Tax Dollars Fuel Unlawful Nationalized Curriculum, Parent-Bypass

Aug 8, 2011 by

 

 

 

Beverly K. Eakman  – Federal spending for K-12 education increased by approximately 1,050 percent between 1970 and 2009 (the most recent years for which firm figures exist). But public schools — the ones almost 90 percent of U.S. children attend  — have seen negligible gains over that period. Private schools aren’t panaceas, either, thanks to university departments of teacher training that are steeped in spurious education “research” gushing from component agencies of the U.S. Department of Education (DoE), in defiance of federal law.

Since its inception in 1976, the DoE has worked to control all aspects of schooling and circumvent local prerogatives, hiding its agenda in plain sight under the terms “Best Practices,” “reform,” and “innovation.” Its greatest helpmates have been state Governors, via the National Governors Association (NGA), the host center for “Best Practices”; the National Education Association (NEA); and UNESCO, to which the NEA, in particular, has contributed heavily since 1948. In short, the NGA, the NEA, and the DoE have colluded with the United Nations to bypass U.S. laws.

In response to concerns that the Cabinet-level education agency created by President Jimmy Carter — as a sop to the teachers union — would eventually crush local decision-making and impose programs conflicting with community norms, a Democrat majority in the 96th Congress passed Public Law 96-88, Section 103b, in 1979, designed to appear to prohibit the federal government from involvement in curriculum. Note the portions emphasized in italics below:

No provision of a program administered by the Secretary or by any other officer of the Department shall be construed to authorize the Secretary or any such officer to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, over any accrediting agency or association, or over the selection or content of library resources, textbooks, or other instructional materials by any educational institution or school system, except to the extent authorized by law.

But the same Democrat-controlled Congress provided a loophole further on, in Section 209, which created the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) — with 10 component bureaus and offices to engage in federal “research, development, demonstration, dissemination, evaluation and assessment activities” destined for schools nationwide.

To cover themselves, DoE spokespersons employed familiar doublespeak exemplifing how federal agencies dodge laws intended to impose restraints. The DoE claimed it was simply funding development of curricular frameworks and instructional materials, not directing, supervising, or controlling curriculum.

Such obfuscation sails right past most journalists. Journalists’ articles drop what editors may interpret as “wordiness.” As a result, people misunderstand how tax dollars are spent.

The routes to federalizing schools are data collection, assessment, and curriculum, the first two of which are covered at length in earlier columns. Control of curriculum, on the other hand, is unique in its complexity — but, then, if it weren’t, the DoE could never have pulled it off. Here’s how it works:

First, be aware that with every new administration, component bureaus and offices that make up most agencies of federal government, including the DoE, get a new name under a so-called “reorganization.” The pretense of housecleaning entails reshuffling employees and tasks, but rarely eliminates any function. The point is to confuse the press, taxpayers, and watchdog organizations so that by the time they catch on, there is yet another election and “restructuring” — complete with a “transition team” to implement the pseudo-changes — until even professionals can’t grasp it.

That’s what happened with the DoE’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) and its pivotal centerpiece, a computerized repository of “validated” (government-approved) curricular programs — the National Diffusion Network. The NDN cost taxpayers between $8 million and $14 million a year over a 20-year period.

The NDN was actually created in 1965 under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) — a piece of legislation devised during the Johnson Administration and established under the old Office of Education when it was part of Department of Health, Education, and Welfare — i.e., prior to the creation of the cabinet-level DoE. Once online, educators were expected to select from the smorgasbord of programs vetted by an appointed (not elected) Joint Dissemination Review Panel for “official recognition.” Having been “validated” as successful, these curricular programs were deemed in accordance with “What Works” and NGA’s “Best Practices.” This constituted a green-light for government to produce “curricular frameworks.”

Tax Dollars Fuel Unlawful Nationalized Curriculum, Parent-Bypass.

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