Friday, June 24, 2011

House Education and Workforce Committee is Asking the Right Questions!!!

Count Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, among the folks who want to know exactly what Secretary of Education Arne Duncan means when he says he's going to consider giving states waivers from parts of the No Child Left Behind law if Congress doesn't act soon on a rewrite.

Kline and Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who heads the subcommittee overseeing K-12 policy, sent a letter today to Duncan asking him to please explain a) where he gets the authority to do these waivers, and b) what exactly these waivers will entail.  (IT'S A MUST READ!!)

Kline is especially uneasy with Duncan's assertion that the flexibility would be given in exchange for states' willingness to embrace a package of reforms dreamed up by the department.

The two congressmen want to see a detailed explanation of the proposal from Duncan by July 1. They also want to know when the plan will be finalized, how the department plans to seek review and public comments, and a timeline explaining just when the waivers would become effective.

Kline said he has been working on the legislation with Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the committee, and he said he has "fairly high hopes" that it could be bipartisan. He plans to introduce the legislation in July.

Kline said the committee is currently asking itself "accountability for what and to whom?" (a line he said that Miller has also used.) He's not sure the secretary of education is the right person for schools to be accountable to; school boards, parents, communities and others should be in the mix.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Threat to by-pass Congress to avoid "train wreck"


(should have been the title of this Bloomberg article)

“Given the bipartisan commitment in Congress to fixing No Child Left Behind, it seems premature at this point to take steps outside the legislative process that would address NCLB’s problems in a temporary and piecemeal way,” Harkin said in his statement.

The administration’s first priority is working with Congress to change and reauthorize the law, Duncan said. If lawmakers don’t act, the administration would use its power to grant waivers to states that agree to make changes, Duncan said.

Rather than a “one-off” approach, Duncan said he would favor giving states a regulatory-relief package in exchange for what he described as “a set of reforms.” The administration may ease provisions for states that show they will measure how much students learn in a given year, rather than meeting absolute proficiency standards, Duncan said.

Duncan, when asked by reporters about the types of“reforms” he was referring to, cited the administration’s $5 billion Race to the Top grants that have rewarded states that incorporate student achievement into teacher evaluations and adopted common academic standards developed by U.S. governors and schools chiefs.


Common Core State Standards and Race to the Top: An Introduction to Marxism 101

Check$ and Balance$ in Education?

Please READ & SHARE Common Core $tate $tandards:

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Rare Earth Elements: The Secret Ingredients of Everything

National Geographic, June 2011

Rare Earth Elements:  The Secret Ingredients of Everything

"They're all around you," says Karl Gschneidner, a senior metallurgist with the Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, who has studied rare earth elements for more than 50 years. "The phosphors in your TV—the red color comes from an element called europium. The catalytic converter on your exhaust system contains cerium and lanthanum. They're hidden unless you know about them, so most people never worried about them as long as they could keep buying them."

Now a lot of people are worried.

[but there's good news!]

Molycorp intends to produce 3,000 to 5,000 tons of rare earths from stockpiled ore at its Mountain Pass mine this year and has big expansion plans. "The current U.S. demand is somewhere between 15,000 and 18,000 tons per year," says Smith. "In principle, Mountain Pass could eventually make the United States independent in rare earths."

previous post on Rare Earth Elements

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ignorance or Apathy?

I don't know...but I do care!

“No people will tamely surrender their liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the contrary, when people are universally ignorant and debauched in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without the aid of foreign invaders.” ~ Samuel Adams

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

FIND TRUTH in American Education!

Welcome Truth in American Education!

If you have questions about Common Core Standards, Race to the Top, and the federal overrun of education, then this is the place to go!


Truth in American Education (TAE) shines a beacon of light directly on the government’s behind-the-scenes efforts to drastically alter American education. As taxpayers, parents and concerned citizens, we believe that proper respect for the American people requires that major educational changes be subject to an open and public discussion prior to approval and implementation, not the other way around.

Truth in American Education provides information to parents, taxpayers, school board members, educators and legislators who are concerned about these issues. At the heart of it, the disposition of these issues will determine whether the federal government and elite, special interest groups have the right to form the hearts and minds of children and whether we will reject, or affirm, the concepts laid down by our founding principles.


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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Good Question... Better Answer!

Should We Be Worried? (YES)

Core Standards Are Very Different
The new standards are supposed to be internationally benchmarked. Yet Common Core’s eighth-grade math standards don’t match Finland (0.21), Japan (0.17) or Singapore (0.13), primarily because these countries stress performing procedures. On language arts and reading, alignment ranges from 0.09 with Finland to 0.37 with New Zealand.

Should we be worried? Common Core Standards represent “a change for the better” when it comes to “higher order cognitive demand,” Porter concludes, but the “answer is less clear” when it comes to the topics that are covered.

Personally, I would say the "answer" is perfectly clear!

How Big a Change are the Common Core Standards?

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Reauthorization of ESEA


Just like President Obama’s “blueprint” for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — better known as No Child Left Behind — Fordham’s ESEA “Briefing Book” proposes (see page 11) that states either adopt the Common Core or have some other federally sanctioned body certify a state’s standards as just as good in order to get federal money. So there would be an ”option” for states, but it would be six of one, half-dozen of the other, and the Feds would definitely link taxpayer dough to adoption of Common Core standards and tests.

The problem is that most people don’t know what has actually been proposed — who outside of education-wonk circles has time to follow all of this?

— which is what national-standards advocates are almost

certainly counting on.

That is exactly why they will push to get reauthorization this summer, while families are on vacation, teachers may be out of the policy loop, and state legislators think it can "wait 'til the fall.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

A 'Common' education disaster

Great Politico Opinion Piece!

Douglas Holtz-Eakin served as a director of the Congressional Budget Office. He is now president of the American Action Forum. Annie Hsiao is the director of education policy at American Action Forum.


The federalization of the Common Core Standards has provoked an outcry from a bipartisan group of leading education reformers. They released a letter reminding the nation that there is no constitutional authority for a national curriculum. In addition, there is no evidence demonstrating that national standards improve educational outcomes, or a track record showing that the Common Core Standards are rigorous and first-rate.

The latter point brings the debate full circle. Yes, standards are a good idea. But critics of the Common Core Standards include five dissenters of the Common Core Validation Committee, some of the most internationally reputable standards experts.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Restoring Sanity

"a movement to at long last restore sanity to

the federal government amid a fiscal crisis"

Mike Brownfield, The Foundry

The federal government is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends. The accumulated national debt stands at nearly 70 percent of the country’s annual economic output, set to climb to 100 percent by the end of this decade. And according to some comparisons, the U.S. economy is already in worse shape than the stumbling economies of most European nations. But never fear: The President is holding a meeting with congressional Republicans today to “hear and listen to their ideas, their concerns.”

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