,000 settlement.

January 2013:
A Texas student refused to wear a GPS tracking badge. That student was expelled. She sued the district, but she lost the court case.

January 2013:
A Wisconsin school reportedly taught in a “white privilege class” that white people are oppressors.

December 2012:
The Florida State Board of Education planned to set racially based academic goals for students. This plan was met with outrage from Hispanic and black citizens.

October 2012:
Minnesota schools reportedly closed for a few days so teachers could play with dolls, talk about the upcoming election, and learn how to teach about Islam to students.

October 2012:
A Philadelphia student wearing a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan T-shirt was reportedly told to leave her classroom.  The student said the teacher likened wearing that shirt to wearing a KKK shirt.

October 2012:
Florida schools set up voter registration drives in schools that reportedly advocated solely for Democrats and provided pro-Barack Obama commentary.

June 2012:
Bill Gates is funding wrist sensors to measure and collect data on children’s physical reactions in the classroom. “Gates officials” reportedly said they hope the sensors will become a “common classroom tool.”

I know. It’s terribly grim out there. I hope you’re motivated now to do what you can to jerk a knot in the Edu Mob’s chain. If we don’t work together on this, then this country and our children really have lost it all.

Please note: The information in this post is copyrighted. The proper citation is: Rogers, L. (June 2013). "Public education’s 'culture of power': Small minds, thin skins, fragile egos." Retrieved (date) from the Betrayed Web site:

This article was published June 12, 2013, on Education News at: