A Constitutionally Sound Idea

AMENDMENT XXVII
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

While Congress makes their compensation Constitutionally guaranteed, they are more than a little reluctant to amend the Constitution in a manner that supports every American, not just elected representatives.

Two things that should be guaranteed to every American by the Constitution of the United States are an excellent health care system and an excellent free and public system of education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of all children.

It seems ludicrous that every American in this country is not fighting for the Constitutionally guaranteed right to an excellent education for our children. There should be no discussion, partisan or bi-partisan, about providing all Americans with these two fundamental rights.

Instead, Congress is willing to place the responsibility of educating our Nation’s children in the hands of the States that may or may not be controlled by corporate leaders whose only objective is to supply their companies with a standardized work force that will gratefully accept “middle class” status thereby increasing corporate profits and solidifying their position at the top of a classist system through the educational failure of our children.

Corporate moguls have become so arrogant in their actions that they no longer hide their intent, using language such as, “human capital” and “21st Century Workforce” to indoctrinate the American public into accepting their position as modern day slaves.

Our children deserve to live in a country that actually believes in and supports their contribution to the world, making it a better place for everyone on the planet, not just in America.

Our children deserve to know that whatever we do in America will effect the entire world and whatever the rest of the world does will effect America.

Our children deserve to live in a world in which people work together to solve the environmental, social, and economic problems that we all face.

Our children deserve to be free.

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The Cuomo Road To The 21st Century

Power of Persuasion

Jesse McKinley and Charles V. Bagli of the New York Times reported on Governor Cuomo’s plan for building New York State’s economy with four new casinos.

The article states, “In 2011 and 2012, gambling interests spent $17.8 million on lobbying and political contributions, up 36 percent from the previous two years, according to an analysis by Common Cause.”

The article continues to report, “Any referendum campaign would likely involve education funding; the racinos, which pay a tax rate of more than 60 percent, much of which is earmarked for education, contend that they will have a hard time competing with the new casinos, which Mr. Cuomo has suggested would pay a 25 percent tax rate. That, the racinos say, means there will be less money generated for education. The administration disputes that, saying that more revenue will be produced under their plan.”

Governor Cuomo’s 21st Century workforce the corporate system of education is preparing will be overworked, under-educated, minimum wage earners who will not have to worry about their children being home alone because they will still be in school.

With the Governor supporting extended school day programs, New York State’s children will be in school for more than forty-five hours a week including travel time.

This is how our current leaders intend on growing the “middle class” and making America great for everyone.

Unfortunately, there has been no public outcry against the Governor’s plan to subjugate adults and enslave our children.

Americans have been mis-educated to believe that having a “job” is admirable and that being part of the 21st Century workforce is as American as being “middle class”.

Being human means so much more than being employed. Being human means caring about one another. It means understanding that there is more to life than profits and bottom lines.

Being human means educating our children to understand that they are more valuable than the widgets they are expected to produce.

We, as adults, must open our eyes to the injustice and inequity that controls the nature of the corporate system of education.

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What Should Be Common To Every Core

While there are countless numbers of groups working to reform education, reform is not what is needed.

We have gone so far astray from what the earliest proponents of public education had in mind that their system of education has been replaced by a system that was intended to be counterproductive to the original goals.

Unfortunately, in adopting a corporate model of education where the standardization of the process made the system of education profitable, the concentration on forming an enlightened society that treated each other with love and respect became an unnecessary component of the workforce model.

The corporate model of education created a plastic environment with unrealistic expectations for our children by confining them to a classroom with man-made manipulatives and the expectation that our children would relate multi-colored plastic blocks to their real world environment.

It was only a short time later when prayer was removed from the daily routine in school with the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem to follow shortly.

Once reality, morality, and civility were removed from education, there was nothing left for our children to learn but how to sit in a classroom and listen to someone tell them what to do, how to think, how to act and react.

The instruction our children receive is nonsensical, confusing, and arbitrary yet they do not see adults standing up against this dehumanizing system of education in order to save them from a life of insignificant “middle income” fiefdom.

Every child in this world has a right to be free from the confines of a system of education that relegates them to a life of servitude, oppression, and depression. A life filled with hatred, disease, and defeat whose only power comes from the pennies that someone else is willing to offer them.

We must change the direction of our system of education, not reform it. We must change the perspective of education so that we concentrate on its original intent, to evolve into a better human being in order to make this world a better place to live.

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Common Core For The Common Man

After two days of how learning standards should not look, the question is, what should they require.

Learning standards should be exactly that, standards for learning. Currently our “Common Core” standards concern themselves with the assessment of what students should know without clearly stating how the knowledge should be imparted.

First of all, there is nothing standard about learning. Learning is as individual as the child and just as complex.

So, how should Federal Common Core Guidelines address learning standards?

Prekindergarten Common Core Guidelines:
Key Idea 1: Discovery
(a) Self respect and respect for others
(b) Citizenship
(c) Connection to the environment/world
Key Idea 2: Development
(a) Self respect and respect for others
(b) Citizenship
(c) Connection to the environment/world
Key Idea 3: Direction
(a) Self respect and respect for others
(b) Citizenship
(c) Connection to the environment/world

Assessing each child’s understanding of those concepts is easily accomplished by observing each child’s interaction with other children and the adults in their environment.

By concentrating on the child, every adult in the school environment can assess the educational growth of every child by holding conversations with them about what they’ve learned.

In a child centered learning environment, every child has the opportunity to “show what they know” in a myriad of intellectual and creative ways.

The Common Core is a useless “cut and paste” document that does nothing more than further the misguided belief in America than one human being is somehow better than another because of what they can do and having nothing to do with who they choose to be as a human.

As long as we, in America, continue to perpetuate the notion that there is and should be a “middle class” we must admit and agree to the notion that there is an “upper class” which most will never attain, and a “lower class” which most hold in disdain, Americans will always be enslaved to the corporate machine that keeps our children defeated, depressed and oppressed.

Our children deserve better than “middle class” status. They deserve to be Americans, powerful at every level.

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More To Abhore About The Common Core

The next common core standard for prekindergarten children is:

Reading Standards for Informational Text:
Key Ideas and Details
1. With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about details in a text.
2. With prompting and support, retell detail(s) in a text.
3. With prompting and support, describe the connection between two events or pieces of information in a text.

As with the first standard, there is no Key Idea for this set of details. We are still not told how much prompting and support will be accepted and the third detail is developmentally inappropriate for most three and four year old children.

Craft and Structure
4. Exhibit curiosity and interest in learning new vocabulary (e.g., ask questions about unfamiliar vocabulary).
5. Identify the front cover, back cover; display
s correct orientation of book, page turning skills.
6. With prompting and support, can describe the role of an author and illustrator.

Three and four year old child exhibit curiosity and interest in learning everything, why are they being limited to new vocabulary? What is the point of identifying book cover; display? Should three and four year old children have page turning skills? Detail 5 is developmentally inappropriate.

Integration and Knowledge of Ideas
7. With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g. what person, place, thing or idea in the text an illustration depicts).
8. Not applicable to prekindergarten.
9. With prompting and support, identify basic similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g. illustrations, descriptions or procedures).

Remember, this standard is for informational text. They are asking that three and four year old children understand the concept of relationships and then to be able to describe them. As well, because the information is factual, the children must be correct or be told that they are wrong.

We are not sure what is not applicable to prekindergarten in detail number 8. Detail 9 is developmentally inappropriate.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
10. With prompting and support, actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.

This is the only developmentally appropriate detail for prekindergarten.

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Why A Child Centered Education?

Intuition: The power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.

In other words, we accept the idea that it exists but we cannot explain what it is.

Intuition is our connection to the spirit. Not to be confused with the religious concept of spirit but the more rational concept that we call moral attitude which compels us to act respectfully towards others and regret when the opposite occurs.

Empathy: The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.

In other words, we know that it exists and why, but we don’t know how and when it happens or is supposed to happen.

Intuition and empathy are two concepts that have been ignored in education since we have allowed the corporate dollar to determine the direction of the outcomes that lead to the intended goals of education.

Originally, the intended goal of a free and public education was to enlighten the common man so that they could fully participate in a democratic society that Constitutionally guarantees every American the right to elect their representative voice in government.

Having the intuition to intelligently foresee the outcome of this, it became the intent of the wealthy to redirect the goal of education to provide a workforce that would submit to the mundane standardized operations of an industrialized world.

By separating the people into classes and making the middle class the goal of the common man, the “upper class” secured their position of control over all others.

Removing empathy from the spirit of the people, replacing it with the competition for things, the wealthy created yet another level of derision, economics, to the illusion of separation that began with skin color.

Once we empathize with the condition of our children we can begin to regain our humanity and understand that we are one human race, living on one Earth.

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Presidential Support For Child Centered Learning

“President Obama traveled to Mooresville, NC to announce ConnectEd, an exciting new initiative designed to help bring America’s students into the digital age. The goal of the ConnectED initiative is to bring high-speed internet connections to 99% of America’s students within five years.”

Though President Obama is unfamiliar with the inherent problems that exist within our current system of education, it is impossible for him to ignore the pockets of success that exist.

James Kvall, Deputy Director of Domestic Policy Council, explains that the President’s new technology initiative, through the use of the internet, “lets students move ahead at their own pace, lets teachers figure out what concepts the class is struggling with, then they can provide individualized attention and can focus their time on the areas where students really need help. It also has great potential to connect classrooms with the rest of world, opening up resources like museums and libraries and other classes and experts no matter how far away that they are.”

The “Show and Tell” featured three schools that use technology in their classrooms to complete projects in which the students themselves were interested.

When asked by the moderator, Betsy Corcoran of EdSurge, about standardized testing the students were happy to report that they didn’t take standardized tests but were assessed on the merits of their projects, what they learned and how they were able to communicate that knowledge to others.

It is evident that President Obama and his leadership are still trapped in a classist mindset, mentioning the “middle class” five times throughout his speech while Mr. Kvall lays out the benefit of this initiative to corporate America.

Acknowledging that a child centered, experiential, consortium learning model works is not the same as insuring that all of America’s children are provided the opportunity to be educated in a child centered system of education.

Without the Constitutionally guaranteed right to a free and excellent child centered public school education there will continue to be only pockets of success in a wardrobe of failure.

All of America’s children deserve our best.

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Not Who But What

While it is important to know and understand the level of integrity of any individual running for public office, it is impossible to know whether they will maintain their integrity once in office.

Those who drafted and ratified our Constitution knew this which is why they incorporated term limits into their plan. They also warned against the perils of party politics.

Before voting for any leader, it is the duty of every citizen to know the issues of the office, the perspective of the candidate on the issues, and how they and the general populous feel about those issues.

Unfortunately, since party politics has taken over our elected leadership positions, citizens have allowed their party affiliates to tell them, without knowing or understanding the candidate or the issues personally, who is best for the job.

Knowing for whom to vote into a particular elected office and knowing the level of integrity of that individual is as simple as watching the news and reading the paper.

True leaders are not politically groomed by party power mongers. Leaders are supposed to rise up from among the people to address those issues that negatively affect their lives.

A community leader is easily recognized by their work in the entire community while politicos serve only those they believe can and will advance their political career.

A leader in the community has a reputation for being knowledgeable and passionate about the issues of their leadership.

A leader can intelligently discuss the problems of their community while offering realistic, operable, positive, solutions to those problems.

A leader that comes from the people has suffered with the people and, in understanding the suffering of the people, has a more in-depth perspective on possible solutions to end that suffering.

An individual who has shown themselves to be a community leader has done so at many times, in many venues, before many people.

Voting for community leaders who have shown themselves to be knowledgeable, passionate, and involved in their community is the only way to ensure knowledgeable, passionate, and involved leadership from our elected officials.

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What Are We Fighting For?

Many people in education believe that our current system of education is sufficient but needs fine tuning.

That is the impression one is left with when listening to the Board of Regents and the new New Education Commission. It also seems to be the position of New York State’s Teacher’s Unions.

On June 8, 2013 educators will rally in Albany and stand together to push back against APPR and the barrage of standardized tests that our children are forced to endure.

Unfortunately, when asked if the Teacher’s unions are willing to fight for the Constitutionally guaranteed right of all of America’s children to an excellent, free and public education, the response, in very many words was, no.

Fighting for adjustments to a system that improperly educates our children is not only a waste of time but it deters energy and resources that would be better spent changing the focus of education on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of all children.

Teacher unions should be rallying their ranks to fight for a system of education that recognizes and values the individual talents and passions of the teacher, allowing the trained professional to make autonomous decisions that directly relate to enhancing the love of learning within the hearts and minds of the children in their classes.

Teacher’s unions should be fighting for the right of all teachers to be able to decide which grade level they are most proficient teaching instead of allowing administrators to make those decisions based on arbitrary reasoning that has nothing to do with what is best for the children or the teacher.

Teacher unions could be fighting for respect for the profession of teaching by demanding that those who have not proven themselves proficient in the classroom not assess those who are expected to be proficient in the classroom.

There are a great many things New York State teacher unions could and should be addressing. Fighting to fix a system designed to fail more than half of our children is misleading.

Our children’s educational success must come first.

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For Clarity's Sake

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion in the community concerning Tuesday’s blog.

Several questions have been asked, some which can be answered, some which cannot.

People have asked, “Why aren’t the faculty and staff raising this issue?” The answer to that is unclear. However, there does exist, within the district, a culture of institutional intimidation that would prevent faculty and/or staff from speaking up.

Another question, “Which school was involved?” The answer, the school involved is irrelevant. It was the decision to keep the school open that is of critical importance. For, if the decision to place our children, parents, faculty, and staff in eminent danger of the possibility of being shot, was made for one school, it would have been made for any school.

There is no question as to who made the decision to keep the school open. It is the responsibility of the Superintendent of schools to determine whether or not to close a particular school or all schools.

However, there is also the responsibility of the administrator of the school to impart the seriousness of the situation to the Superintendent and advocate for the safety of the students, parents, faculty, and staff of their school.

It is evident that in this case, neither the administrator nor the Superintendent determined that the threat of a shooting taking place, while warranting the police, school lock down, and a search of students and their lockers, did not warrant closing the school in order to insure the safety of the school community.

To allow this type of blatant disregard for the safety of all of the members of the school community to continue without accountability is to publicly announce that we will stand for any inhumane treatment the district wishes to impose upon the children, parents, faculty, and staff of our schools.

The system will not change, it is up to the collective efforts of the interested stakeholders in education to come together to stop the widespread inefficient, ineffective, and now dangerous practices of our school district.

Our children must come first!

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