Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You Must Be Assimilated

Within the slick marketing package of the Common Core, you will often hear the term 'lifelong learning'.  Sounds like a good thing, right?


Education reformers have created their own definitions for words.  Therefore, a word like innovation doesn't mean creativity, but rather connectivity.

The same has occured with 'lifelong learning.'  When we, the 'uneducated' masses hear 'lifelong learning', we think of pursuing knowledge all throughout our lives.  We want our children to be lifelong learners.  Seekers of truth.  Lovers of literature. We eagerly embrace this vision for our children.

The educrats embrace a completely antithetical vision for our children.

Shared-knowledge, innovation, personalized learning.

(Remember those words don't mean what the dictionary definition says.  We need to find a new dictionary.)

"Elitist Educrat's Glossary of Terms"

Shared-knowledge -- Information that is carefully managed and infused into the group.  The 'basis and goal of collective intelligence is mutual recognition and enrichment of individuals rather than the cult of fetishized or hypostatized communities.'  In other words, the needs of the group override the needs of the individual. Independent thinking is therefore quashed. There is no learning beyond what they want you to learn.  No knowledge beyond what you are given. 

Innovation -- Connectivity to the whole. (Think of the Borg for all you sci-fi fans.) A constant stream of data being distributed and the reactions to the data recorded.  

Personalized learning -- A learning plan designed to alter specific behaviors, beliefs or attiudes. 'Undesireable' learning traits will be weeded out through curriculum and learning projects.

Educrats are actively pushing an educational reform model that requires our children to become lifelong learners. The collaboration aspect is written into every standard of the Common Core State Standards Initiative and must be demonstrated. Communication, or what we think of as the ability to transmit ideas, is used to persuade members of the student's sphere of influence to the groupthink consensus.  Creativity is being used to show the evaluators that the material (propaganda) has been thoroughly absorbed.  Critical thinking teaches a student to bypass rational thought about a subject and internalize social-emotional connections to the material being taught.   

A good lifelong learner embodies all of the above 4 C's of 21st century skills.  

Educating the whole child includes the re-education of a child's inherent sense of self-centricity.  And while we will all agree that a sense of compassion and regard for others needs to be taught to a child, let us also remember that without free will compassion is meaningless.  When it is simply a duty to care for a piece (person) so that the needs of the whole collective are met by that piece, the act of caring for that piece of the collective becomes no more compassionate than repairing a broken engine part on car.  

A good lifelong learner ceases to utilize inquiry, rational thought or independent thinking. They have successfully been assimilated into the collective.  Their own well-being, dreams, and desires have been cast aside for the good of the community. 

It is our individuality which makes us human beings.  We are not parts of a system.  

Resistance is not futile.  Don't let your child be assimilated.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Pathways of Deception: Exposing the Innovation Lab Network

Before we delve into this labyrinth of of lies, we must first define the words according to the education reformers’ definitions.  

Innovation: Interagency cooperation, shared knowledge, synergy between partners.  ‘Innovation’ occurs when states and their agencies cross departmental barriers, share data results, and thus create a streamline process, of transformation, from beginning to end.

Lab:  A three tier system of accountability -- state, city and school district.  

The lab has three parts to it. First, we have the school district; this is where the bulk of the experimentation, or transformation, is carried out at a student-level.  The second tier is the city, where municipal policies will be created that support the transformation of the local schools.  Third, we have the state; the legislature and educational policy experts alter current education laws and introduce new ones that align with the desired outcome.

(All right, I think we have sufficiently defined the code words of the reformers.)

Moving on let’s unravel the agenda behind the ILN (Innovation Lab Network).

(Did any of you catch the inclusion of ‘citizenship readiness’ into the ubiquitous marketing pitch of ‘college and career ready’?)

On the first page of this document, or shall we say manifesto, within the first paragraph we find their purpose: “[they] sought to guide state education systems toward a more clearly articulated definition of CCCR (College, Career and Citizenship Readiness) consistent with a broadened understanding of the student characteristics necessary for success in the 21st century.”  In non-eduspeak terms this means they are trying to define CCCR by defining student behavior and beliefs that they believe are consistent with attaining CCCR.  ‘Non-cognitive skills’ is also what wording they use to define attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.  

The ILN’s Framework was informed by several assumptions.

* Every student should graduate college, career and citizenship ready.
So for those of us who don’t aspire to their definition of CCCR, there will be no escape.  

* Causing consistently high levels or learning among young people from widely varying backgrounds and with diverse needs will require radical changes in current beliefs, policy, practice and structure.
The alteration of our children’s beliefs is essential for the success of this initiative. Current education policies must be re-tooled to fit the new Framework. Traditional educational practices must be shelved and the new, experimental models embraced.

*Citizenship readiness, or preparing America’s youth to be contributing members of the larger society, is a fundamental mission of public schools.
Make no mistake, friend, they are not referring to American citizenship.  Their inference is global citizenship.  The ‘larger society’ that they speak of is the global community.

The ILN resolutely states that students must graduate possessing:

  • Knowledge -- ‘mastery of rigorous content knowledge across multiple disciplines and the facile application or transfer of what has been learned,’

Mastery means to meet the proficiency standards, benchmarks, that have been strategically placed along the learning pathway.  Multiple disciplines refers to varying perspectives on the subject.  Facile application simply means done with ease or without complication.  So constructing the sentence in layman’s terms would cause it to read like this: meeting the proficiency standards across varying perspectives on the subject and the easy transfer of what has been programmed.

  • Skills -- ‘the strategies that students need to engage in higher-order thinking, meaningful interaction with the world around them, and future planning, and’

More plainly put, the abilities to engage in ‘critical, logical, reflective, metacognitive, and creative thinking whose processes are activated by when the individual encounters unfamiliar problems, uncertainties, questions or dilemmas’ (that big long definition was just for higher-order thinking), service to the community (don’t forget we aren’t just talking about your neighborhood now -- the global community is the larger community), and (honestly I haven’t been able to figure out what they mean by that vague term ‘future planning’...perhaps how they fit into the managed economy?)

  • Dispositions -- ‘mindsets (sometimes referred to as behaviors, capacities, or habits of mind) that are closely associated with success in college and career.’

Surprisingly enough, they left this definition very plain.  Habit of mind could also read ‘belief’.  Beliefs or behaviors that are proven to provide them with the outcome they are seeking.

This trifecta of metacognition (or knowing about knowing) is labeled by the ILN as KSD (Knowledge, Skills and Dispositions) and they also call them deeper learning outcomes which they believe that ‘[t]hey have concrete meaning and can be expressly taught, learned, and measured.’ (Be sure to keep that in the back of your mind as we journey deeper into the labyrinth -- deeper learning outcomes refers to the child’s abilities to be proficient in the subject matter, engage in higher-order thinking, and the alteration of their behaviors and beliefs.)
Let’s read that one more time, the ILN holds to the theory that attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs can be taught, learned and measured.  Why would they need to measure a child’s beliefs?

The goal of this Network is to create petri dishes of managed thought and behavior in order to bring about the transformation of our American education system.  

Our mindsets of education in the past, could have, once upon a time, been found in the following quotes.

“Education is the golden key that unlocks the door of freedom.”
-- George Washington Carver, scientist

“Education is simply the soul of a society as it is passed from one generation to the other.”
-- Gilbert K. Chesterson, English writer

There was once a time when people believed education was essential to maintaining freedom and that it was a way to enshrine the values of that society for future generations.

Now, the grand transformation of society has begun.  No longer is education for personal enrichment, no it has become a vehicle for social change.

“The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values.”
-- William S. Burroughs, American novelist

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character -- that is the goal of true education.”
-- Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist

Knowledge of the truth, of facts borne of evidence, is no longer necessary in the schools. The illegitimate child of societal transformation has infiltrated our school systems and squandered our rich legacy of independent thinkers and innovators.  Our problem is we don’t recognize the impostor because of all the official sounding titles she wears.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Freedom Of Choice

Since the beginning of time, we have been offered choices.  We see a myriad at our local coffee shop, shoe store, grocery store, etc.  Choices are freedom.  Choices are expressions of who we are.  Choices offer us the chance to embrace our individuality, express our creativity, and tell the world that we are in control.

You don't have people in your local coffee shop condemning your choice of a chai latte with whipped cream.  You don't overhear people laughing at your decision to buy wheat bread intstead of white.  But for some reason,  we all feel entitled to judge others' choices of education for their children.  This rancor over choice gets highly caustic when one is embroiled in the battle of the schools.

                    (Photo credit Google Images)

Primarily, it's public school vs. charter, but you can switch up the combatants any way you wish.  Charter vs. homeschool, private vs. virtual school, public school vs. homeschool, ad nauseum.

You see, parents are on either side of the battle lines, and in that moment of picking our sides, I think we forget that we are all just parents.  We are too busy trying to justify our choices to those on the other side of the invisible line of 'school-choice' to look over and see that mom or dad on the opposite side trying, just as hard as we are, to give their children the best education.  We desperately want others to affirm our decision to public school, charter school, homeschool, or virtual school our children.  We look to their failures to bolster our conviction that we made the right choice.

Isn't someone else's choice resulting in failure, an affirmation that I made the right choice and mine will result in success?


We fail to realize that we are unique and like us, so are our children.  One-size-fits-all does not work for all children.  The only children that will succeed under this rigid educational mold are the ones that can manage to squeeze themselves into it, thus abandoning their individuality in the effort to fit in.

My choice of how I educate my children is not a commentary on your choice of how you choose to educate yours.  We have to avoid the temptation to turn our choices into weapons that we hurl across to the other side.  Because if we could see past the insecurities, we might see ourselves reflected in the eyes of those across the battle lines.


Parents Advocating for Children and Teachers embraces a family's right to choose what method of education works best for them.  We believe in 'parent-choice', as parents should be the ultimate decision-makers regarding their children's education.  Under the Common Core, parent-choice becomes a moot point.  Don't let your freedom and right to choose be quashed. Stop Common Core.

(Posted with permission from www.stopcommoncoreinoregon.com)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Product of Education?

When you are manufacturing something, you need a uniform, standardized end result that you can market to your customers.  People want a product that is without deviation from the original.  They want it to be identical to what you have advertised.  If any nuance is found, they believe that they have received an inferior product. Which is all well and good when you are discussing cars, baked goods or cell phones.  But why do we hold to the same approach in education?

Do children come into this world on an assembly-line?  Are their personalities picked from a "personality chip" and downloaded?  What a ridiculous notion.  Of course not!  Children are born into families. Personalities are innate and behaviors are learned.  There is no standardized product for human beings. 

Though many would have us believe that there could be.  

Is that what education has come to now? Programming?  A transfer of data from the the transmitter (teacher) to the data receptacle (student)? Are we talking about computers or children?

At a town hall I attended recently, I was greatly disturbed to hear how our children were referred to as a "product"; over and over again it was a point that was reiterated by the elected officials present.  I wholeheartedly disagree with that industrialized notion that my children are an end product of education.  If that were the case then education would solve all of society's ills.  It is a lie that has been perpetuated throughout the years.  Early education, longer school days, more of society revolving around the schools will not solve our problems.  Society should be family-centric not school-centric. Families are the foundations of society, not education.  Children are the end result of families, not schools.

Why does our government seek a standardized product?  It is because they have customers (corporations and special interest groups) who have invested large amounts of capital in the schools and those customers are demanding what they have paid for.  Our nation's educational choices are being driven by the needs of those "customers."  

Does anyone else feel like your children have been sold to the highest bidder? Perhaps we should inform the government that our children are not "human capital", "future workforce" or the "end product."  Our children are OUR children not their children, and they were not created to fulfill the needs of the State.

(Post reprinted with permission from www.stopcommoncoreinoregon.com)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fordham Fools

This is the Fordham Institute's idea of an April Fools' Day joke.  They sent this offensive mockery of a map out via Twitter @educationgadfly.  Supposedly these were to depict the state's individual standards prior to the coast to coast cure for individuality -- the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

We're not laughing.

But we are smiling.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
                                                                                                      -- Ghandi

Saddle up your oxen.  We're headed into battle. And we will win.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Welcome to PACT!

Thank you for joining us over at our new home!  We are thrilled you are here.  You are the ones that will make an imPACT in Oregon education.  We couldn't do this without you!

Please excuse our dust as we adjust and move articles over from our previous site.  Hopefully the renovations won't take too long!

Stick around and see what happens.

Again, welcome to Parents Advocating for Children and Teachers!