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Zombies

Dave Barry had an interesting take on the year 2013 by labeling it “the Year of the Zombies”.  From his article in the washingtonpost.com:

It was the Year of the Zombies. Not in the sense of most of humanity dying from a horrible plague and then reanimating as mindless flesh-eating ghouls. No, it was much worse than that. Because as bad as a zombie apocalypse would be, at least it wouldn’t involve the resurrection of Anthony Weiner’s most private part.

We thought that thing was out of our lives forever, but suddenly there it was again, all over the Internet, as Weiner came back from the political grave like the phoenix, the mythical bird that arose from the ashes to run for mayor of New York and use the name “Carlos Danger” to text obscene photos of its privates to somebody named “Sydney Leathers.”

He writes about Eliot Spitzer, Miley Cyrus and other zombies but then furthers the discussion into serious zombie issues  resurfacing:

It wasn’t just people who came back alarmingly in 2013. The Cold War with Russia came back. Al-Qaeda came back. Turmoil in the Middle East came back. The debt ceiling came back. The major league baseball drug scandal came back. Dennis Rodman came back and went on humanitarian missions to North Korea (or maybe we just hallucinated that). The Endlessly Looming Government Shutdown came back. People lining up to buy iPhones to replace iPhones that they bought only minutes earlier came back. And for approximately the 250th time, the Obama administration pivoted back to the economy, which has somehow been recovering for years now without actually getting any better. Unfortunately, before they could get the darned thing fixed, the administration had to pivot back to yet another zombie issue, health care, because it turned out that Obamacare, despite all the massive brainpower behind it, had some “glitches,” in the same sense that the universe has some “atoms.”

He doesn’t mention Common Core but it qualifies as a zombie apocalypse in education.  It’s another education reform that has little to do with reform and more to do with increasing mandates funded by the Federal Government to allow data tracking on students and administrators.  It is a reform that ignores Federal law and circumvents legislatures.  Arne Duncan unilaterally changes a Congressional Act (FERPA) for which he is not taken to task, the USDOEd grants money directly to local school districts bypassing state agencies, and the USDOEd determines if a state can leave a consortia, even as the Federal Government insists it has no say so in CCSSI.  These are just a few of the zombie maneuvers in educational reform.   Just think of the zombie statements from the varied reformers that aren’t based on research or data (even as these same reformers are “data driven”:

  • Common Core State Standards are internationally benchmarked (no countries were provided for this claim)
  • Common Core will make students college and career ready (Jason Zimba admits they are designed for 2 year colleges, not to colleges that most parents want their children to attend)
  • Common Core is state led (actually led by two private organizations)
  • The Federal Government had no involvement in the crafting of the standards (they paid for the NGA and CCSSO to write them)
  • Commissioners of Education state they will not share individual student data (even as their Memorandum of Understandings signed by the state agencies with the consortia allows this access)
  • The standards are the ceiling (until they are called “the floor” by the MO Commissioner of Education)
  • Common Core Standards are “just” standards (it’s actually named the Common Core States

These are just a smattering of the half truths (or lies, depending on your understanding of what the truth is) Governors, Education commissioners, State Board of Education members, Superintendents, local school board members, some legislators and paid education reformers such as Bill Gates, Jeb Bush, David Coleman, Michael Petrelli state again and again.  THESE STATEMENTS ARE NOT TRUE.

Regardless if you think Edward Snowden is a traitor or patriot, he shed light on the enormous data gathering activities by the government.  Common Core data gathering should fall under government activity to track children cradle to grave.  Snowden says:

Hi, and merry Christmas. I’m honored to have a chance to speak to you and your family this year.

Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of worldwide mass surveillance watching everything we do.

Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book: microphones, video cameras, TVs that watch us — are nothing compared to what we have today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go.

Think about what that means for the privacy of the average person. A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters.

Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.

The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. Together, we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance and remind the government if it really wants to know how we feel asking is always cheaper than spying.

For everyone out there listening, thank you and merry Christmas.

From the article:

The message was produced by journalist and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. It is a call to consider the world we want to live in and whether we are willing to accept a future where our children grow up with absolutely no privacy, subject to mass surveillance similar or even more pervasive than what Snowden revealed to us all this year.

Like Dave Barry, Snowden doesn’t mention CCSS as a zombie initiative but that’s what it is.  CCSS is a reform movement that reforms public education but in a manner that every taxpayer and parent should find distasteful, frightening and one that needs to be put down in history as a failed attempt to track children cradle to grave.  “Educational” surveys now given to students ask for their beliefs, personal information and data and are placed in data banks which will follow your child through his/her life.

What causes zombies such as Anthony Weiner to disappear from view?  Expose them with their lies.  Relentlessly.  Expose the half truths and the talk around the facts.  Expose the money connections.  A 16th Century Proverb sums it up:

 

Tell the truth and shame the devil.

 

Education reformers don’t like to reach back as far as the 16th century for guidance and historical references.  Play their game.  Beat them at their own playbook.  Prepare your own close reading.  Let’s adopt and adapt that proverb to our own 21st Century Goal for those who want to eradicate the Common Core State Standards Initiative (standards, assessments, data gathering, etc):

Tell the truth and shame the zombies.

 

Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be zombies like Bill Gates, David Coleman, Michelle Rhee, Jason Zimba, Governor Jay Nixon, Commissioner Chris Nicastro, or fill in the blank with your favorite education zombies.  Teach your children that it is critical they live their lives grounded in truth and not in theory.  Teach your children to honor men and  women of character, not people who only masquerade as having people’s interest at heart.  Teach your children to fight back against the education zombies.  Teach your children they have the inherent right for their personal data that does not need to be shared with others.  

 

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