By Gary North, September 27, 2014
There is a lot of concern among parents regarding the Common Core curriculum. I am not concerned in the slightest. But, then again, all of my children are in their 30’s.
The Common Core curriculum was imposed on a lot of governors who were looking for subsidies from the federal government in 2010. Obama’s administration handed out over $4 billion to states if they would get on board on the Common Core curriculum. Governors are easy marks. They love federal money. They buy votes in-state with out-of-state money.
What is this really all about? It is about the separation of parents from education. This has always been the goal of the public school movement, from the day that mandatory financing of the Congregational churches of Massachusetts was shifted to the mandatory financing of the newly created public school system in Massachusetts. Mandatory financing of churches endedin 1833; compulsory financing of a state department of education began in 1837. This was not a coincidence. It was how the Unitarians took over the state.
Always the public school system has attempted to insert the state and state bureaucrats in between the parents and their children. This goes back even earlier than Massachusetts; it goes back to the Prussian government that prevailed in the early 1800’s. The Prussian state wanted control over education. This is why Germany today makes it illegal for any parent to homeschool their children. It is basic to the authoritarian mentality of Germans to revere state education. It leads them into disaster after disaster. They never figure it out. They have been highly educated not to figure it out.
Let me give you an analogy. Those of us who are defenders of the second amendment freedoms argue that the individual has the right to carry a handgun. The state does not have the right to stop an individual from carrying a handgun, unless that individual is a convicted felon.
Liberals for a century have interpreted this as teaching that state militias have the right to issue weapons under limited circumstances to members of state militias. Then, beginning in 1903, the federal government nationalized the state militias. This was done through what was known as the Dick Act.
The liberal believes that there has to be a state organization in between the individual and guns. Liberals understand exactly what they are doing. They are placing judicial limitations on the right of individuals to buy guns, practice with guns, and carry guns.
Liberals have not been successful in the United States with this plan. They have been successful virtually everywhere else. The United States is the last holdout against the liberals’ interpretation of gun ownership.
Now, move from gun control to school control. The liberals have exactly the same agenda here. They know that in the United States, there is no way they could pull off something like what the Germans have been doing for over 200 years. They cannot openly come out and say that parents have no right to educate their children. But what they do is to play the liberals’ version of the militia game. They say that parents have rights only in so far as they can gain control of the local school boards, and only in so far as the school boards have independence from the United States Supreme Court. In other words, it is the same old policy. They want to separate parents from education, in the same way that they want to separate individuals from guns. They want to control the educational programs in exactly the same way they want to control guns. They want to control the educational system for the same reasons that they want to control guns. They want to centralize power. They want to push people around. They want to educate their children, i.e., the state’s children. They want to indoctrinate their children. They want to expand the power of the central government at the expense of families.
Conservatives simply cannot understand economic cause-and-effect. They really believe that the state should provide free education, and yet they want the state to teach what they want their children taught. They have never been able to see through this. They are utterly blind to the reality of all state funding of education. They cannot figure it out. They would know better than to call for something like tax-funded vouchers for guns, because they would know that, along with the tax money that funds the vouchers, there will come endless regulations on the use of the guns. But they do not understand that the state is doing the same thing with their children. They do not understand that state-funded education is child control, in exactly the same way that state funding of guns is gun control. In other words, they cannot think straight. They vote accordingly.
Once in a while, they get upset. They come out of their sleepwalking state for a brief period. This is always good. I approve of it. It will not last, of course. They want free education, and they are willing to turn the funding over to the state. The state will simply reconnoiter, and attempt to do it again later. This is what was done with the New Math in the late 1960’s, and it will be done again in the United States. Common Core will come back, but it will be a new, improved version.
WHY EDUCATIONAL REFORMS FAIL TO IMPROVE EDUCATION
Common Core is not going to work. Let me tell you why it is not going to work.
Liberals always believe that they can ram their policies down the throats of Americans. They do it by secrecy. They do it by federal funding. They do it by elitist control of the money.
But, in the case of public education, they are stuck with the reality of liberalism’s most important single policy of control. They have turned education over to the teachers’ union. They have turned education over to the textbook writers. They have turned education over to half-educated college graduates, who almost immediately get tenure and then cannot be fired. These tenured people do not want change. They do not want accountability. They do not want new curriculum materials. They do not want interference. They do not want to work hard. They do not want to rethink anything. They want their above-market wages, their above-market pensions, more vacation time, and promotion by seniority. In other words, they are standard employees of the state. They do not like risk. They do not like hard work. They do not like anything new. They do not like interference. They like fat salaries and large pensions.
The liberals keep trying to ram new educational systems down the throats of parents. What the liberals never figure out, because they are liberals, is this: they cannot ram their revolutionary new educational programs down the throats of the tenured teachers. The teachers can always beat the reform. The teachers know how to run the educational system. They know how to block every innovation. They know how to protect their interests. They know how to do as little work as is possible in order to earn their above-market salaries and fat pensions.
The liberals always have to use their own employees to implement the latest fad of educational reform. They cannot reform education, because they cannot change the way barely competent teachers operate. It does not matter what the super teachers do. It does not matter what the charter schools do. In the run-of-the-mill schools into which most Americans send their children, run-of-the-mill teachers do not make revolutionary changes. They do not have to, and they will not.
So, every educational reform breaks apart on the rocks of tenured teachers.
Liberals think they can do an end run around the parents. Generally, they are correct. What liberals cannot do is an end run around all of the tenured drones who teach in the classrooms.
This is why no educational reform works. This is why test scores keep dropping.
This is why I do not worry about what the latest educational reform is for the public schools. The public schools will continue to erode. They will get more expensive, and they will turn out ever less competent graduates. Nothing can change this.
Meanwhile, homeschooling is getting more effective, cheaper, and more widely accepted. Homeschooling puts educational authority back into the hands of the parents. It takes all educational authority out of the hands of the teachers’ union and most of the bureaucrats. This is why homeschooling is the wave of the future. The public schools cannot compete on anything except price. But homeschooling is getting so cheap, and the public schools are getting so bad, and the bad performance of the public schools is getting so much publicity, that they cannot compete effectively.
It looks as though we cannot beat them. In fact, they cannot possibly win. It just takes time.
Bill Gates can spend all the money he wants to pay the Department of Education to impose his untested experiment. It does not matter what he does. It does not matter what the Department of Education does. It does not matter what the professors in the teachers colleges do. What matters is this: the system is funded by local taxation, and teachers on the whole are not the sharpest tools in the kit. They are self-interested, and they will be able to block the Common Core reform.
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