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Tag Archives: education

What Arne Duncan Did to Your Kid

Retiring Education Secretary Arne Duncan is nothing less than the poster boy for President Barack Obama’s determination to inflict as much centralized government on Americans as possible.

Duncan, who announced Friday he’ll step down in December, decreed what is effectively a national education standard — the much-reviled “Common Core” — before anyone really understood what was happening. Neither Congress nor state legislatures had much of a say.

Even as Obama early in his first term was noisily realizing the liberal dream of universal health care, Duncan was quietly, and swiftly, doing something similar with education.

Duncan, in collusion with billionaire Bill Gates, whose foundation was spending millions in support of Common Core, pressed states to act quickly on the program. Duncan dangled billions from the 2009 stimulus before the states, handing them cash if they quickly adopted the standards.

“Because of the way education policy is generally decided, the Common Core was instituted in many states without a single vote taken by an elected lawmaker,” the liberal Washington Post reported last year. “It was a clever way around federal laws that prohibit Washington from interfering in what takes place in classrooms … The movement grew so quickly and with so little public notice that opposition was initially almost nonexistent.”

Meantime, in a brutal, backhanded federal power grab, Duncan offered to exempt states from onerous requirements in the No Child Left Behind law and its test-driven education standards if they instituted Common Core.

By 2010, the program had been adopted nearly nationwide. Critics say the standards were jammed into place without sufficient testing or proof that they would work. In effect, Duncan has made guinea pigs of your kids, as he and Gates gamble that the new standards will have a positive effect.

Two years ago, Duncan offered up some contempt and racial profiling in his criticism of those who questioned Common Core:

“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan said. “You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.”

The comment raises questions about whether part of Duncan’s motivation is a typical left-wing desire to artificially equalize society.

When Obama said just before Election Day in 2008 that he was on the cusp of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” he wasn’t kidding.

He pushed through sweeping change in the most fundamental areas of our life — education, environmental standards (for greenhouse gas emissions) and health care — while attempting to unilaterally legalize millions of illegal immigrants. In three of four of these areas, he moved without the cooperation of Congress.

The animating force behind such thinking is the presumption of liberals that they are smarter than everyone else and know what’s best for people. Annoying matters such as the Constitution and democratic values are to be discarded if necessary to save the rest of us dummies from ourselves.

Arne Duncan was one of those who knew best. His legacy for your children or grandchildren is a wholesale change in the way they must learn — and a government with greater purview over their lives and one that cares less about what they think.

This piece originally appeared in PoliZette.

Arne Duncan is Done

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is leaving in December. He will be replaced by his deputy former New York state education commissioner John King.

Duncan’s term, which has spanned Obama’s entire presidency, has been marked by aggressive moves to institute a Common Core-influenced agenda. I will live stream the Obama announcement, scheduled for 3 pm today.

Briefing has been cancelled.

Obama to Abandon College Ratings

The March of Progress – aka the gradual intrusion of government into every possible corner of your life – is somehow being slowed a bit as the Obama administration puts on ice plans to provide government ratings for colleges.

The Education Department blog says an evaluation of higher education centers of learning, to be released today, will, “take a more consumer-driven approach than some have expected, providing information to help students reach their own conclusions about a college’s value,” which, according to the Wall Street Journal, means no actual ratings.

Now, as the WSJ mentioned, the gray part of this silver lining is that we won’t get to see academics suddenly victims of the very left wing dogma they are drilling into our young people, forced to cope with the same government chimera they are helping to create. While it would have been delightful to savor these just desserts, the price to liberty would be just too high.


Because imagine how this was to go down. The Education Department was to give its USDE Grade of Approval to individual universities. Universities with poor grades would experience less demand from students for an education, and perhaps fewer donations from alumni aghast that their alma mater was not up to federal snuff.

So, of course, these universities decide they must start aggressively kissing some federal government booty, doing whatever the government requires in terms of creating diversity, structuring a curriculum, and providing a warm, loving environment – but not too loving less someone claim they are being assaulted.

You get the picture. These ratings are a backdoor entrance to federal control over higher education.

Supposedly, the Obama administration backed down in the face of the objections from what are usually its allies in academia. But I’m hardly convinced this is over. The temptation to control the minds of our college-age youth, as the federal government is already doing with their younger counterparts, is too great. I mean, it’s what average Socialists are permitted to do in normal Socialist societies.

Teach the people to read. And then give them something to read.

Obama Proposes Lots More Free Stuff

Updated 6:20 pm ET.

The White House today announced that President Obama wants to make the first two years of community college free for all, a new bundle of free stuff that of course isn’t free and could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

The White House was careful not to put out a price tag yet. Obama wants to presumably hear only cheers, not jeers, when he travels to Knoxville, Tennessee today to officially unveil the program. But White House officials said the plan could save up to nine million students an average of $3,800. Anyone with, say, a little community college can do the math.*

Combined with the president’s drive for universal early childhood education, the community college plan is the next piece in agenda that would have taxpayers foot the bill for a cradle-to-college education.

Such spending, of course, is labeled “investment” by the White House. Unfortunately, with the tab for federal “investments” having just broken the $18-trillion mark, it might be time to scale back some of the investing. Obama, rather, is scaling up.

Obama on counter

Yay! Free Stuff!

It’s not clear the investment will in this case be working very hard for you, dear taxpayer. Students need only maintain a C+ average – at a community college, not Harvard. They can attend half-time and need only show that they are making “steady progress” toward completing the two years.

Meanwhile, the federal government, which is already planning to issue “report cards” for private colleges and universities it helps fund and which is exerting control over schools through the “common core” education standards, gets even more influence over what students will learn.

According to a White House fact sheet, states participating will only have to pony up a quarter of the cost – the other three quarters a gift from the federal government, but must “coordinate high schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions to reduce the need for remediation and repeated courses and allocate a significant portion of funding based on performance.”

Uh oh. What’s does that mean? Coordination. Performance standards. I assume the Department of Education will decide how good the coordinating is going. Looks like more federal control of the curriculum to me.

“Giving away free stuff is a hard thing to compete with,” Mitt Romney said after losing the 2012 presidential election, to much criticism.

Of course, Romney hit on the eternal struggle for conservatives, opposing federal purview and spending while trying not to be cast as Grumbling Grinches. In this case, expect Obama to make the case that Republicans trying to thwart him on this don’t care about educating people – perhaps with a guest appearance by the income gap, with Obama suggesting Republicans want to keep the poor and the middle class from getting the knowledge they need for “good jobs.”

All in all, between now and 2016, we are in for a two-year education in art of class warfare.

*UPDATE: The White House said today they cost would by $60 billion over ten years.

Reagan? Who’s That Dude?

Yes, let’s throw some more money at education. It’s really working out great.

And let’s make sure everyone goes to college, even these kids, who should instead be moving immediately into the cashier profession. Instead, Obama wants to make sure they’re in debt for advanced schooling, and that taxpayers are covering a bunch of their college costs too.

I’m sure these sweet young things are well versed in the various groups, countries, animals, and ecosystems that have been oppressed by the United States. Please, someone give them a couple of serious history and civics lessons before the country goes slurping and swirling down the drain!

I’m willing to be that the young men who landed on Normandy 70 years ago today knew in which decade Woodrow Wilson was president. Imagine, even before we had a Department of Education.

Carney: “I Haven’t Seen Arne’s Full Comments”

Oh please. Somebody get me out of Washington. Does anyone have a room for rent in Nebraska?

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Monday showcased one typical Washington way not to answer a question: Profess ignorance.

He employed the tactic Monday when asked if Education Secretary Arne Duncan was appropriate in invoking race when he sneered at “white suburban moms” for complaining about the Common Core education standards.

Said Carney:

I haven’t talked to the president about this issue and I haven’t seen Arne’s full comments.

Hasn’t seen his full comments? You mean like, since Duncan took office?

Anyway, Carney then immediately belied his own assertion by obviously reading a prepared response:

But if his point was that we need to be honest with kids and parents about whether we’re providing the skills they need to succeed, I think we can all agree on that.

If his point was? The White House doesn’t have Arne’s phone number to find out his address? His email account? Is the White House friends with him on Facebook at least?

So Carney knew enough to generate some spin, but not to answer the question. Got it.

School Forced Back Into Session for Obama

In an apparent planning snafu, President Obama today will visit an early learning school in Decatur, Georgia that happens to be in recess this week.

But no problem: According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, staff and bus drivers will be summoned back to work for the day to accomodate Obama’s appearance.

College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center Principle Suzanne Kennedy alerted parents that the staff will interrupt their vacations for the “amazing opportunity” for students to “expand their worlds” by seeing the president:

President Obama’s visit is an honor for College Heights and the City Schools of Decatur. Since the school system is on winter break, we are offering a one-day experience for pre-K and Head Start students on the day of his visit- Thursday, February 14, 2013. This day would resemble a normal school day: same bus routes and times, same school beginning and end times, regular instructional day with the same staff, and breakfast and lunch offerings.

The district apparently has an unusual system that includes more breaks during the year and a shorter summer vacation, accounting for the mid-February recess.

Obama will be on hand to promote his State of the Union suggestion that early childhood education be made a new entitlement “available to every single child in America.”

Obama to Bash GOP Over Head With College Diploma

President Obama today unpacks his newest tool for smacking evil Republicans. It’s called the Stafford Loan. Currently, students can get this already-subsidized loan at 3.4 percent instead of the usual 6.8 percent. They don’t start paying until they’re six months out of school – or until six months after they get depressed over being dumped… Continue Reading

Obama To Aussie Students: Our Kids are Behind

There’s an unwritten rule in politics that politicians must not criticize the president when they are overseas. How about adding America’s school kids to the list of untouchables? Speaking at a high school in Australia, President Obama told a group of Aussie students that their counterparts in his country had “fallen behind” when it comes… Continue Reading

Another Day, Another Power Grab

What’s the major difference between George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law and the new education program that will be announced by President Obama today? It’s there in the very sentence above. The Bush law is a law. It was the result of arduous bipartisan negotiations that led to an agreement between, of all… Continue Reading

Uncle Sam’s Screwy “Investments” for Our Kids

It’s really impolite in Washington to say you want to eliminate the Department of Education and slash education spending. Because it only goes to show THAT YOU HATE CHILDREN. As President Obama looks for this or that to cut, one of those sacrosanct things that not only won’t get touched, but will get INCREASED, are… Continue Reading