common core argument

There is a common theme of the creation and adoption of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Common Core State Standards.  Diane Ravitch offers (above) a concise statement on how the standards adoption bypassed transparency and governmental process.  ACA architect Jonathon Gruber may have given Americans a glimpse of exactly what choice architects think of the non-elites making decisions impacting their lives financially and physically.

“In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in—you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed, okay. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass…Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

 

Mr. Gruber was paid $400,000 by taxpayers as a consultant for his participation in this less than transparent Affordable Health Care bill.  Now that’s what I would consider legislative stupidity for this contract, but Mr. Gruber seems quite content in profiting off of stupid Americans and their lack of knowledge on the bill’s true intent, which of course was designed by Mr. Gruber and others to be non-transparent so the bill could pass.  The end justifies the means to the likes of Mr. Gruber and Common Core proponents.

This is the blueprint of educational reform and the adoption/implementation of Common Core State Standards.  Just change the players from Mr. Gruber to David Coleman, Bill Gates and Arne Duncan, and you’ve got the #GruberGate fiasco in education.  (Be sure to check out that hashtag on Twitter.  Mr. Gruber garners little sympathy).

Speaking of Twitter, I have one follower who refuses to divulge her name or her connection to the ed reform movement.  She seems to be an educator of some sort (allegedly a PhD) and this is her response to my comment that Missouri could adopt CA’s Math standards and MA’s ELA standards as an alternative to Common Core State States (renamed Missouri Learning Standards). CA and MA standards are evidenced based and considered high achieving, unlike the standards Missouri currently uses:

aby 5

Do you want this ‘professional’ teaching your child or in an educational administrative role?  I don’t remember reading stories about children whining and crying over previous CA or MA standards that those state educational leaders wrote, do you?  The development inappropriateness of the Common Core standards is the reason for the numerous stories from parents nationwide of their children experiencing emotional difficulty.  (Hint: it’s not an ‘implementation’ problem.)  This statement by A.B.Y.PhD is typical of the elites who don’t appreciate their academic world being exposed by the citizens who are providing their salaries.  The disdain and disrespect by public employees directed to the people who are providing the funding of their jobs needs more exposure.

She (I am making an assumption here as I doubt the mug shot used in the avatar is authentic) insists that the adoption/implementation of Common Core was indeed transparent and that it was within our public representatives’ authority to sign MOUs that gave public direction/development of education to private NGOs which have no accountability to taxpayers or the legislature.   That should be an issue that the legislature clarifies and perhaps litigated.   This attitude of the stupidity of Americans to run their own educational system is indicated by our educational state agency in our 2009 Race to the Top Application:

 

Who could forget Commissioner Chris Nicastro’s admiration of Cass Sunstein as noted in Missouri’s first Race to the Top application?  From ed.gov and the Missouri application (pg 9):
Core Student Learning and Outcomes Goals
The Race to the Top has provided an unprecedented opportunity for Missouri to bring its citizens together, to identify common goals and to develop a plan for a decade of educational reform designed to give Missouri’s children a competitive edge in tomorrow’s international competition. Our vision for reform embraces the notion advanced in the book, Nudge, where Thaler and Sunstein outline the need for “choice architects” to subtly steer choices toward positive results while leaving people, districts and schools “free to choose”.  We know that if Missouri’s public schools are to be the best choice for our citizens, they must produce the best results. This Race to the Top competition has provided the “nudge” Missouri needed to pick up the pace.
Missouri Education Chris Nicastro based her proposal to Race to the Top on this theory; perhaps she is employing the current theory present throughout all the government entities; schools, the EPA, the Department of Education and the State Department. Here’s an excerpt from the book’s review:
Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.
 

Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful “choice architecture” can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. 


This is the educational version of elitist takeover and doublespeak that’s also present in Mr. Gruber’s intentional non-transparency in the crafting of the ACA.  ‘Choice architects’ don’t ask your permission or vote to drive their reforms.  They believe private citizens make poor choices and blunders that they, the choice architects, can make right.  They receive funding from special interest groups and the Federal government to push the public/private agenda through and circumvent the political process.

CCSS opponents believe governmental decisions should be made according to state constitutions as we are (in theory) a representative republic and follow the rule of law.  ACA and CCSS mandates were written by private individuals/organizations and adopted via a non-transparent manner.  Mr. Gruber confirms the convoluted crafting/adoption process in the Health Care and while proponents may insist CCSS adoption was transparent, it’s just not true.

Transparency on such an educational systemic change that did not align with the state constitution should dictate numerous public and legislative hearings.  State law requires legislative oversight of the adoption of standards and assessments.  This did not happen.  State School Board meetings in Jefferson City to discuss Common Core State Standards adoption by the Board (with no question/answer time available) with little media attention cannot seriously be taken as a transparent process.  Representative Government is not set up as a ‘nudging’ and there are measures spelled out in our constitution in how standards and assessments are to be written.  The adoption and implementation of these standards are in violation of state statute.  How is that a state’s sovereignty to make educational decisions for that state can be signed away by a Memorandum of Understanding?   How is it that Missouri is now being led by ‘choice architects’ since state and local officials need to acquiesce to David Coleman’s vision of how students should learn and be assessed under threat of losing educational funding?

Memo to my twitter follower: we are not stupid and we are not misinformed.  Our CCSS opposition cannot be chalked up to ‘the stupidity of the American people’.  We are doing the research that truly intellectual and curious governors, state board members and state educational agency commissioners should have done before signing onto MOUs with private NGOs funded by the Federal Government to push national standards, assessments and curriculum.  CCSS proponents insist that we need ‘critical thinkers’ even as they refuse to look at the creation/adoption process of the Initiative and how it is elitist driven and non-transparent.

Do you know how the Gruber videos surfaced?  The research was done by one private citizen.  From bloomberg.com:

“Rich Weinstein is not a reporter. He does not have a blog. Until this week, the fortysomething’s five-year old Twitter account had a follower count in the low double digits.

“I’m an investment adviser,” Weinstein tells me from his home near Philadelphia. “I’m a nobody. I’m the guy who lives in his mom’s basement wearing a tinfoil hat.” (He’s joking about the mom and the tinfoil.)

He’s also behind a series of scoops that could convince the Supreme Court to dismantle part of the Affordable Care Act. Weinstein has absorbed hours upon hours of interviews with Jonathan Gruber, an MIT professor who advised the Massachusetts legislature when it created “Romneycare” and the Congress when it created “Obamacare.” Conservatives had been looking for ways to demonstrate that the wording of the ACA denied insurance subsidies to consumers in states that did not create their own health exchanges. Weinstein found a clip of Gruber suggesting that states that did not create health insurance exchanges risked giving up the ACA’s subsidies; it went straight into the King v. Burwell brief, and into a case that’s currently headed to the Supreme Court.

This ‘nobody’  exposed the manner in which the ACA was adopted and the absolute disdain the elites and bureaucracy has for the average American citizen.  This is what the CCSS unpaid researchers and writers (considered ‘nobodies’ by the private NGOs and academics) have uncovered in exposing education reform.  The elites want you to cease and desist while they use your money and your children for their educational theories and expansion of the lucrative educational market.   Mr. Weinstein says:

Weinstein, back at home, was stunned at the reaction. Why did he keep finding Gruber gaffes? Why didn’t the press glom onto this stuff first?

“It’s terrifying that the guy in his mom’s basement is finding his stuff, and nobody else is,” he says. “I really do find this disturbing.”

Indeed.  And then when you do ‘find stuff’ that’s on government/agency websites and the Gates Foundation’s own site confirming your research, you are marginalized by the elites as being ‘misinformed’.  The proponents can sling those words and make those innuendos all day long.  What proponents can’t and won’t do is provide  research/data/evidence proving us wrong.  The proponents are counting on ‘stupid Americans’ to go along with an educational theory touted as research based but the curtain has been lifted on the lies.  The Alinsky name calling won’t win this battle. We know the process, we know the law and we know that they are not ‘just standards’, they are not internationally benchmarked, they do not make students ready for 4 year university for high STEM jobs, they are not research based and the Federal Government’s fingerprints are all over the Initiative.

Echoing Weinstein’s words: It’s terrifying that the guy in his mom’s basement is finding his stuff, and nobody else is. “I really do find this disturbing.

 

(The title of this piece was adapted from a remark by Charles Krauthammer on Gruber’s ACA statements).

 

Published November 12, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

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