Jill Stein: Education Is a Right

jill-stein

Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for President, on her platform page says that education is a right, and lists the following priorities:

  • Guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university.
  • Abolish student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude.
  • Protect our public school systems from privatization.
  • Use restorative justice to address conflicts before they occur, and involve students in the process.
  • Evaluate teacher performance through assessment by fellow professionals. Do not rely on high stakes tests that reflect economic status of the community, and punish teachers working in low income communities of color.
  • Replace Common Core with curriculum developed by educators, not corporations, with input from parents and communities.
  • Stop denying students diplomas based on high stakes tests.
  • Stop using merit pay to punish teachers who work with the most challenging student populations.
  • Restore arts, music and recreation to school curriculums.
  • Ensure racially inclusive, sensitive and relevant curriculums.
  • Use Department of Education powers to offer grants and funding to encourage metropolitan desegregation plans based on socioeconomically balanced schools.
  • Recognize poverty as the key obstacle to learning. Ensure that kids come to school ready to learn: healthy, nourished, secure and free from violence.
  • Increase federal funding of public schools to equalize public school funding.

I was actually surprised to see she wanted to replace Common Core. I’m not surprised by her stance on high-stakes testing. On one hand there seems to be an appeal to local control, but “ensuring” any type of curriculum is actually more federal control than what Hillary Clinton advocates. She also wants to increase federal funding of public schools to equalize public school funding. I assume this is to ensure urban schools have the same amount of taxpayer funding as suburban schools. That along with free tuition for preschool through university (which public school for K-12 is already “free”) sounds really, really expensive.

Gary Johnson: Let’s Get Rid of the Department of Education

Gary Johnson

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson as the Libertarian candidate for President unsurprisingly wants to get rid of the U.S. Department of Education.

How about getting rid of the Department of Education?” Johnson asks in a video on his education issue page. “Washington can’t educate our kids. We used to have the brightest kids in the world, and we can again, but the Department of Education stands in the way.”

His education page shares the following:

Governor Gary Johnson was one of the first governors in the nation to propose and advocate a universally available program of school choice.

He did so while governing with an overwhelmingly Democrat legislature and while facing a powerful teachers’ union. He was well aware that his proposal would not be enacted and would generate fierce opposition. However, he believed it was important to raise the issue and force the teachers’ unions to defend a clearly failing status quo.

More broadly, Gov. Johnson believes there is no role for the Federal Government in education. He would eliminate the federal Department of Education, and return control to the state and local levels. He opposes Common Core and any other attempts to impose national standards and requirements on local schools, believing the key to restoring education excellence in the U.S. lies in the innovation, freedom and flexibility that federal interference inherently discourages.

As Governor, he saw first-hand that the costs of federal education programs and mandates far outweigh any benefits, both educationally and financially.

Well we know Johnson wouldn’t make education a priority for the federal government. I can’t criticize his education policy position as it is where I’m at. The only problem is that the likelihood of a President Gary Johnson is very, very slim.

Donald Trump on Education: We Will End Common Core

Donald Trump doesn’t say much about education policy. I’ve only personally heard him discuss Common Core in a dig against Jeb Bush, something he’ll also be able to direct Hillary Clinton’s way.

His issues page only includes the video below sharing Trump’s message about education.

Transcript:

I am tremendous believer in education, but education has to be at a local level. We can not have the bureaucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child’s education. So Common Core is a total disaster, we can’t let it continue. We are rated 28 in the world, the United States, think of it – 28 in the world, and frankly we spend far more per pupil than any other country in the world by far it’s not even a close second.

So here we are, we spend more money and we are rated 28. Third world countries are ahead of us. We are going to end Common Core. We are going to have education, an absolute priority.

Trump has good instincts on Common Core, and saying education needs to be at a local level is a good thing. Those are good instincts. The primary problem I have with Donald Trump when it comes to education policy is the lack of specificity. Why does he believe Common Core is bad? Why does he believe education needs to be at the local level. I want to know he understands the issue and isn’t just spouting off talking points.

How will he end Common Core when states have adopted these? Does this mean he’ll end the carrot and stick approach to federal education funding? Will he work to repeal the Every Student Succeeds Act? Will he work to end the U.S. Department of Education?

He then says education is an absolute priority. How so if education is supposed to be at the local level. I would love to hear presidential candidates say education is not and should not be a federal priority. The reason for this is that it is not a constitutional priority. If I saw education listed as one of the enumerated powers of Congress in Article I of the Constitution I’d feel differently, but its not.

Does Donald Trump understand this?

Also, and at the risk of sounding nit picky, while the U.S. spends a lot per pupil for K-12 education, it does not spend the most. It is actually in 5th place. Switzerland, Norway, Austria and Luxembourg spends more per student according to the last OECD report. The U.S. spends the most when you factor in postsecondary education, but not when you just consider elementary and secondary education.

In terms of education policy at the federal level Trump has a leg-up on Clinton. He would be wise to flesh his position out more.

Hillary Clinton’s Vision for Early Childhood Education

Hillary Clinton at the DNC Women's Leadership Forum in 2014. Photo credit: Karen Murphy

Hillary Clinton at the DNC Women’s Leadership Forum in 2014
Photo credit: Karen Murphy (CC-By-ND 2.0)

We know that Hillary Clinton likes national standards. She has picked a running mate who tried to bring Common Core into his state. She plans to expand the federal reach into preschool, and even the home.

From her own policy page on early childhood education she states she wants to make preschool access universal for every 4-year-old in America.

Make preschool universal for every 4-year-old in America. Despite research showing its benefits, only about half of the roughly 8.1 million 3- and 4-year-olds in the United States are enrolled in preschool, with only one in four enrolled in publicly funded preschool. Hillary believes that every child deserves the same strong start. That’s why she will work to ensure that every 4-year-old in America has access to high-quality preschool in the next 10 years.

Right now this is just talking about access and funding, but with the unnatural and developmentally inappropriate “rigor” for kindergarteners I’ve been concerned about this push for universal preschool. When will states start making this compulsory? Especially when there is federal money at stake. They are not going to fund empty preschools.

Plus, this diminishes private preschools, especially church-based preschools that may not be able to compete.

She also wants to incentivize parents, especially mothers, to put their kids in day care.

Significantly increase child care investments so that no family in America has to pay more than 10 percent of its income to afford high-quality child care. The cost of child care has increased by nearly 25 percent during the past decade, while the wages of working families have stagnated. While families across America are stretched by skyrocketing costs, child care has become more important than ever before—both as a critical work support for the changing structure of American families and as an essential component of a child’s early development. These high costs severely squeeze working families, prevent too many children from getting a healthy start, and act as a disincentive for parents to stay in the workforce. Hillary will fight for every family in America to have access to high quality, affordable child care by significantly increasing the federal government’s investment in child care subsidies and providing tax relief for the cost of child care to working families.

Child care isn’t something that we typically write about here at TAE, but there is a theme present here. A push to further remove children from their parents at earlier and earlier ages. I’m not saying there is not a need for day care, and that many families have to have two incomes. What I’m concerned about is that staying at home, especially when children are young, is almost seen as a bad thing.

And of course government is going to fix all of this.

Then she wants to double down on a failed program.

Double our investment in Early Head Start and the Early Head Start–Child Care Partnership program. Early Head Start provides comprehensive services to our youngest learners and their families—including health, nutrition, and pre-literacy support with a strong focus on children’s social and emotional development. The Early Head Start–Child Care Partnership program brings Early Head Start’s evidence-based curriculum into the child care setting to provide comprehensive, full-day, high-quality services to low-income families. To ensure our children have a strong foundation to learn, Hillary will double the number of children served by Early Head Start and the Early Head Start–Child Care Partnership program.

Head Start is a well documented failure. Even the federal government admits it, so it takes some incredible stupidity to think that doubling your investment is a good idea. Wow.

This brings me to what disturbs me the most with her early childhood education plan.

Expand access to evidence-based home visiting programs. There is increasing scientific evidence that brain development in the earliest years of childhood is crucial to economic success. That’s why Hillary will double our investment in home visiting programs such as the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. These programs—which provide home visits by a social worker or nurse during and directly after pregnancy—significantly improve maternal and child health, development, and learning.

Funding social workers to come into homes. Look having worked with at-risk youth for 13 years and adolescents in general for 20 years I understand the value of having parental coaching. Being a home schooling parent however the thought of a federally-funded social worker come into my home gives me the willies. No thank you. Here again we have the federal government stepping into the role that was once filled by the church and extended families. They used to be the ones who would provide mentoring and assistance for young parents. That has been lost, and programs like what Hillary Clinton suggests exasperates that loss.

Ultimately the question that needs to be asked of Hillary Clinton’s proposals is what is the constitutional mandate for this?

I wouldn’t wait long for an answer since there isn’t one.

Tim Kaine Tried to Bring Common Core Into Virginia

Tim Kaine with Hillary Clinton on the campaign trailPhoto credit: Hillary for America

Tim Kaine with Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail
Photo credit: Hillary for America

We know that the Democratic Party sees Common Core as an issue that shouldn’t be touched. This is probably mostly due to Hillary Clinton’s support of the standards.  Her running mate had a love affair with Common Core as well. When U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) was Governor of Virginia he attempted to bring the standards into the state.

Below is the text to a press release sent on May 8, 2009 by the Virginia Department of Education:

Governor Timothy M. Kaine and Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright signed a memorandum of agreement today that commits the Commonwealth to participation in the “State Common Core Standards” initiative, a state-led process to develop K-12 English and mathematics standards that meet international academic expectations. The multi-state initiative will produce a voluntary “common core” of rigorous academic standards to prepare students for postsecondary education and the 21st-century workplace. The effort is being coordinated by the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

“This process respects state sovereignty and our federal system while recognizing that America’s future prosperity hinges on the ability of our public schools to produce young men and women who can hold their own with their brightest peers in the developed and developing worlds,” said Governor Kaine.

“Virginia remains committed to the Standards of Learning (SOL),” said Dr. Wright, who has played a key role since the mid-1990s in the development and enhancement of the Commonwealth’s nationally recognized accountability system. “But commitment to the SOL program does not preclude contributing to an effort to raise standards nationwide and learning from the process.”

The multi-state agreement calls for the development of a core set of high school standards in English-language arts and mathematics by late summer of 2009, and elementary and middle school standards in both subjects by the end of 2009. Signing the memorandum of agreement to participate in the development process does not bind a state to adopting the common core. Individual states will make decisions about the appropriate use of the standards after they are completed.

The process builds on the success of other multi-state efforts to align high school standards with postsecondary and workplace expectations. For example, 35 states – including Virginia – have participated in the American Diploma Project to ensure that their academic standards cover content and skills widely recognized as essential to college and workplace readiness.

The NGA Center for Best Practices and CCSSO will involve Achieve, Inc.—the bipartisan education reform group that sponsored the American Diploma Project—as well as ACT and the College Board in the standards-drafting process, with participating states providing review and input at each step of the process.

Fortunately Virginia Governors are only allowed one term, and when former Governor Bob McDonnell took office he pulled Virginia out (though the state has indicated their standards are mostly aligned to Common Core).

DNC Says Common Core Is a Third Rail

WMATA_third_rail_at_West_Falls_Church

Photo credit: Ancheta Wis (CC-By-2.0)

An email discovered among the correspondence that was part of the Wikileaks dump of hacked Democratic National Committee files explains why Common Core was not mentioned in their platform approved yesterday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

wikileaks-3

“Common Core is a political third rail that we should not be touching at all. Get rid of it.” If you are not aware a political third rail means that an issue is dangerous to touch, like the third rail with some trains and subway systems that are deadly to touch due to being electrified.

Democrats, as a party, have not jumped on Common Core opposition like you’ve seen Republicans do, but there are some state parties, like Washington State Democrats, have come out in opposition. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo when running for reelection had a primary challenger who was anti-Common Core.

They didn’t outright support it in their platform in 2012, but they couldn’t criticize it either since the Obama Administration was instrumental in getting states to sign-on through the Race to the Top program which Democrats praised.

Their presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton supports national standards so for the DNC to criticize it, especially when they were working to ensure Clinton got the nomination would be uncouth.

So the Democratic Party has failed to listen to many of their own supporters because it isn’t politically expedient. Instead of embracing an issue that has bipartisan value they mainly focus in their education platform what divides Americans.

HT: Missouri Education Watchdog

Democrat Platform Avoids Common Core, Supports Opt-Outs

Photo credit: Democratic National Committee

Photo credit: Democratic National Committee

The Democrat Party released its final draft of the 2016 party platform that will be voted on at the Democratic National Convention this week in Philadelphia. The platform makes no mention of the Common Core State Standards, but does address standardized assessments and parental opt-outs.

Here is the pertinent language:

We are also deeply committed to ensuring that we strike a better balance on testing so that it informs, but does not drive, instruction. To that end, we encourage states to develop a multiple measures approach to assessment, and we believe that standardized tests must be reliable and valid. We oppose high-stakes standardized tests that falsely and unfairly label students of color, students with disabilities and English Language Learners as failing; the use of standardized test scores as basis for refusing to fund schools or to close schools; and the use of student test scores in teacher and principal evaluations, a practice which has been repeatedly rejected by researchers. We support enabling parents to opt their children out of standardized tests without penalty for either the student or their school.

Unfortunately the party also doesn’t say anything about student data privacy and call for the elimination of a federal mandate for testing so they do not go far enough. Also Democrats want to expand federal involvement in education through universal preschool and the expansion of Title I funds. While there is something praiseworthy in the Democrat’s education platform it also represents a missed opportunity.

You can read the entire Democrat platform on education here on pages 32-34.

*Shocker* New York’s New Standards Could Be A Lot Like Common Core

New York State Department of Education Building in Albany, NY. Photo credit: Matt H. Wade (CC-By-SA)

New York State Department of Education Building in Albany, NY
Photo credit: Matt H. Wade (CC-By-SA 3.0)

A new report says that New York’s new standards could look a lot like Common Core.

And in other news, water is wet.

From The Post-Star:

If New York moves away from the Common Core standards, the state could end up with new standards very much like the ones it abandoned, according to a report by the New York State School Boards Association…

….The New York State Education Department is in the process of reviewing feedback from a survey of more than 15,000 about the Common Core standards. The report quotes Patte Barth, director of the National School boards Association’s Center for Public Education, who concluded that the new standards will also be similar to the Common Core.

“People were upset with Common Core because it happened without much, if any, public discussion,” she said. “People did not feel they had buy-in with the process. With a public review of the standards, states are now having that discussion. Even if standards remain substantially the same, stakeholders will at least know they had a role in them.”

LOL, yes so much better if we end up with the same crap sandwich knowing we had a “say.” Do these people actually believe what they are saying? Considering that New York is using Common Core as a starting point for their new standards none of this is surprising.

You can read the report below.

One of These Things Is Just Like The Other

montana-flag

I’m sooooo tired of educrats trying to pull the wool over the eyes of its citizenry. Example #9,156,999 comes out of Montana.

From the Billings Gazette:

When Montana education officials proposed new science standards Thursday, they emphasized the standards’ local roots.

“They are truly Montana’s science standards,” said Jael Prezeau, the Office of Public Instruction director of content standards and instruction.

The standards also bear a striking resemblance to Next Generation Science Standards, which were developed by a 26-state group in 2013. The proposed standards, which the Board of Public Education signed off on, are endorsed by many education and industry groups, including ExxonMobil, and are praised for being more rigorous and encouraging more critical thinking.

They have also been controversial, particularly for linking climate change to human activity and for explicitly addressing evolution.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau emphasized that committees who wrote the standards reviewed examples from 17 states; she never actually used the phrase “Next Generation Science Standards” during repeated questioning about the relationship with the proposed standards.

“That was one of the resources that they looked at,” she said. “There was tons of opportunity for people to have input into this. At the end of the day, whatever the draft looks like, that’s what it reflects.”

I *love* it when states say standards are local because they were reviewed prior to plagiarizing them. Montana joins the parade of states who decided to double down on stupid and adopt or plagiarize all or part of the Next Generation Science Standards which even a number of Common Core advocates hate.

As far as “reviews” go I’ve yet to see a state change course after doing one of those.

RNC Rejects “One Size Fits All” Approach to Education in Platform

Photo credit: Republican National Committee

Photo credit: Republican National Committee

The Republican National Convention passed a platform yesterday that had a significant section devoted to education. It affirms the supremacy of parents when it comes to education and rejects one-size-fits-all approaches to education and embraces of local control.

Below is the relevant text:

Parents are a child’s first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children. Parents have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing. We support a constitutional amendment to protect that right from interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations. We reject a onesize-fits-all approach to education and support a broad range of choices for parents and children at the state and local level. We likewise repeat our longstanding opposition to the imposition of national standards and assessments, encourage the parents and educators who are implementing alternatives to Common Core, and congratulate the states which have successfully repealed it. Their education reform movement calls for choice-based, parent-driven accountability at every stage of schooling. It affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations. It recognizes the wisdom of local control of our schools and it wisely sees consumer rights in education — choice — as the most important driving force for renewing education. It rejects excessive testing and “teaching to the test” and supports the need for strong assessments to serve as a tool so teachers can tailor teaching to meet student needs.

You can read the platform here. The education section is on pages 33-36.