Friday, December 06, 2013

Common Core Implemented in Arkansas, and Republican Votes Made it Official

Common Core is to education what Obamacare is to health-insurance. It is an extra-Constitutional (one wonders what the NSA had on John Roberts) federal take-over of a major area of life once left to institutions closer to the individual citizen. It was implemented in a sneaky manner- bribing states to adopt standards which had not yet been written and set in place with little attention or input from parents or educators.

It is also being implemented in an obnoxious manner familiar to those who endured the launch of the "Smart Step" business in Arkansas. You may recall when "Smart Step" first came out almost all of the schools were "failing". That is because they wrote tests so hard, and gave so little guidance in how to prepare students to take them, that most were going to fail it. They designed it so that most schools would be "deficient", and therefore in need of even more centralized control and direction from the state department of education.

See how that works? Bureaucrats design "accountability" tests so hard that the test results show that the test takers need to be more accountable to the bureaucrats. You need their "help" you see, to solve the synthetic "crisis" which they themselves arranged.

Smart Step was watered down year after year once they got more control, and scores thus "improved". That allowed lots of politicians to claim credit for the "improving scores" while other tests which did not have a constantly moving bar showed that academic performance in Arkansas declined even as the amount spent on education doubled.

When government tries to take over additional swaths of human life, one can expect pushback. Formerly local school districts and individual states could decide what children under their purview were taught and how it was tested. Now, the centralizers demand control of that aspect of existence as well. So people are failing these tests, as planned by the bureaucrats. And many parents were stressed about it.

 But the racist socialists in this administration never take responsibility for the negative consequences of their rapacious power-grabs. That is why Obama's racist and socialist Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan said this in response to the push-back from his ongoing Common Core power grab: “It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback (against Common Core) 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.”

But at least we have the Republicans to protect us from this outrage, right?  Wrong actually.   People have to get it out of their heads that we have one party which wants bigger, more centralized government and another which wants smaller, more decentralized government.   What we actually are two parties who want bigger, more centralized government, one of which pretends otherwise in order to (under false pretenses) absorb the votes and political energy of Americans who are opposed to such centralization of power in Washington.   The ruling elites have Democrats to grow government and they have Republicans to pretend to want to stop them.  Please wake up my friends.

Federalization of education is one of those many issues on which you have no choice America, if you continue to stick to the Republican-Democrat template at least. This has been true for a long time, but many of us are just now waking up to it.  We are noticing rhetoric less and actions more.  Consider that G.W. Bush and Ted Kennedy worked together to impose "No Child Left Behind" on us, which used the exact same tactics of funding attached to late-coming impossible standards that Common Core is using.

It is not just the federalization of education on which the two establishment D.C. based parties leave you no real choice.  Indeed, you have no choice on any issue in which the underlying question is centralized power vs. decentralizing it.   In addition to both parties desire to federalize education, both parties want open borders, central banking, bail-outs for the uber-rich, global trade agreements, the use of debt to buy friends, international "aid" and interventionism, and of course domestic spying and a police state to control your rage once you finally realize how much they have stolen from you and your children.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee came out in favor of Common Core in a letter to Oklahoma legislators even as other states further along in the process are backing away from it.  Huckabee falsely claimed the program would not impact local control of schools.   When he ran for his second term as Governor he also claimed he was for local control of schools, but he wasn't.   To him "local control" just means "you can decide how you accomplish the goals your masters on high assign you".  I consider local control being able to freely pick your own goals.

But Mike Huckabee is the Republican past.  Let's talk about the present.   The people of this state for the first time since Reconstruction voted in a Republican Majority to both houses of the state legislature.  This was done with a clear mandate to stop the implementation of Obamacare in Arkansas as much as a state possibly can.   Instead they sold us out once their lobbies got cut in for enough of the gravy, as they went from "Lions of Liberty to Lap Kitties of the Left" in the six short months between campaign season and the session.

But not only did they stick it to you on Obamacare, they did the same on Obama's plan for education- Common Core.   The Beebe administration has always treated the legislature like a doormat, and this issue is no exception.  The ADE went around implementing Common Core without legislative approval. But starting in 2011 and especially in 2013 they got it, thanks to Republican votes.   Republican Senator Johnny Key of Mountain Home was the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 814 of 2013.  It was co-sponsored  by some of the most doctrinaire hard-left people in the legislature, Joyce Elliot and Eddie Cheatham.   The bill made Common Core official for Arkansas, read it for yourself if you doubt me. Still, only one Republican (Rep. Stephen Meeks) in the whole legislature voted against it.

Anybody can make a mistake you say. OK, how about two in a row then? That was not the only time Republicans voted in Common Core essentially without opposition. In 2011 they also overwhelmingly supported SB 383 sponsored by Eddie Cheatham. Cheatham did lie to them about what the bill was, claiming it was merely a clean-up bill when it really was the first important step to change the law necessary to implement Common Core on page 6, section 14. Still they should have known not to trust Cheatham- we activists knew better (that same year we named him the 2nd worst legislator in the state of Arkansas), why didn't they?

Even though some of them have been quick to claim that Cheatham deceived them on that bill (which he did), notice that they did not come back the next session and repeal it. Instead, they again gave unqualified support to yet another bill to implement Common Core in Arkansas with Cheatham's name on it (this time as a co-sponsor). Sometimes, people want to be lied to, in order to give them an excuse to do what they really wanted to do anyway.

Look, Beebe and the ADE were implementing this thing without legislative authorization just like he did with the state health exchange under Obamacare.    That should be a scandal in itself, but an even bigger scandal is that the Republicans like Johnny Key are sent to the legislature to fight programs like this, but are instead sponsoring and voting for the bill that authorize them.  Indeed this bill sailed through the senate without opposition and only one opposing vote in the house- Rep. Stephen Meeks.

This tale of betrayal is very similar to the state health exchange situation, where Beebe acted without legislative authorization to form a health care exchange.  Instead of passing a bill to put a stop to it,  Republicans Mark Biviano of Searcy and Senator Johnathan Dismang sponsored the bill (hb1508) to authorize what Beebe had already been doing- even though voters sent Republicans to the legislature to stop the implementation of Obamacare by the states.

The reason Arkansas has implemented Obamacare and Common Core is because Republicans in the legislature not only allowed it, not only failed to fight it, but actually drove the process.     I do not know why some people stubbornly cling to the fantasy that people who support limited government should continue to invest 100% of their political eggs in the Republican basket, but it is an absurd and dangerous error contradicted by enormous volumes of evidentiary and historical fact.  At some point people with sense and virtue will have to accept that we need a better way to send candidates to the legislature, and to local offices.   That is why I support Neighbors of Arkansas, a group of local patriots working to seek out and elect independent candidates to the state legislature and to local office.




4 Comments:

Blogger mrprincipal07 said...

There is a lot of opinion here and very little fact. Your comments indicate you have not read the Lakeview decision or Act 35. If anyone had taken the time to read any public school handbook since 2000, they would have seen Common Core and the specifics of same. This latest incarnation is led by states, not the federal gov't. So your comparison to Obamacare is specious. A mountain of valid, relevant research has been done in this area with the aim of improving student learning and academic performance. If anyone would take the time to compare Arkansas student performance before 2000 and after, they would see dramatic changes for the better after 2000.

Now those of you who rail against testing should educate yourselves in this area. You just might want to find out the difference between norm referenced and criterion referenced testing. Everyone has an opinion. It would be refreshing if said opinion had a strong basis in supporting facts.

3:44 AM, December 26, 2013  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I have read both, and if you use the search feature of this blog on Lakeview and ACT 35 you would get a list of articles posted on this blog about both. It seems to me a person who is so demanding that I do my research could do that little bit of it themselves before offering the incorrect opinion that I had not read either.

6:26 PM, December 27, 2013  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Your point about Common Core being in school hand-books from prior years is addressed right in the article. As for it being in Arkansas I noted "The ADE went around implementing Common Core even though the legislature never passed any law permitting them to do so- until 2013."

And to the extent that the same program was pushed by people before Obama, I deal with that too. The Republicans and the Democrats both want centralized control of education and have many of the same goals for it. The last plan was the Bush-Kennedy "goals 2000".

And with Obamacare in Arkansas the Republicans in the legislature just cut some of their interests in on it and passed Obamacare under the name "Private Option". Heck the last big expansion of government health care before Obamacare was Bush's Medicare Part D. Two faces of one coin of centralism.

6:39 PM, December 27, 2013  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

There is no way Common Core is "state led". Its led by those writing the checks, and that is fedgov. The tactic of presenting some illusion of local or state control is a common one. I experienced that myself during my 12 years as a public teacher.

And seeing as how I did teach for 12 years I am aware of the difference between norm referenced and criterion based testing, and so is the member of my family who has taught for over 20 years and is still teaching with impressive results. I heard him use the F-word this holiday for the first time I can remember- when talking about Common Core.

6:46 PM, December 27, 2013  

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