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Exposing/rejecting the federal “Race to the Top” (RttT)

June 8, 2011 by admin

May 18, 2011

The "Certificate of Mastery" (below) is a reflection of the RttT. It is described in the contractual agreement that is required of every state under contract with the US DOE RttT legislation and with the National Center For Education and The Economy (NCEE). The NCEE has been the front implementing agent for federal USDOE.

Arizona sought RttT inclusion, and was one of the original Tier 1 states, (ten states were awarded Tier 1 designation by the USDOE). The AZ contract was signed 2009-2010. The federal movement is quietly underway in certain selected school districts.

More states are being selected for a Tier 11 designation, but, are minus some of the Tier 1 carrot stick fiscal support. Arizona is rated near bottom in the national rating of states in its fiscal support for public education. (Arizona has many for-profit charter schools, some, part of a national chain that benefit from state and federal funds. The Arizona Charter School movement has its own governing State Board of Education (SEA)

I doubt very much but that a small handful of state legislators and the general public, even within public education industry, have an informed awareness about what the state has agreed to set in motion under the RttT contract… Little to no fan fare, unobtrusive implementation, statutory preparation in place. There has been no public discussion or debate of RttT claimed merit I am aware of. I have a copy of AZ’s contract.

Actually, the “Certificate of Mastery” is not something new…These certificates were initiated under the GOALS 2000 push orchestrated by the NCEE with the federal government. Oregon, was one of the first experimental “Certificate of Mastery” states.. I was sent copies of the certificates along with parental complaints (unheeded) by the Local school Board (LEA) and the State Education Agency (SEA). These I left with a friend in Vermont when moving to Arizona. (I have tracked the NCEE since 1989).

Readers of state contracts under the RttT will locate not only the “certificate” intent (under a new title in the RttT contract) but will observe how much governance authority a state has delegated away to the federal government. Participating local school boards are mere RttT instruments, existing to reflect and implement the RttT federal legislation. Consultants (written into the contract) representing the RttT/NCEE marriage are largely responsible for the full design and implementation of the RttT and will guide/monitor a state’s progress in meeting the federal expectations.

In the contract, the new Exit Door (certificate) from public education encourages those by age 15 to leave school in exchange for the “opportunity” to join the labor force..having perhaps…an entry level preparation (?) nor a GED., nor a high school diploma. Encouragement for such decisions begins by grade 8 when high school subjects and levels are decided based upon perceived a student’s motivation, grades, and (unidentified) “ability”. …What does that suggest is ahead for the welfare of society much less its work force? Why would this have corporate endorsement? Does this movement bear witness to the current attack on unions, workers working conditions, pensions, benefits..etc.? How many of us know at by grade 8 and then by age 15 “what we want to do”?

This wonderful opportunity is to be available for all students, not just special education designated students. Should those that leave high school at 15 later realize they need at least a high school diploma, they may return to public high school…, but…at their own expense. I assume all are aware that Maine (other states?) is lowering the age, upping the hours and lowering the pay scale for child employment (under 18) in their Child Labor law revisions?

It might be argued that this component of the governing contract could be titled: “Solving the National Drop Out Problem; Getting Rid of The Kids”….the “unmotivated” of society dragging down “scores”affecting federal state and local ratings. This is also sold, by implication in contract language, as a means of saving money for local taxpayers.

In Certificate Program v. Regular Diploma, Parent Trainer Susan Bruce says, “No Way!” Don’t settle for an ‘alternate diploma.’ Begin with the highest expectation possible for your child. Don’t lower that expectation until you extinguish every possibility.

Do I believe President Obama understands what the U.S. DOE and its delegated “agent” require in implementation of the RttT? No…As always, it’s in the details…and the spin of the sell…is usual Marc Tucker/NCEE obfuscation.

The NCEE (Marc Tucker, President, still) is the source which has been the front for control over public education since the late 1970′s. It basically urges, writes, controls legislation changes at all levels. With it’s aligned corporations the NCEE rewrites curriculum, the frequently revised “assessments”, administers the scoring of same, (no classroom teacher ever sees a student’s assessment response) designs the mandated annual teacher “re-training” etc. The bill however, goes to the local taxpayer after the incentive federal/ corporate seed money dries up, leaving federal dribbles thereafter. The Contract mandates remain however….or the federal government withdraws all of whatever support it advances and applies consequences, even seeking some reimbursements. Their are penalties for a state that signs on…but thereafter, seeks release from its contract…..

The designated corporations running the curriculum /assessments sham can count on continued billions in profits for their investors under the RttT. As I wrote before, remember what IBM President Gerstner said at the the National Governors Association (NGA) when it held its annual meeting at IBM NY home base in 1989 . He advised governors..”Public Education is Big Business. Why aren’t we in it”? Only a few months later schools across the nation were having to be re-wired in preparation for the advancing “technology reform” through which all governing policy and content would flow along with data collection on students. (Records exist) Like the frog in hot water the federal control of public education gained momentum through lazy or complicit legislators and… at taxpayer expense! Pretty cool, right?

But is federal control of public education legal? Many, of national influence, from Nobel Prize recipients to Governors, from universalities and private schools to ordinary citizens are challenging the thrust and the challenge momentum is spreading nationally.

In the interim …the aligned corporate profits soar into the billions for investors. LEA’s are left to hire the kitchen help, bus drivers, street aides, arrange for trash collection, grounds and building maintenance, and such. All of any real consequence and substance has been transferred to the federal government and the implementing corporate industry.

As this affects those with students on 504 education plans or IEP’s…parents must expect to have to press for appropriate services, constantly. It is to be even more of an uphill battle then it already is with little to no enforcement under the IDEA. Success will be measured on a parent’s intimate knowledge of the federal statutes (504–IDEA-Assistive Technology-ADA in preparation) Do not rely on state or local “policy”…

For parents/teachers with students served under Section 504 and the the ADA, which covers IEP IDEA students, See: Federal Register, Vol.45 No. 92, Friday, May 9, 1980, pg 30943.. Pair with the RttT early release from public education by age 15.

Section 104.37 (a) General and (b) Counseling Services

(b) “A recipient to which this subpart applies that provides personal, academic or vocational services to its students shall provide these services without discrimination on the basis of handicap. The recipient shall ensure that qualified handicapped students are not counseled toward more restrictive career objectives than no handicapped students with similar interests and abilities”. Apply!

Now for an important P.S

Google MSNBC, Laurence O’Donnell today, May,16 ASAP. Listen to the first half of his 1 hr. program. You will hear not only a segment on Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education (1973) and the U.S. Supreme Court unanimous decision (equal rights for all in public education), you will hear about a shadow government, established also in 1973, called ALEC . It enjoys a very comfortable budget contributed by major corporations and foundations. It’s purpose is to write legislation for legislative councils (federal and state levels) that insure passage at both levels..

A current example; consider how states are trying, word for word, to emulate AZ’s legislation re: illegal immigrants… Consider Wisconsin and other states determination to break unions with word for word legislation. Arizona’s Governor, Jan Brewer, assured citizens that a legal challenge to AZ’s illegal immigration law (SB 1050) would not cost the AZ taxpayer “a thing”…It has. NOW…who, or what combination of entities are financing AZ’s approach to the U.S. Supreme Court after loosing at District Court…and in circumventing the Appeals level ? What stable of attorney’s is driving the case?

THIS source is what I referred to in my comments in the last forward regarding the national resistance ( among, at last, powerful voices,) to the RttT. The ALEC arm, Education Coalition of the States (ECS), underwritten by Carnegie, formulated and sold passage of GOALS 2000, School To Work etc.(1990′s) legislation …all of which required state legislative council revisions to existing state education statutes, These statutes set the stage for the federal take over of public education under the RttT. Publication of W. Bennett’s,”A Nation At Risk” was the initial “call to action” and the orchestrated press was on..

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