Recently, I have been reflecting on education policy ideas being promoted at the state and national level by elected officials. I must admit, I am baffled. I cannot decide if they are trying to fool me or if, in fact, they have fooled themselves!
Not long ago, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos claimed Common Core was essentially gone. Her claim may be based on the fact that many states have renamed their standards. Michigan has not. But the fact remains, every single state’s standards are fully Common Core aligned, regardless of the name. Who is Secretary DeVos fooling, us or herself?
Senator Patrick Colbeck, also a candidate for governor, appears to believe Michigan is no longer using a Common Core aligned state assessment, SBAC. In his recent campaign material, he claims to have “stood up against Common Core Standards by successfully stopping the implementation of the Smarter Balance assessment.” The Michigan Department of Education created the M-Step assessment using the the SBAC computer adaptive platform and questions. In essence, M-STEP was a rebrand of Smarter Balanced. So who is Candidate Colbeck fooling, us or himself?
Congressman Paul Mitchell (MI-10) sponsored federal legislation called CTA, College Transparency Act. This act will link individual education data and IRS data. His premise is to make information about degree costs and future earnings available to students and parents for better decision making. He cites no evidence that the information does not already exist in other forms. The information does exist, both in the government IPEDS system and in many other internet sources. He cites no evidence that all these sources are incorrect, causing students to make bad choices. He insists the data his bill links already exists, but actually, only data from college students who take federal aid or loans is currently in the higher education data system. CTA will capture data from every single student in every higher education program. So who is Congressman Mitchell fooling, us or himself?
Last week, Senator Ted Cruz added an amendment to the Tax package to permit expanded use of 529 Education Savings Account for use in home and private K-12 education. His premise is that this opens up choice options for more families. But history has proven, when the government permits, the government sets the rules. The rules change over time, usually becoming more restrictive. Right now, every public school choice in the US requires students take a Common Core aligned annual assessment, entering every public school child’s personal information into the workforce data base. Once home & private schools are considered public, obviously, regulations will follow. So who is Senator Cruz fooling, us or himself?
Senator Colbeck also supports enabling federal money to be used for private & home schooling, as called for in his resolution SCR 25. We sincerely hope a majority of our Michigan Representatives will not be fooled or try to fool us into thinking this money will not enable government control of the only real Common-Core-free choices for education in Michigan.
Recently, the US House of Representatives passed a set of bills to increase the federal bureaucracy and create a national citizen data system in support of “Evidence-based Decision making”. Committee Chair Trey Gowdy insisted the bills do not create “a” national data base, which is correct. But it will link all federal data bases together, education, IRS, military, and more on the basis of individual identities. Who thinks this difference is relevant? Who is Congressman Gowdy fooling, us or himself?
It is no wonder the American public does not trust government. Our leaders either believe we are fools or are fools themselves.