The Left's Assault on (Teacher) Standards
With the ever-increasing role the federal government is playing, the state of primary and secondary education in these United States has over the last thirty-plus years decayed - tragically, tremendously and inexorably.
President Jimmy Carter’s 1979 gift to the teachers’ union Educrats - the Department of Education - changed fundamentally and increased dramatically the federal role in K-12 education.
Government schools have year by year diminished as education facilities - and risen instead as indoctrination centers.
Where graduates can’t read the diplomas they’re handed - but they can roll a condom on a banana.
The taxpayer money spent on schools and union pet projects has increased again and again, year after year.
We’ve by now since the Department’s inception more than doubled per student spending - from $5,718 (1980-81) to $10,441 (2007-08) (yes, that’s inflation-adjusted).
The mythical import of lowering student-teacher ratios (it makes little to no difference in learning) imposed upon us a rash of new union hires - that did nothing to improve education, but did a great deal to inflate the union dues-paying rolls.
Yet another myth - Head Start - also does nothing to improve scores, but does a great deal to improve the unions’ bank accounts.
So too do the myriad new administrators (read: non-teaching bureaucrats) added to the taxpayer payroll. The non-teacher to teacher Educrat ratio has for decades gotten worse, and worse, and worse.
Despite all of this new spending - and with the fostering and funding of all of these education myths - reading and math test scores have not risen an iota since the Department of Education’s creation.
And the level at which they’ve flat-lined is alarmingly low.
And this year marked an all-time rock bottom for Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores. The. Worst. Ever.
All hail the Department of Government-izing Schools.
The universal Educrat response? “We’ll get rid of the tests.”
If you’re stinking up the joint - and you know it, and you (certainly) don’t want to make changes to the education gravy train graveyard - you systematically get rid of any and all ways of assessing your stink-upiness.
There may very well be a legitimate discussion to be had about the value-level of standardized tests. The point here is - this is not at all why these folks are seeking to end them.
The Educrat appraisal exam currently being targeted for elimination is the one that is now most blatantly demonstrating their collective incompetence - the SAT.
Behold the new tome: SAT Wars: The Case for Test-Optional College Admissions. A series of essays calling for making the SAT - an elective. (And - does anyone doubt? - eventually a thing of the past.)
The book is edited by Joseph A. Soares, a Professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University. Which went SAT “optional” a few years ago. So this tome is - for them - a self-justifying prophecy.
Some of the essays’ authors are college admissions Educrats. Some are college professors.
And some are from the Leftist anti-assessment outfit called FairTest.
Behold FairTest’s policy prescriptions.
They are against K-12 testing. They’re against university testing. They’re against teacher test-based merit pay.
In short, they have been working since 1986 for an accountability-free education system. From kindergarten all the way through college.
FairTest’s current projects include:
- Uncovering the bias, misuses and coach ability of the SAT, ACT and similar college entrance exams
- Stopping the misuses of SAT/ACT scores to determine eligibility for college financial aid such as National Collegiate Athletic Association's initial eligibility rules (Propositions 48 and 16) and the National Merit Scholarship Competition
- Promoting test score-optional policies for college admissions
- Attacking the false notions that test scores equal merit
- Monitoring the unregulated and highly profitable testing industry, particularly its rush to computerized testing, by "Examining the Examiners"
- Exposing flawed employment tests, such as the National Teacher's Exam (NTE), and advocating hiring and promotions systems based on genuine performance
In short, an all-out assault on all things assessment - and those doing the assessing.
Behold FairTest’s funders.
There’s the Woods Foundation of Chicago.
On whose board of directors President Barack Obama sat from 1993-2001.
Joining Obama on the board in 2001 was Bill Ayers. In whose home then-community organizer Obama launched his political career.
Ayers is an “elementary education theorist” - and Venezuelan Communist dictator Hugo Chavez-lover, and unrepentant Weather Underground bombardier terrorist.
Some of Ayers’ “elementary education theories?”
He wants to indoctrinate elementary school students - children between the ages of 5 and 12 - so as to get them to work to overthrow the American capitalist system.
And let us quickly peruse Ayers’ “Critical Pedagogy” - on what Ayers thinks is important to focus as a teacher:
The primary assumption of critical pedagogy is that disparities between individual and social group outcomes in life are due to entrenched societal oppression. So, if anyone or any group has ‘more’ than another it is because they are either oppressing others or benefiting from the ‘oppression of the masses’.
Thus, all whites benefit from an unjust social system and, as a result are inherently guilty of racism.
Advocates implicitly deny any definition of the ‘pursuit of happiness’, which does not result in equality of outcome. That necessarily limits American’s liberty and their pursuit of happiness to the politically correct calculus of Critical Pedagogy theory.
FairTest is also funded by the United Church of Christ.
As in the Chicago branch being Trinity United Church of Christ - which President Obama attended for twenty years.
With President Obama’s “mentor” and “spiritual advisor.” The man who married the President and Michelle. The man who baptized their children. The thoroughly unreasonable Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
As in “God D**n America.”
As in “You are not now, nor have you ever been, nor will you ever be a brother to white folk. And if you do not realize that, you are in serious trouble.”
As in “them Jews ain’t going to let (President Obama) talk to me.”
In case anyone thinks I’m unfairly painting all of the United Church of Christ with President Obama’s two-decade digs - there’s their March 14, 2008 written defense of Reverend Wright and his love-ful sermon-ology. Which begins:
In the wake of misleading attacks on its mission and ministry, Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ is being lauded by United Church of Christ leaders across the nation for the integrity of its worship, the breadth of its community involvement and the depth of its commitment to social justice.
"Trinity United Church of Christ is a great gift to our wider church family and to its own community in Chicago," says UCC General Minister and President John H. Thomas. "At a time when it is being subjected to caricature and attack in the media, it is critical that all of us express our gratitude and support to this remarkable congregation, to Jeremiah A. Wright for his leadership over 36 years....”
And so it goes with FairTest and their funding.
Why are all these radical Leftist joints kicking coin to FairTest? Because they are all of very like mind.
The Left is rife with entities that pose as promoters of issues - but they are first and foremost promoters of Leftism.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is truly about the advancement of Leftism - not (all) Colored People. Ask Clarence Thomas.
So too with the National Organization for Women (NOW). Ask Sarah Palin.
So too is it with FairTest.
Their stated agenda is of secondary import to their advancement of the Left agenda.
Of which a fundamental tenet is the proactive breakdown and destruction of standards - assessments - of all sorts.
Testing, teaching - any and all.
At which FairTest is diligently at work.