I am not a professional talking head, nor am I a pundit of any kind. I see what I see and that’s about it. I am blithered by how we are reaching two candidates, one from each party, to run for the presidency. Everything that I was taught about political science during my Master’s Degree at the New School for Social Research is now down the drain. With 24 hour coverage of almost all events political, one can see the circus atmosphere of a serious event in our lives.
The next presidency will propel us into a new era of the 21st century. We have lots to look forward to as I sit here in adult Disneyworld. Political philosophy will fall to hubris and lots of a lack of understanding of how our country and laws work. There is a dearth of understanding that the President does not make the laws, nor does the Congress pass bills by themselves into laws, that social security really is a federal government program and that the feds really don’t have the right to interfere with education. All of those understandings have gone by the boards.
What is now normal are brash people saying things that are patently absurd and also untrue. The meaning of patriotism is now tied to whether you wear a lapel flag pin. I might not agree with decisions of the Supreme Court, but I am not aligned with those who see 5 unelected Supreme Court members changing the nature of laws as a horror, or illegal at the least.
For those of you who are not in education, nor governmental activity, this may seem strange to you. However, it is truly happening. This administration has focused its educational attention on charter schools and testing. Now, we are told that there is too much testing going on. Who instigated all of these high stakes tests? You guessed correctly- the federal government.
Somehow, none of the big mahafs in Washington have ever read the constitution of the United States. Here, let Justice Powell explain it to you in the landmark Rodreguez v. San Antonio School District in 1973,
San Antonio v. Rodriguez (1973) cemented the statement that the federal government has little or no authority to interfere with state’s operation of school and school systems. In his majority opinion Justice Powell made clear the Supreme Court’s view of education. “Education, of course, is not among the rights afforded explicitly under our Federal Constitution. Nor do we find any basis for saying it is implicitly so protected.”
Now that Mr. Duncan will be moving on to a run at a governorship, we no longer have to listen to his balderdash. He claims that he turned the schools of Chicago around by some magical formula that included these tests and charter schools. There is no evidence that this is true. He is on a par with Michele Rhee who claimed the same thing for Washington D.C. and classes that she taught in Baltimore.
This testing thing is near and dear to me. I was on the state board of education in Pennsylvania. The testing, stimulated by the feds was abominable. I was determined to do my best to get rid of some of this testing. I was successful with the 11th grade state test because the kids never took it seriously and no employer or college ever looked at the results. I believed, and still do that the tests we give should really reflect what the teacher is teaching. I used a standardized test called the Iowa tests. It showed children’s progress from year to year. It was a good way of seeing how each child was doing. State tests show nothing. I once had a discussion (argument) with a staffer in the legislature that there are other ways of telling how well schools and school districts are doing. I laid out a number of them. He said that legislators would have no time to look at all of those results. So, for the convenience of the legislators, both state and federal, we are testing children to death. Get me out of here.