Laid-off music teachers play goodbye show
PHILADELPHIA – A hunger strike to protest massive layoffs in the Philadelphia school district is in its eighth day.
Meanwhile, dozens of music teachers slated to lose their jobs played a heartfelt farewell concert Monday at district headquarters.
Education advocates are doing everything they can to draw attention to the dire situation in the city’s public schools, which are facing a $304 million deficit.
To cover the gap, the district has laid off 20 percent of its staff. More than 3,800 employees will be jobless next week, from assistant principals to secretaries.
In addition to cutting music, the district has also eliminated art and sport programs.
City and state officials have been furiously negotiating to fill the funding gap, but no promises have been made.
J. D. Heyes
May 3, 2013
Whenever he can, President Obama likes to poke fun at anyone who suggests that he’s a closet socialist because that’s what socialists do – they ridicule anyone who tries to “out” them. And yet, every policy he pursues takes a page right out of the socialist/Marxist playbook, and one of them is to ensure that the government controls all forms of education.
Right now, of course, there are thousands of private schools and institutions of higher learning in the U.S., so the government doesn’t control all education, per se. But left-wing career education bureaucrats in government, along with compliant socialists in the teachers unions, do indeed control the vast majority of primary public school education, and it is here where the Obama regime is consolidating its control through a Department of Education program known as Common Core State Standards .
From the Common Core website:
The standards clearly communicate what is expected of students at each grade level. This will allow our teachers to be better equipped to know exactly what they need to help students learn and establish individualized benchmarks for them. The Common Core State Standards focus on core conceptual understandings and procedures starting in the early grades…
Essentially, what Common Core consists of is a standardized block of instruction on all the major subjects – Math, English and Language Arts – per standards that government bureaucrats devised. Initially, 45 states and the District of Columbia signed on, but as more states found out the curriculum is decidedly slanted to a particular point of view (socialism), a number of states are now working on legislation to bail out. And they are designed to allow controlling statists to get their claws into your kids as early on in their academic careers as possible.
New legislation introduced by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, would prohibit federal funds from being used to finance Common Core implementation around the country. He has also introduced criticized the CCSS, calling them an “inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children.”
He’s far from being alone in rejecting the CCSS. According to an assessment of the core by the Washington Policy Center, scores of education experts have also rejected them, saying one of the biggest problems with the program is that it will stifle classroom innovation, which comes primarily from individual states.
“Local control of public school curriculum and instruction has historically driven innovation and reform in education. A one-size-fits-all, centrally controlled curriculum for every K-12 subject threatens to close the door on educational innovation, freezing in place an unacceptable status quo and hindering efforts to develop academically rigorous curricula, assessments, and standards that meet the challenges that lie ahead,” says an assessment of CCSS by the center.
In addition to rejection of the standards by federal lawmakers, many states are considering or have introduced measures to repeal the standards.
SB403, introduced by Alabama state Sen. Scott Beason, “would prohibit the State Board of Education from adopting and the Department of Education from implementing the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative,” says a summary. “The bill would also prohibit the State Board of Education, the Department of Education, and other state bodies from compiling or sharing data about students or teachers, except under limited circumstances.”
No state development or involvement
In Indiana, HB1427 states, “The state board may not continue to implement as standards for the state or direct the department to implement any common core standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative…The legislative council shall establish a legislative study committee to study issues relating to common core standards.”
Similar legislation has been introduced in Missouri as well.
The Obama Administration is claiming the standards were developed by the states but, according to Diane Ravitch, a former assistant U.S. secretary of education who was appointed to office by both Clinton and George H.W. Bush, that’s a bogus claim.
The standards “were developed by an organization called Achieve and the National Governors Association, both of which were generously funded by the Gates Foundation. There was minimal public engagement in the development of the Common Core. Their creation was neither grassroots nor did it emanate from the states,” she writes in the Washington Post.