According to the Associated Press of May 25, 2012, SAT reading scores for the high school class of 2011 were “the lowest on record, and combined reading and math scores fell to their lowest since 1955." The cause of this precipitous decline? Whole language instruction. Will the institution of Common Core Standards lift us out of this pit of embarrassing failure? Will it finally relegate whole language to the dumpster of educational quackery? No, the Common Core Standards in reading are a fraud that will cost billions of dollars to implement and will not solve the reading problem.
As I have mentioned on a number of occasions, education is the orphan issue of this year’s presidential campaign. Why? Because the subject is so complex, involving massive federal programs, expenditures of billions of dollars, millions of students who can’t read, politicized teacher unions, national tests, etc., that the only thing any candidate can say about education is that he’s in favor of improving it. But “it” remains untouchable, for to say anything significant about “it” can get you into a lot of trouble.
That‘s why Beverly Eakman’s new book, Agenda Games, is so welcome. She takes on this elusive subject in a way that no contemporary political writer would dare. She writes: “Education is the game-changer conservatives love to hate. But education will determine, ultimately, on which side America will fall in 2013 and beyond — Nanny State socialism or representative democracy.”
More and more parents are looking for alternatives to the public schools, which are producing high rates of student failure. Is it because of the students or the school? At a recent conference on education sponsored by the New York Times, one of the participants, Pedro Noguera, a professor of education at Columbia University, jolted the audience by saying, “We have set some schools up for failure.” No attempt was made to elaborate on Professor Noguera’s comment, but he was expressing a view that is commonly held by many parents in districts where the schools have specialized in producing failure. Many of these parents have been trying to find alternatives to these schools that they can afford.
In writing my book NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education, first published in 1984 — 28 years ago — I read every issue of the NEA Journal and thus was able to chronicle the National Education Association’s support for world government from their own writings. The NEA began to promote that utopian idea as early as December 1942 when its Journal published an editorial entitled “The United Peoples of the World.” In it, the editor announced the NEA’s support of world government. He quoted Tennyson’s “Locksley Hall" with its reference to the “Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World.”
Large-scale cheating has been uncovered over the last year at some of the nation’s most competitive schools. With American students no longer being educated under Christian moral standards, is there any mystery why students in our most prestigious institutions cheat?
Although Chicago’s public school teachers are among the highest paid in the nation, they wanted more, and according to the settlement reached late Tuesday, September 18, they are getting more. Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed the settlement as marking “a new day and a new direction” for Chicago public schools. He said it provided “higher pay for teachers and a higher standard of education for students.”
After a full day of discussions about public education among a select group of establishment educators and allied think-tank types, the best recommendation they could all come up with is the need for more “effective teachers.” Not to be outdone by the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Education, the New York Times, in its second annual conference held on September 13, decided to put its three cents in the ongoing discussions on public education which seem to have attracted the attention of the establishment cognitive elite.
The teacher strike in Chicago is more than just about salaries, benefits, and collective bargaining. It is more about the struggle between the visions of two liberal personalities than anything else: Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union and Rahm Emanuel, the Mayor of Chicago.
More than 200 politicized teachers participated in the recent Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, N.C., representing their unions, not their students. Since 1980, politicized teachers have been one of the largest groups represented at the DNC, and they represent the far left of the political spectrum.
In a previous article I referred to education as the “orphan issue” in this great presidential election. Of course, every candidate mumbles something about education, but everyone seems to know that American public education is like some sort of huge stone, like the one in Mecca, that is impossible to move. It just sits there inert, unresponsive, brainless. Yet, it absorbs billions of dollars a year and turns out many young Americans who can barely read or write.