Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

April 8, 2014

We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

CROSSVILLE — A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change. The biggest pockets were: The Gates Foundation, the Walton Family, Eli Broad (rhymes with ‘toad’) and Wall Street fund managers. These billionaires are very good at what they do (making money). However, NONE of them has any training or experience in education or developmental psychology.

Perhaps the Waltons, Gates, Broad, etc. have suddenly become interested in our general welfare. Based on their past history, however, it seems more likely that they see an opportunity to grab some of the six hundred thousand million dollars (per year) we spend on the public education of our children.

To be fair, not each member of the “Gang of Four” pushes exactly the same detail. The Wall Street guys hope to be able to sell shares of education companies. Eli Broad and the Waltons push ‘charter schools,’ in which they both have financial interests. Gates promotes the use of computers in schools for testing and the student data-mining program, InBloom. (Microsoft recently signed a pact with Pearson to market the ‘only’ Common Core approved learning software and the related curriculum materials.)

However, the entire Gang advances the following claims with no reliable evidence: 1) Public Schools are Bad. 2) Public Schools need to be ‘replaced’. 3) Common Core testing is Good! (it will ‘prove’ numbers 1 and 2 and lead to the replacement of our schools by directing public money to “charter” and private institutions with no accountability to local citizens).

How will the Gang squeeze money out of their new system to benefit themselves? By mandating more standardized and patented “computer-based learning tools” and then replacing experienced, dedicated teachers with cheaper, poorly trained novices and temporary workers who push buttons and crank out the ‘product.’ It’s the MacDonalds business model applied to public schools!

We are almost at the endgame. The money has already been spread into the right pockets. The National Governors Association backed the Common Core before it was even written, and 45 states (including ours) signed on. Laws were changed in exchange for some of that money. Our local school board is being directed from Nashville. Nashville covets “Race to the Top” money and has joined a pact to enforce a national test and, therefore, curriculum.

On this issue, Democratic leadership is no better Republican. Both depend on money from the Gang. The presidents of both major “teachers’ unions” have accepted Gates money. Neither will publically represent their membership’s growing resistance to the inappropriate Common Core.

Our nation’s public school system allowed a thriving middle class to create the world’s greatest economy. Our children need to be carefully tended by knowledgeable, flexible and sympathetic adults. They should NOT be standardized and assembled by commuter-driven robots.

The only way to stop this takeover is for groups of parents to forget political labels, quickly. Parents must demand an end to excessive computer drill and standardized testing. They must fight the national attempt to gut our public school system for profit.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014