Deaf Ears

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Yes­ter­day, I set about the busi­ness of writ­ing about Ida­ho State Board of Edu­ca­tion and their appar­ent inabil­i­ty to hear the voic­es of the vot­ers.


In 2012 there was a bal­lot ini­tia­tive that asked to vot­ers to approve a pro­gram of pay-for-per­for­mance for teach­ers.  The vot­ers reject­ed the pro­gram.  There were actu­al­ly three ini­tia­tives on the bal­lot and the vot­ers reject­ed all three of them.

Propo­si­tion 1 – Labor Rela­tions.   “Dis­trict super­in­ten­dents, school admin­is­tra­tors, and teach­ers get an annu­al eval­u­a­tion.  At least 50 per­cent of it must be based on mea­sur­able stu­dent growth.  Teach­ers’ and prin­ci­pals’ eval­u­a­tions must include par­ent input.

Propo­si­tion 2 – Pay for per­for­mance.   Bonus­es for teach­ers would be based on “stu­dent aca­d­e­m­ic growth mea­sured by statewide stan­dard­ized tests”.

Propo­si­tion 3 – Tech­nol­o­gy.  The ini­tia­tive autho­rized the pur­chase of a lap­top for every stu­dent, wire­less broad­band ser­vice in high schools and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment for using tech­nol­o­gy in class for the teach­ers.  It includ­ed a new require­ment that stu­dents take a min­i­mum of two online class­es for grad­u­a­tion and it includ­ed a sleep­er:  Pub­lic post-sec­ondary schools in Ida­ho can oper­ate char­ter high schools.

Short­ly after the elec­tion in 2012, then State Super­in­ten­dent of Schools, Tom Luna, announced the schools would buy the lap­tops for the stu­dents despite the fact that the vot­ers reject­ed the plan.  In 2014, right after Butch Otter’s re-elec­tion, 4th Dis­trict Judge Patrick Owen ruled that the state’s $60 mil­lion broad­band con­tract was ille­gal.  There was appar­ent­ly some kind of sweet­heart deal between Butch Otter and his close friend and busi­ness part­ner, Mike Gwart­ney.   After the Ida­ho Edu­ca­tion Net­work con­tract was award­ed, they cut out one of the part­ners, Syringa Net­works.  Nat­u­ral­ly, Syringa sued.

About two weeks ago, TVOI News got a tip from a whistle­blow­er, that the Ida­ho State Board of Edu­ca­tion is imple­ment­ing pay-for-per­for­mance with par­ent and stu­dent eval­u­a­tions of the teach­ers.   The par­ent eval­u­a­tion of the teach­ers is an eight page, 28 ques­tion sur­vey in which par­ents are asked if the cur­ricu­lum is appro­pri­ate for their child and if the teacher shares infor­ma­tion with the par­ent that is under­stand­able, friend­ly, and non-threat­en­ing.   As I read the ques­tion­naire the thought that came to mind was that the par­ent should be giv­en a vocab­u­lary test and basic con­cepts test before a teacher’s career it put at risk with mul­ti­ple choice ques­tions that are answered with Nev­er, Not often, Some­times, Usu­al­ly, Almost Always, Do not know.

Teach­ers are also up in arms about a test called the SBAC test.  SBAC stands for Smarter Bal­anced Assess­ment Con­sor­tium – which means what?   “Smarter Bal­anced is one of two mul­ti­state con­sor­tia award­ed fund­ing from the U.S. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion in 2010 to devel­op an assess­ment sys­tem aligned to the Com­mon Core State Stan­dards (CCSS) by the 2014–15 school year.”   Source:  SBAC

Com­mon Core State Stan­dards are the prod­uct of a non-prof­it front group called Achieve, Inc., behind which was Lou Ger­st­ner, Chair­man of IBM.

From 1996 to 2002 he co-chaired Achieve, an orga­ni­za­tion cre­at­ed by U.S. Gov­er­nors and busi­ness lead­ers to dri­ve high aca­d­e­m­ic stan­dards for pub­lic schools in the Unit­ed States. At IBM he estab­lished Rein­vent­ing Edu­ca­tion as a strate­gic part­ner­ship with 21 states and school dis­tricts which uti­lize IBM tech­nol­o­gy and tech­ni­cal assis­tance to elim­i­nate key bar­ri­ers to school reform and improve stu­dent per­for­mance. He is co-author of the book Rein­vent­ing Edu­ca­tion: Entre­pre­neur­ship in America’s Pub­lic Schools (Dut­ton 1994).

The “rein­vent­ing” plan was hand­ed to the Gov­er­nors who then had to present it to their cit­i­zens as if it was their own idea.  The so-called rein­ven­tion was noth­ing of the sort.  It’s the Sovi­et Union’s sys­tem of poly-tech­ni­cal edu­ca­tion or what we old timers used to call voca­tion­al edu­ca­tion.

Com­mon Core was hand­ed as a pack­age to the Coun­cil of Chief State School Offi­cers (CCSSO) who then pre­sent­ed it as their own plan while Tom Luna who was not qual­i­fied to even be employed in the edu­ca­tion sys­tem and who “mis­led” vot­ers (check the Plum Book) when he ran for State Super­in­ten­dent of Schools, intro­duced it into Ida­ho.

For the icing on this sh*t samitch – mixed metaphor inten­tion­al, the Pres­i­dent of the Nation­al Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion (NEA), Lily Eskelsen Gar­cia was on C-Span Wash­ing­ton Jour­nal yes­ter­day, Jan 17, 2015 to talk about stan­dards and test­ing.  The minute she opened her mouth, I thought, she sounds just like Sarah Palin and as she went on, I could hear how her voice dropped at cer­tain points to almost a whis­per.

With the high­ly cul­ti­vat­ed affec­ta­tions of Lily Eskelsen Gar­cia that includ­ed hints of ASMR train­ing, I deter­mined that I need­ed to get to the bot­tom of it.  Inter­est­ing­ly enough, the oth­er day when I was search­ing for info on Zbig­niew Brzezin­s­ki for the piece I was writ­ing titled Jihadis With­out Bor­ders (Part 7 of Refugees as a Weapons Sys­tem), I came across a new word:  Eupsy­chia and I thought that per­haps I would find some clues to the train­ing that Gar­cia under­went in the infor­ma­tion about eupsy­chia.   DING! DING! DING!   JACKPOT!!!

Eupsy­chia – web­site.  The link on William Faulkn­er is to an audio clip.  Make sure you lis­ten to it and then fol­low the links to the Eupsy­chi­an Assump­tions and read them care­ful­ly with­in the con­text of the real world and not some utopi­an fan­ta­sy world.

Much as I’d like to, I’m not going off on a tan­gent about eupsy­chia except to give you this from Zbig’s book, Between Two Ages:  America’s Role in the Tech­netron­ic Era:

We have thus reached the stage of mankind’s his­to­ry where the pas­sion for equal­i­ty is a uni­ver­sal, self-con­scious force.  What is more, since equal­i­ty is not like­ly to be attained on the objec­tive plane, it may be sought more and more on the sub­jec­tive plane.  With real equal­i­ty impos­si­ble, equal­i­ty through emo­tion becomes a sub­sti­tute, with pas­sion­ate con­flict and hos­til­i­ty cre­at­ing the illu­sion of equal­i­ty.    Page 111.

Garcia’s train­ing comes out of the New Age move­ment.  The New Age move­ment is the psy­cho-social engi­neers answer to the trans­for­ma­tion­al require­ments to move to Zbig’s Tech­netron­ic Era.  What that means for the schools is that the schools are play­ing games with the emo­tions of the chil­dren while the schools are being con­vert­ed to a dumb­ed down non-edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem.   And the ever bub­bly, boun­cy, wide-eyed enthu­si­asm of Lily Eskelsen Gar­cia is an icon­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tive of New Age gam­ing of the chil­dren – play­ing on their emo­tions.  It makes me shud­der to think of the dis­il­lu­sion­ment that awaits them as they enter adult­hood.

What we are wit­ness­ing in the schools is sim­i­lar to a pack of vul­tures fight­ing over a car­cass – our sys­tem of edu­ca­tion.   The teach­ers, the school admin­is­tra­tors, state offi­cials and cor­po­ra­tions are all vying for the mon­ey from the edu­ca­tion sys­tem as it is being dis­man­tled and while the social engi­neers are play­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal games with the chil­dren.  Objec­tions of par­ents, vot­ers, teach­ers and prob­a­bly stu­dents are falling on deaf ears.   Maybe it’s time for the grand­par­ents to get involved to res­cue their grand­chil­dren from the ghouls, goons and goofs who seem to have cap­tured our schools.

Relat­ed Read­ing:

Aspen Insti­tute:  Trans­form­ing the Amer­i­can High School

Ida­ho – Future is Now Newslet­ter from 2005

What is New Age Edu­ca­tion – Part 1?

What is New Age Edu­ca­tion – Part 2?   

Ann Herz­er, Response to Ani­ta Hoge’s Excel­lent Arti­cle