The Obama administration is seducing states with $500 million grants to get them to enroll kids into accredited, pre-kindergarten programs. The Early Learning Challenge (ELC) is yet another bribe under Obama’s “Race to the Top,” the $4.35 billion incarnation of an endless stream of education “reform” projects implemented since President Dwight D. Eisenhower catapulted education to national prominence in 1957 following Russia’s launch of Sputnik.
ELC is run jointly by the U.S. Departments of Education (DoE) and Health and Human Services (HHS). All grants will have been awarded by year’s end. While at least two states have already received windfalls for signing on ($700 million for New York and Florida), some 14 states’ education agencies are still dithering. They know only too well that carrots come with strings, many of them turning out to be unfunded mandates. State Departments of Education are virtual clones of the federal parent, typically referred to as a State Education Agency (SEA); they receive pass-through money from the U.S. DoE plus revenues from state taxes. Every time an SEA takes federal bait, it loses more of its autonomy through federal oversight, although at this point it’s hard to imagine how much more state and local agencies have to lose. ELC follows a textbook oversight scenario, typical of federal agencies providing grant monies to states:
When Barack Obama’s autobiography Dreams from My Father was published in 1995, which he began writing while at Harvard and later finished in Chicago, it was greatly praised by the critics as a wonderful story of one man’s coming to grips with racism. Charlayne Hunter-Gault wrote: “One of the most powerful books of self-discovery I’ve ever read…It is also beautifully written, skillfully layered, and paced like a novel.”
No one questioned the ability of this novice writer to produce such a “lyrical” and “compelling” memoir at the age of 34.
Meanwhile, questions about its authorship began circulating in the conservative underground, hinting that Bill Ayers might have had a hand in helping Obama write this acclaimed book. But it wasn’t until Donald Trump brought up the subject of authorship in an interview by Laura Ingraham that it finally gained traction in the media.
Since California passed its controversial law requiring public schools to include a social studies curriculum that included the contributions of gays and lesbians, opponents have organized in an attempt to overturn the law. On Tuesday, those opponents moved one step closer to their goal when California’s Secretary of State cleared them to begin collecting signatures for a ballot referendum.
The law adds gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, as well as those with disabilities, to a list of groups that schools must include in the lessons, and prohibits the inclusion of any material which may present homosexuality negatively. It leaves up to local school districts to decide what to include in the lessons and in what grade students would receive them.
The controversial law was proposed by Democratic Senator Mark Leno, who dismissed critics’ claims that the bill pushed a sexual agenda, asserting that it was “beneficial to share with students the broad diversity of the human experience.”
The Texas Board of Education debated on Thursday and Friday whether or not to adopt supplemental science materials that some conservatives felt relied too heavily on evolutionary theory and did not offer any alternatives to that theory. After two days of contentious debate, however, the board ruled 8-0 to adopt those materials, in a move seen as a victory for proponents of teaching evolution in public schools.
The debate focused in particular on supplemental science materials for high school biology books and their coverage of evolution. While many mainstream science education groups supported the e-books in question, conservative groups criticized the e-books’ failure to cover all sides of various issues and to critically analyze Charles Darwin’s theories.
Yesterday the Texas Board of Education began a two-day hearing on the hot-button issue of whether alternatives to evolution should be added to the science curriculum to balance the teachings of evolutionary theory.
Because the school district does not have the finances to purchase new textbooks, the board is examining the standards of science e-books. The electronic sources would be used alongside the textbooks.
If you want to know why we should get rid of the Department of Education, a little look at what the educators have done in the recent past, with the sanction of a Republican president, ought to convince us that the Department is useless and ought to be abolished.
Back in February 1990, instead of trying to get rid of Carter’s Department of Education, President Bush proposed his Goals 2000 initiative in his State of the Union address. I then expressed my usual skepticism over any government program that promises to "solve" our education problem with catchy slogans. In an open letter to the president, I wrote:
A photograph in the Toronto Star shows a Muslim prayer service in a Canadian middle school, in which Sharia law is being imposed. Muslim girls who are “unclean” may not join the prayer service. “Clean girls” sit in rows behind the boys, who occupy the front rows.
“Unclean” is the word Muslims use for girls who are menstruating. Sharia law states they must be separated from the "clean" students. The story focused on whether such Friday prayer services, which run between November and March for 30 minutes during class time after lunch, are permissible under Canadian law.
Last December, I reported on Harvard University professor Stephan Thernstrom's essay "Minorities in College — Good News, But...," on Minding the Campus, a website sponsored by the New York-based Manhattan Institute. He was commenting on the results of the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, saying that the scores "mean that black students aged 17 do not read with any greater facility than whites who are four years younger and still in junior high.... Exactly the same glaring gaps appear in NAEP's tests of basic mathematics skills." Thernstrom asked, "If we put a randomly-selected group of 100 eighth-graders and another of 100 twelfth-graders in a typical college, would we expect the first group to perform as well as the second?" In other words, is it reasonable to expect a college freshman of any race who has the equivalent of an eighth-grade education to compete successfully with those having a 12th-grade education?
Long-time Washington commentator and columnist Tony Blankley delivered an uncharacteristically flawed analysis of America’s political prospects in a July 12 commentary for the Washington Times. He foresees a likely reversal of the United States' current statist course and a restoration of constitutionally limited government.
Blankley didn’t say precisely when this about-face would occur, but if not in the coming 2012 election, then probably around 2024. That is the year, Blankley predicts, by which it will become abysmally clear to voters that Obama’s math-challenged $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan (combining “$1.3 trillion in taxes and $2.7 trillion in spending cuts”) didn’t even make a dent in America’s economic collapse.
Schools in Omaha, Nebraska, have used $130,000 in federal stimulus money to purchase 8,000 “social justice” diversity manuals that include inherently racist assertions and tout the federal government as the only thing capable of ensuring equity. The manuals will be required staff reading for employees at Omaha schools.
Entitled The Cultural Proficiency Journal: Moving Beyond Ethical Barriers Toward Profound School Change, the manual is dubbed as a “manifesto on cultural awareness.”
According to the manual, the federal government and other institutions “channel wealth and power to white people,” and therefore calls upon educators to “take action on social justice.”