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
  • 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

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
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