On July 22, 2014, Glenn Beck hosted an informative discussion about education reforms, specifically “common core.” I have researched and written profusely about these reforms for over two decades now. Much of that has already been posted on this blog site and you can search the categories and archives.
The Beck show was enlightening and well-done. Some excellent ideas were put forward. How to organize and work with state legislators. How to research, using original sources. How to message (although I disagree with a couple of points).
At the end, the show’s ACTION was clear: buy Beck’s book Conform. That’s OK too (except that some critical points were omitted.) We believe in free enterprise and to the degree that his book will galvanize masses to take action, that’s good. The action I have been urging our local group to do since 2012 is to boycott the tests. To stage a massive walk out.
That has great value, and so I thank him for having the resources to use great communication tools to unite us around that piece. That said, when I walked into the theatre, I actually prayed that he would “get it right.” In many ways he did. But the crucial points I feared would be omitted, were indeed omitted, and a few others were trampled on and discouraged. By and large, that is because the sentiment is that in order to win, we must have the Left on our side. That means our reasons for restoring local education are different from the Left, and while we can unite in the cause of getting rid of common core, we must beware what the replacement might be, because the Left and the Right have completely different core values and definitions of the purpose of education.
Beck listed three alternatives – “choices”: public, home and charter.
In order to create a concise resource for those who believe in “choice in education” and the argument for why it is really NOT “choice” at all, but the demise of choice, the free market and representative government, here is the logic in a nutshell. If this idea of “choice” does not defy Free Enterprise 101, then pinch me:
Here are some core problems (no pun):
When a private school gets federal or state subsidies, it is beholden to the source of the funding. It is no longer a private school. It is publicly-funded.
Charter schools are PUBLIC schools. They are voucher-receiving schools – from federal and state tax dollars. Vouchers tie the charter schools to the federal and state regulations that are binding public schools to the reforms that we now call “common core,” but which are really restructuring reforms we’ve been fighting for years under different labels.
The difference now is that the technology is so good, the data mining and privacy issues have alarmed enough people on both sides of the aisle they are perking up.
Charter schools actually REMOVE local control because typically a charter school is directed under the unelected state charter school board. The “local” charter school board is NOT elected by the local taxpayers either.
In fact, in most instances, in order to run for a charter school board, you have to be associated with the charter school. So you and I could not run for that board, unless we had a student attending the charter school, or we were on the staff/faculty or perhaps a shareholder of the private side of the public partnership.
This is formally called a “P3″ – a public-private partnership. In the charter P3, the private enterprise (corporation) provides the capital to build the brick and mortar, provide desks, chairs, supplies, materials, and the state provides the voucher for the students.
P3′s are dangerous because even though we pay taxes to support that charter school, we have no voice. This is rather unconstitutional because it is not representative government – in fact it removes local control. As soon as a school takes public funds, it becomes part of the public domain. We need accountability from the taxpayers.
Another point is that most state charter school laws require them to follow federal regulations and they cannot be religious. The NEA, a liberal teachers union, supports charter schools, and it clearly spells out what the parameters for them must be. If you check your state’s charter school statutes, you may be surprised to learn that they are aligned to the NEA’s criteria for allowing a charter school law to be passed.
What are the consequences? Charter schools are now competing with the truly independent private schools, especially with the religious private schools, and in many areas where charter schools are established, private schools are going out of business. Rather than go out of business, there is an alternative: apply for a charter (go public). So how does this build up and strengthen the private sector?
Some Catholic schools are now in survival mode. Either they apply for a charter and then MUST secularize (lose their purpose for being) or go out of business. This was not happenstance. It’s well known that education reformers in the NEA would LOVE to see ALL schools under public scrutiny. Bottom Line, Free Enterprise 101: It’s tough to compete with “FREE.”
So when Beck put up the three alternatives (“choices”) in his interactive show last night: public, home and charter, I was concerned, but I knew he would do it. Follow the money. Most of the money behind “Stop Common Core” is coming from well-funded think tanks that oppose common core and those think tanks are getting their funding from pro-charter funders.
So while Beck listed three choices on the screen, at the end of the day, we we continue to support charter schools, we will end up with only two and likely one (as more government regulations are governing home schools and are being incorporated into some charter school business plans).
Choice in education by Beck’s and of Hillsdales’ definition of choice (…whatever has happened to the old Hillsdale that would NEVER take a government penny?) is no choice at all. It will kill – and IS killing choice. Charters KILL private education and place “local control” at best at the state level under the unelected state charter school board! This is wrong. We already had choice: public, private and home.
Does anyone read my logic?
If so, we need your help right away. Please donate generously on the DONATE tab to American Leadership Fund and designate “Stop Common Core Reforms” Your $35, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 contribution is needed today.
PS. It was sad to note that no mention was given – even by name – to the woman, the grandmother of this entire movement, without whom we would not have had the historical background. To my mentor and the activist to which all the current researchers owe much gratitude and thanks, the woman who blew the whistle on all these reforms while she was a senior policy advisor in the USED during the Reagan Administration, the women Reagan hired to help him dismantle the USED, and the woman who coined the phrase “deliberate dumb down”: Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt.
Had Charlotte been invited and walked into the room, she would have received a long standing ovation. But, it would have been an awkward moment for both Beck and Iserbyt: She was the originator of the term “communist core” to describe this restructuring movement that goes well beyond common core standards and because the charter school model originated under the KGB. (Soviet immigrants know a lot about P3s and the KBG.) And we were told that label is a “NO NO.”
This is a fact. I was once asked to accompany a Utah state education administrator to Russia to observe how they do it.
You can read “Charlotte’s web” posts at www.abcsofdumbdown.blogspot.com
With that in mind, there was another omission in Beck’s program, but I assume it was for lack of time: What action should we take at the federal level? (Suggestion: Dismantle the USED…) How do the states take back their local control? (Suggestion: Remove federal controls over state lands.) Food for thought.