“My Response to Jay P. Greene’s Blog on the Reauthorization ESEA: Statement by Burke, Evers, Rebarber, Stotsky, Wurman”

Feb 11, 2015 by


“My Response to Jay P. Greene’s Blog on the Reauthorization ESEA: Statement by Burke, Evers, Rebarber, Stotsky, Wurman”

by Donna Garner






Principle #1:  The further away from the teacher’s desk that decisions over student learning move, the more special interest groups will enter the debate and destroy the classroom.


Principle #2:  The curriculum standards certainly do not need to be made by those in The Beltway because that is where the special interest groups have their power base.


Principle #3:  To restore America’s classrooms, there must be two priorities; and they must be in this order: (1) Consistent discipline and (2) quality curriculum standards, curriculum, and tests.  Everything else in education is of secondary importance.


Principle #4:  The curriculum standards form the basement for all of the other floors in The House of Learning.  If the parameters for the basement are right, then the other floors will be right.  In education there are two philosophies of education. I call them Type #1 and Type #2; and before a single word of the curriculum standards is written, the basement parameters must be set in place because they will determine the configuration of the other floors.


Type #1 is knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, explicit by grade level (or course level), and measurable largely by objectively scored questions with right-or-wrong answers.  


Type #2 is subjective, built upon opinions/beliefs/emotions, and opens the door for indoctrination of students’ minds because relativism, “fuzzy,” inexact answers become the norm with little attention paid to detail and fact-based learning. The Common Core Standards Initiative is built upon Type #2 and is meant to destroy Type #1.  


If schools/states are allowed to choose Type #1 as the basement of their House of Learning, then the other floors will be easy to build. Type #1 curriculum standards beget Type #1 tests largely with right-or-wrong answers, and students learn that fact-based learning gives them a foundation for being able to exercise higher-level thinking skills because they have something on which “to think.”  


Principle #5:  It is the Type #1 philosophy of education which equipped our forefathers to make America the greatest nation on earth.  It is Type #1 that put man on the moon, and they achieved this by learning on a Big Chief Tablet.


Principle #6:  Money does not equal academic achievement. It is Type #1 in America’s House of Learning that will produce subject-content-rich teachers who will then be equipped and enabled to produce subject-content-rich students.


CONCLUSION: The reauthorization of the ESEA must allow schools/states the freedom to choose Type #1 with absolutely no threats, intimidation, bullying, loss of incentives, gain of incentives, nor federal dollars to coerce them into Type #2.       


Donna Garner


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