It’s crucial you don’t see a free 40-minute documentary film out today or you might get concerned about an effort to control and dramatically reshape every American child’s education. Building the Machine has Common Core right: It’s the biggest reform you know nothing about.
Author: Joy Pullmann
Schoolyards are getting as regulated as the U.S. economy. A Colorado school, like many others, recently banned the game of “tag.” When kids run away from each other, they may trip, fall, and hurt themselves. A New York school banned kids from using balls during recess, but not during sports events, because “unstructured play with hardballs” is dangerous, school leaders said.
Matt Damon made headlines a few years ago when he went on an expletive-laced screed about teachers’ poor (not his word, but close) salaries. It’s personal to him because Damon’s mother is an early childhood education professor.
Let’s agree with Damon that good teachers should earn a lot. The job can be very demanding, and it is crucial to society. So what would it take to pay teachers a great salary — say, something around $90,000 a year or more? That’s actually possible, without raising taxes or adding to the great American debt mountain. Here are three major barriers to that.
The special interests behind national curriculum and testing mandates are pouring millions into public relations and lobbying this spring after parents across the country began to oppose and destabilize their big project. Friday, Politico reported that the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce are buying pricey ads on Fox News and mobilizing their state chapters to keep lawmakers in line. The same day, Bill Gates joined George Stephanopoulos to continue branding the Common Core mandates as a catalyst for improving U.S. education. Gates has joined with left-leaning philanthropies on a communications push worth more than $2.35 million.
Assigning children to schools by ZIP code especially disenfranchises the poor and needy, because they have the least ability to buy their way to better schools either by moving to another neighborhood or paying for private tuition.
Did you know a few simple new laws could help every U.S. kid access the same kind of education available to young Olympic athletes?
Scads of high-performing young athletes complete their academics online, many through private and public programs such as California’s Capistrano Connections Academy of Kaplan’s college-prep program. It’s the only way they can fit academics into their grueling training schedules.
Every Christmas, schools make headlines by labeling their calendars for “holiday break,” “winter solstice,” and the like instead of “Christmas break.” The occasional Scrooge-like superintendent or teacher will inevitably punish some little six-year-old for bringing candy canes with a Bible verse to school or wanting to share the story of Jesus’ birth for a class presentation.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s recent comments disparaging “white suburban moms” for protesting new national tests and curriculum mandates are not the isolated remarks of an out-of-touch elitist. His attitude is typical among bureaucrats from both parties regarding Common Core, but politicians who ignore this sleeper topic endanger themselves in 2014 and 2016.
Soon, all public schools will be allowed to enroll all students, regardless of need, into a new federal entitlement: “free” school lunches. This is the second year of a three-year rollout for the program, embedded in Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
For twenty weeks now, a diminishing troupe has gathered for “Moral Mondays” to protest the outcomes of North Carolina’s first Republican-led legislative session in 150 years. This spring, 2,000 or so people showed up for Moral Mondays protests at the state capitol, and more than 900 have been arrested for disrupting the legislature. On September 23, they numbered about 60.
An hour or so ago, I finished testifying about Common Core national education standards to the Arkansas legislature. It looks like Twitter may be obsessing a bit over the happenstance that I recited the Pledge of Allegiance for a mic check, since I testified by phone.
They can use the funds for expenses such as tutoring, private tuition, special education services, books, computers, and online and in-person classes. They can even save remaining funds for college.