Mr Rodgers Neighborhood

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ’It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” Fred Rogers

When we have under-performing schools anywhere in our country, do we see it as a systemic problem? Do we think it is our shared responsibility to support the educational and developmental needs of all children where and when they need us to do so?

The education reform war reached a new crescendo over “accountability.” We have come to talk and think in terms of “accountability” but the word is interchangeable with “responsibility.”

I have come to believe that we need an accountability system that respects the local responsibility, has true state accountability for equitable resources, and recognizes a federal duty to monitor progress for the purpose of providing guidance and support.

So if we want to continue to look at the issue of “improvement” in terms of “reform,” school reform is a local responsibility. States are charged with an accounting of inputs and outcomes to provide meaningful oversight. And the federal government should oversee the broader topic of “education reform” as it applies to the necessities of maintaining a strong republic based on equal opportunity and American excellence.

Everyone should know by now that top-down education mandates for accountability tied to higher “achievement” scores has only furthered our resistance to change, made a bad situation worse for many, and escalated the education wars. The scholars are fighting over issues the people can’t understand, while citizens are growing frustrated and walking away. This fighting must end.

Children need us to form partnerships. Partnerships aren’t a way to shift responsibility; they are a way to share it.

If we see educating children as a societal obligation, if the focus is children, our responsibility is to be responsive to them.

What now? Lives lost but not the innocence of our next generation.

What now?

They need us to negotiate a truce.



“They” Have Plans for U.S. Children

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was a failed experiment. That is, it failed as a reform for schools.

So why do Americans continue to trust many of the very same people who created the law to now lead us down yet another path – over a decade later? This time, the National Governors Association (NGA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) (ESEA_Task_Force_Policy_Statement_2010) plan to use the rewriting of NCLB to consolidate data reporting to a single “office in the U.S. Department of Education that manages all data requests and collections…” (with good intentions?).Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 3.52.22 PM(Update 12/10/15: NCLB changed to The Every Student Succeeds Act – ESSA. The lead groups on Common Core — the non-governmental trade organizations CCSSO and NGA —have more power under ESSA than they did under NCLB.)

This country desperately needs to talk about proper roles of government in education. But for now, local control?

When and how students receive additional help should always be made at the school level. Do we need good data there? Yes. But more importantly, we need capable, caring people who understand kids!

Every state put in a longitudinal data system so that each state could track each student in order to make “better decisions” as to where and how to spend our education dollars — at the state level (?). Fair enough, maybe. That is supposedly why the Data Quality Campaign came into existence. But check out the campaigns supporters at the bottom of this page and ask yourselves, should data systems have been a priority?

“Coinciding with the movement for more and better data, federal lawmakers established the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grant program (part of the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002) to help states design, develop, and implement longitudinal data systems.” (Source New America Foundation, Many Missing Pieces)

People – this was back in 2002!!! And now, it is time to “consolidate data” to a point of central control. Our lack of vigilance has been astounding!

“…there was a diabolical realism in his plan to make all learning the monopoly of the elite which was to rule his envisioned world empire and keep the anonymous masses barely literate.”

That is what Eric Hoffer wrote in the The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. He was speaking about Hitler. Control of the education system is THAT important!

Stop IT !

Stop IT ! P.S. I think Godwin’s Law is detrimental to open discussions about our times and history.

Until the day that the anonymous masses of citizens once again have control over their government, we must defend every inch of control we have remaining over the public education system.

Welcome to the Real Education War!


To know more, read about the power and control of the Common Core Standards and the excellent comments from the people.


Addition 2/17/16: You can also learn more about the Common Core “Initiative” through this smorgasbord of blogs. I suggest beginning with “Research Made Me Do It.” What it made me do is take a firm stance against corporate takeover of the public education standards, assessments, curriculum, data systems, and the production of a totalitarian workforce development system.


Addition 9/7/17: Consider this. ESSA State Consolidation Plans are all approved by the Secretary of Education. After approval, will all states then submit their data as evidence of compliance (“accountability”)? The “new” ESEA is ESSA. It delivered. The question now is, how much will we pay for it?

They do have plans for US.

Two more additions:

The Big idea?

Big funders? Big investors? Big pay-off for some.

Desire and Attitude

This past couple of weeks I’ve met with groups on both sides of the Idaho education wars which are currently raging over “reform” laws on our November ballot. These meetings reaffirmed the fact that we working class people all share the desire and belief that public schools should provide our children, grandchildren, and other relatives with the chance to have a good education, no matter where they live. In our hearts, we know it’s the best thing for them.

So what continues to divide us? Really, what’s stopping us from pursuing improvement in all our schools? Money, power — the clout that goes with it? Is that what is really necessary to move us into action?

It seems that within any group gatherings there is always at least one person who indicates or says “we can’t.” And that attitude becomes infectious. So here is something to consider;

All In The State Of Mind
If you think you’re beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out in the world you find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind.

Full many a race is lost,
Ere ever a step is run;
And many a coward fails
Ere ever his work begun.
Think big, and your deeds will grow;
Think small, and you’ll fall behind;
Think that you can, and you will.
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re out classed, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins,
Is the fellow who thinks he can.
–    Author Unknown