Conservatives are often accused by their brethren on the left of being "afraid" of change. Along with this comes the stereotype of backward, ignorant, and rigid. Really? I know a fair amount of conservatives and they are the most educated and well informed people I know. I was just reading an article about David Axelrod, Obama's propaganda artist. He's the one that thought up the "hope and change" thing. He's having a great time and thinks he can pull off this big propaganda bonanza again. You might want to note that his mother, and his mentor, David Cantor, were communists. He was trained young, not in truth telling, but how you can make people think and do what you want through subversion. While the rest of us were in Sunday School learning to obey the golden rule these guys were learning how to get control. So if you believe these "right winger" stereotypes you might want to realize that what you are doing is bigotry and mind control at its' worst. It has worked well for the left for a long time. Any person running against them just has to be called a "right winger" and they are demonized as the devil. It's been so easy for left wing candidates in Helena to get elected just using this tactic. How long can they get along just demonizing and not knowing anything? How long can they get along just believing every piece of nonsense out of Washington or wherever their gurus are? I have a feeling not for much longer. It certainly won't go on forever. But let's examine change.
If you want to change something, the first thing you must do is really understand the thing you want to change. I never fail to be amazed at how little real knowledge and experience in the classroom our change agents have(the people who hold workshops and present themselves in Helena as the "experts". )The board of trustees is made up of people who have no background, education or experience in educating. Normally this would be O.K. and they would depend on people that should know, like the education administrators and teachers. But,with the inordinate amount of change coming out of Washington in the last 20 years, our trustees have begun to just support anything they are told . Though we have loads of Federal grants operating in our schools , I have never seen our school trustees review any of them. There is too much information to investigate and the administrators don't really know either, their job works best if they don't ask questions. So where does that leave us? That leaves us with lots of change that may be, and probably is, harming our schools. If you look at statistics our schools in Helena are losing ground on national testing and academic ranks. Nationally there has been no improvement in academic standings since the 70's (when we got our federal department of education), and sadly, we had the lowest scores on Scholastic Achievement Tests (SAT) last year that have ever been recorded in the history of the country.
So really, what is all this change in our schools about anyway? If it's about academic achievement it is a dismal failure nation wide. If it was about academic achievement then school districts would be trying to teach more not less. They'd let teacher's teach and expect them to be focussed on academics. They'd expect them to cover all the material, correct all the papers, and show significant progress on academic testing. If something wasn't producing any results, like the whole child concept, they'd discard it. But I think we all know that academic achievement is not their real goal. Their real goal is to change a nation that they do not like.
The nation the left does not like is The United States of America as it was founded. As our founding father Thomas Jefferson said "To take from one... in order to spare to others.... is to violate arbitrarily the 1st principal of association,'to guarantee to everyone a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it'." That is the vision of our founding fathers. Freedom to enjoy the fruits of your labor and to pursue your own happiness. The founding principal of private property that built a free and prosperous nation.If you wanted to share some of what you had with someone else you chose who that person was. The left has another vision that they are bent on teaching the children of this nation and I think we all know that is what all this massive amount of change is really about.
You need go no further than the new "Family Resource Centers" that are being proposed to find the socialist vision. These centers will be open from 3:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon and will do everything from teaching nutrition and parenting to teaching people how to fill out a job application- they want these in the schools. Schools are for mental health counseling and nutrition and sex education and community service. The new Common Core Standards out of Washington and approved by the Montana Board of Education (though most of them are not even written) , will go back to the 60's free school ideas.They tout their four c's (communication, connectivity, creativity and collaboration). The old cooperative learning model is seen in the collaboration and communication, and whole language in connectivity. You see, this isn't really change at all, this is just the same old tired ideas that have never worked being trotted out once again with new names. The idea is that we all learn to work together and become comfortable with a socialist vision which tries to make utopia.
In order to accommodate the 4c's the curriculum is being dumbed down yet again. Place value will only be taught to the thousands instead of the millions. Funny, with our national debt now in the trillions, students won't even be able to read the numbers! But none of this is really funny. Collaboration is taking away the students right to learn independently and the teachers right to teach independently. Connectivity is and will take away the integrity of curriculum areas. Literature will have to be taught to accommodate History (there goes science fiction and detective adventure) and History to accommodate literature (I guess you can only teach history as fast as kids can read literature about it- you don't really have to cover all of history do you? Just strategically select some history).
Change is always happening in this world and some of it is bad and some of it is good, just please don't tell me I'm backward and ignorant because I believe education is for good academic teaching and I love my country the way it is - freedom and the right of every person to pursue their own happiness with their own private property.