Two Princeton researchers have published a report that the United States is not a constitutional republic or a democracy.  America now operates as an oligarchy.  From Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy:

An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.

For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.

It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.

This system of oligarchy extends to the education sector as well.  From our previous article on educational oligarchs:

Bill Gates is not the only one wanting to transform the way government should work. He and other elites are actively trying to enlist “bipartisan support” for privately set agendas that may not be best for the country or in the best interest of citizens.  They are intent on transforming government using nationally and state elected officials to help them with this mission.  From Bill Gates to Meet with 80 Senators at Capitol:

On Thursday evening, the group No Labels Foundation will be sponsoring a meet-up between Bill Gates and some 80 senators, as well as New York Times quasi-conservative columnist David Brooks. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who co-chairs the group, will open the event; Politico speculates that Bill Gates’ attendance was made possible by the fact that No Labels co-founder Nancy Jacobsen is married to the executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Microsoft, Mark Penn.

The No Labels Foundation bills itself as a group devoted to political unity. Its website states:

No Labels and the No Labels Foundation believe we have a solution to this crippling dysfunction and gridlock. And, we are promoting a compelling and realistic plan to nurse our government and our nation back to health.

No Labels’ plan is to put together “problem solvers” to come up with bipartisan solutions. Some of those solutions include cutting Congressional pay until a budget is passed, moving to a two-year budgeting process, and creating a Commission for Government Transformation to advise on how to change government to make it more efficient. The group’s anthem was co-written by Akon. Major politicians involved with the group include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.

 This isn’t only happening on the national level, it’s on the state level and the local level.  Let’s look how oligarchy operates on a state level:

Bill Gates has given more than $200 Million to organizations and the USDOEd to craft his vision of public education and now he is supporting the No Labels Foundation’s efforts.  Those include getting legislators to agree to a plan crafted by private interests for American citizens by pre-selected “problem solvers”.  This reminds me of our Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro who quoted Cass Sunstein in Missouri’s first Race to the Top proposal:

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.

Now here is an example of oligarchy on the local level.  Did you read about the parent who went to talk to his child’s principal in Marietta, GA about opting his son out of standardized testing, was greeted by a police officer and told he was trespassing on school grounds?  From The Marietta Journal:

The parents of two West Side Elementary students say they do not want their children taking the CRCT, a standardized test given in Georgia, but the city’s school system told them their children would be trespassing if they came to school and didn’t take the exam.

Mary and Tracy Finney have lived in Marietta for 16 years. They have a third-grader and a fifth-grader at West Side Elementary, along with a ninth-grader at Marietta High School, and say they love the school system. But the Finneys are opposed to standardized testing, worried about data being collected on children as well as the stress they say is caused by the over-testing of students.

“You have to have testing at some point, but there’s so much standardized testing now,” she said. “It’s for the higher-ups, the bureaucrats, not the educators. They are over-testing our children. I’ve always thought that. We said we don’t want to do this much (testing). That was our incentive to refuse taking the CRCT.”

….When they told West Side Principal Karen Smits that their children wouldn’t be taking the CRCT, her response alarmed them.

“To my knowledge, there is not an opt-out option for the CRCT since these tests are mandated by state law,” she wrote in an email. “I have forwarded your email to our Superintendent, Dr. Lembeck, and Associate Superintendent Dayton Hibbs for further guidance. Someone will be in touch soon.”

That email did not set well with the Finneys.

“With all due respect, we never requested to opt out,” Tracey Finney wrote in response. “We are REFUSING the CRCTs.”

Another issue is a long-planned field trip to Blue Ridge. The Finneys’ fifth-grader has already paid to go on the trip, but it falls during CRCT make-up days. They are afraid their child won’t be able to go on the trip if the test isn’t taken.

Meeting with administrators goes sour

Things didn’t improve from there. The Finneys worked out a meeting with school administrators early Wednesday morning to talk things over. But when they arrived, they were confronted by a police officer instead of the principal.

According to Tracey Finney, the officer was extremely nice and professional, but told them being on school property while actively opposed to the test was “kind of a trespassing thing” and that their kids weren’t allowed on the property either if they weren’t going to take the test. The officer’s report confirms the parents were told they and their students would be trespassing if they stayed on the property.

Look at it this way.  You are obligated to pay your taxes into a national, state and local system and you truly have no power in how your school operates.  Revisiting the Princeton researchers’ findings based on data:
As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter. 
We have a decision to make.  Either we rewrite the history books to illustrate our current form of government and accept that we are no longer a constitutional republic or we keep fighting to wrest the power away from the oligarchs and reclaim control over education in our local schools and on the state level.

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