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Happy 15th Anniversary, hubs.
Thanks for the flowers. They are beautiful. See you in a couple more months.
The following is my rewording, summarizing, and annotating of a section of the proposed education bill S. 1094. My version is better, but if you must see the original text, it’s here.
Strengthening America’s Schools Act
Title I: College and Career Readiness For All Students
Sec. 1001: The purpose of Title I. The purpose of this new Title I is ensure every child has a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to get a high-quality education. That was the purpose of the 1965 education law’s Title I too, but that law didn’t quite reach the goal. So we’re just tweaking it now. Totally gonna get it right this time. After we pass this law, education is going to be All Fixed. Really.
The old law listed 12 ways to accomplish our totally immeasurable and unobtainable goal.
#1 was all about making sure state standards were challenging and making sure the parents, teachers, and administrators were able to measure progress.
Our new #1 way to accomplish Title I’s purpose:
“setting high expectations for children to develop deep content knowledge and the ability to use knowledge to think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, and collaborate with others, in order to graduate, from high school, college and career ready;”
Isn’t that new language much better? Magic phrases like “deep content knowledge” will definitely help students be college and career ready. And the best part? Did you notice who will be setting those high expectations? We didn’t say it outright; perhaps it’s better left unsaid. But this is a federal law, so unless stated otherwise it will be administered at the federal level. Those dumb states, local administrators, teachers ,and parents have had since 1965 after all, and they just aren’t accomplishing the unaccomplishable like we can.
Our new #2 way to accomplish Title I’s purpose:
“supporting high-quality teaching to continuously improve instruction and encourage new models of teaching and learning;”
The old #2 was about focusing on the students who have the highest need. We’ll cover that in #4. The new #2 will hopefully fool you into thinking we want high-quality teachers, when all we really care about is coming up with new-fangled ways to teach. See how we cleverly assumed that encouraging something new is de facto going to support high-quality teaching? Because the newest way is always the best way!
We still like the old #3 way to accomplish our educational goals: closing achievement gaps. So we’re keeping the idea and just rewording it.
The old #4 was all about holding States, local school authorities, and schools accountable for education. Obviously, all that nonsense had to go. We don’t want to hold them accountable anymore, because we want to take over education at the federal level.
Our new #4 is where we provide additional support to those students who have the highest need.
The old #5 was about providing additional support to the schools and local authorities that need it most. We don’t want to bother with those middlemen anymore. We just want to aim our federal laser-like focus directly on the children now.
We want to direct that focus as soon as possible, so here is the New and Improved #5 way to ensure a great education for all:
“providing young children with greater access to high-quality early learning experiences to ensure they enter school ready to learn;”
High quality early learning!
The old #6 and #7 were more song and dance about making states accountable for student achievement, and even worse: providing greater decision-making authority and flexibility to schools and teachers in exchange for greater responsibility for student performance.
How very 1965. Deleted!
In the modern era, we are all about removing barriers. Doesn’t that sound better than boring, old-fashioned accountability and authority?
“removing barriers to, and encouraging state and local innovation and leadership in, education based on the evaluation of success and continuous improvement.”
“removing barriers and promoting integration across all levels of education. . . .”
“Promoting integration” sounds much nicer than “federal takeover,” doesn’t it?
The old #8 was about enriching and increasing quality instruction time. Whatevs, we covered all that with our magical “deep content knowledge.”
So we had to come up with something new. What’s better than removing barriers, we asked ourselves? Of course! Streamlining!
“streamlining Federal requirements to reduce burdens on States, local educational agencies, schools, and educators;”
So, we kind of let the cat out of the bag by admitting that Federal requirements tend to be a burden. But we’re totally fixing all that No Child Left Behind bureaucratic mess with an even bigger bureaucracy of our own!
The old #9 used the phrase “scientifically based instructional strategies.” That phrase has got to go, what with the way we’ve foisted an untested Common Core on most states. Science, shmience.
“strengthening parental engagement and coordination of student, family, and community supports to promote student success.”
Our ninth and last way to accomplish our education goals is based on the #12 way from 1965. Numbers 10 and 11 were just some fluff about professional development and coordinating services. Since we’ve already explained that we want to promote integration of all levels, coordination is a moot point. Mostly we are just hoping you don’t know that integration means combining different parts into a single (federally controlled) entity.
Whew! Well that was fun, but I’m never going to get anywhere on this bill if I keep fisking like this. I’ll try to make more efficient progress next time.
My homeschool peeps alerted me to a New Bill in the Senate. It is purported to be a Big Bad Bill that creates a new (and bad, but I repeat myself) National School Board.
It appears that federal meddling into the local issue of education came to fruition with an “Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.” I have no idea what that law entailed.
The next big thing to hit the federal landscape was Dubya’s No Child Left Behind. Which. Can I just say? That is every bit as Orwellian doublespeak of a title as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
So then Obama topped Dubya’s concern for the children with his own “Race to the Top” law embedded in the Stimulus Package of 2009. This law incentivized the adoption of Common Core.
Now, we have step four (or maybe step four thousand nine hundred eighty-four, if considering the Gramscian March approach to politics) in the transformation of education from a local issue to a federally overseen “right.”
All I’ve done in this post is digest and regurgitate the table of contents of this proposed law. Pretty thick stuff, even so. Further translation of this bill will follow in later posts.
Without further ado, I introduce to you the table of contents for this education bill, as annotated by yours truly:
- Short title
- Table of contents
- Effective dates
- Table of contents of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
- Authorization of appropriations
Section 1. Short Title.
This act may be cited as the “Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013.” (Because the title “Finishing Off That Pesky American Exceptionalism” would be too obvious.)
Section 2. Table of Contents.
Title I–College and Career Readiness For All Students (you do want your children to be ready for college and career . . . don’t you?)
- Part A of Title I–Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged (Sect 1111-1126–you do want the disadvantaged to achieve academics . . . don’t you?)
- Part B of Title I–Pathways to College
- Part C of Title I–Education of Migratory Children
- Part D of Title I–Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children . . . Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk
- Part E–Educational Stability of Children in Foster Care
- Part F–General Provisions
Title II–Supporting Teacher and Principal Excellence (you do support excellent teachers and principals . . . .don’t you?)
Title III–Language and Academic Content Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students
Title IV–Supporting Successful, Well-Rounded Students (you do want well-rounded students, don’t you?) Sect 4101 thru 4111–(increasing access is good, and you are feeling very sleepy)
Title V–Promoting Innovation (you do promote innovation, don’t you?)
- Part A–Race to the Top
- Part B–Investing in Innovation
- Part C–Magnet School Assistance
- Part D–Public Charter Schools
- Part E–Voluntary Public School Choice
Title VI–Promoting Flexibility; Rural Education
Title VII–Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education
- Part A–Indian Education
- subpart 1–formula grants to local educational agencies
- subpart 2–special programs and projects
- subpart 3–national activities
- subpart 4–federal administration
- subpart 5–definitions & authorization of appropriations
- Part B–Native Hawaiian Education; Alaska Native education
- subparts 1 & 2–mindnumbingly boring details
Title VIII–Impact Aid
Title IX–General Provisions
Sec 9101. Definitions
Sec 9102. Unsafe school choice option.
Sec 9103. Evaluation Authority.
Sec. 9104. Conforming amendments.
Title X–Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools
Sec. 10011. Short title
A bunch more tedious sections . . .
Title XI–Amendments to Other Laws; Miscellaneous Provisions
- Part A–Amendments to other Laws
- Part B–Misc. Provisions
Section 3. References.
Unless otherwise stated, references of repeal are assumed to apply to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 USC 6301).
Section 4. Transition.
a) Multi-Year Awards. If you are a recipient of a multi-year award under the old 1965 law, you shall continue to receive those funds until Sept. 30, 2014, then it’s tough luck, unless you get a “flexibility waiver,” but only if it was granted before enactment of this here new school-strengthening bill, and only for as long as the original waiver period.
b) Planning and Transition. If you get funds under the 1965 law prior to this new bill’s enactment, you can use it towards implementation of this here new school-strengthening bill if you like. We are magnanimous that way.
c) Orderly Transition. The Secretary of Education will make sure things are orderly.
Section 5. Effective Dates.
a) In General. This bill is effective law upon date of enactment, unless otherwise stated.
b) Noncompetitive Programs. For these programs, this new bill will take effect July 1, 2013. Because retro-active is all the rage.
c) Competitive Programs. For these programs, this new bill will take effect fiscal-year 2014.
d) Impact Aid. For stuff done under Title VIII, this new bill will take effect fiscal-year 2014.
Section 6. Table of Contents of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
Section 2 of the 1965 Act is amended by sticking Title I thru Title IX of this new bill into it.
Section 7. Authorization of Appropriations.
The old 1965 Act is amended by inserting the following after sec. 2: “sec 3. Authorizations of Appropriations: The money needed to carry out Title I, part A (except for sec. 1116(g), 1125A, 1132, & subpart 4 of part A) for fiscal year (fy) 2014 and the next 4 fy can be appropriated.
Also, the Secretary of Education can reserve 2% of appropriations for national activities described in sec. 1116(f)(6).
Also, funds can be appropriated for the administration of State assessments under the National Assessment of Educational Progress, for fy 2014 and the next 4 fy.
Also, funds can be appropriated for part B, C, and D of Title I, for fy 2014 and the next 4 fy.
Also, there are about 7 more pages about how appropriations are authorized, and I cannot continue to slog thru them.
Did you hear about the Democrats praying for abortion in Iowa? Usually, when one hears the words “prayer” and “abortion” in the same sentence, it means some horrible, no-good pro-life group is violating a woman’s reproductive rights by showing her hard facts in at least a fleeting manner as she enters an abortion clinic.
Not this time. This was an actual prayer to an actual deity, actually asking for supernatural help to keep those abortion mills grinding.
Byron York explains that the prayer was given by Midge Slater, an organizer for Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans, which is part of the Iowa Federation of Labor and the AFL-CIO. The full text and video is at the link. For those that don’t want to chew on the whole blasphemous enchilada, here are some highlights:
“There are some who would . . . perpetuate an ongoing blockade of women’s right to safe reproductive health care.
We want to . . . ask your guidance to keep and protect the goodness that we are capable of. Lord, we gather today to address that violation of justice and to offer prayers for those who have been caught in this political posturing.”
“We give thanks, O Lord, for the doctors, both current and future, who provide quality abortion care. . . .”
“We pray for women who have been made afraid of their own power by their paternalistic religion. . . .
Today, we pray that all women will know that they are created in the image of God — good and holy, moral and wise.”
“Today, we pray for a continuous love to overflow from our spirits, and we give thanks and celebrate that abortion is still safe and legal.
And finally, O Lord, we pray . . . that we never forget the passion and commitment we feel today, inspired by our understanding of Your message: “Dance, dance, wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the Dance, said she. And I lead you all, wherever you may be, and I lead you all in the dance, said she.” [bolding mine]
Sooper Mexican already picked up on the pagan vibe: “these are words used in prayer . . . to thank the female goddess for the sacrament of killing babies in the womb.”
But the thing that really stuck out for me was that bravo sierra about the ”Lord of the Dance.” Where did Ms. Slater get that? Does it have anything to do with Michael Flatley?
Mercifully, it does not.
Turns out, “Lord of the Dance” was a song originally written in 1963 by Sydney Carter as a Christian hymn. While the lyrics are new-age-y, the references to Bethlehem, the crucifixion, and the resurrection are plain.
But that’s not the end of the story. Apparently, members of the New Revised Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn (!) adopted the song and adjusted the lyrics. Given the song’s new-age feel, it’s no surprise that wiccans would like it.
I wonder. To which version of the song was Ms. Slater referring? Notice how she referred to the ”Lord” as “she.”
First of all, whoops: the Lord of the Dance is a male, even in the wiccan version. However, we are all familiar with the way wiccans focus on the feminine–all the Gaia Goddess Earth stuff. Notice, too, Ms. Slater’s elevation of female and the denigration of male in the bolded portions above.
Obviously, I don’t know what religion Midge Slater practices. I’m certainly not claiming she participates in pagan rituals, forms a magic circle, or attempts to invoke the power of gods or goddesses.
But even if by accident, doesn’t her prayer sound curiously wiccan?
Serious You Guys.
Awfully fitting for this “prayer” to sound as though it is directed to the Devil himself. What with it being a prayer for millions to die, and all.
UPDATE: Just Turn Right had a good post on this “abortion prayer” three whole days ago: “This is either a blatant sacrilege, or one of the most profound misunderstandings of God’s teachings I’ve ever heard.” Oh dear. Now I’ll start mulling over the question of whether this is an example of ignorance or calculation. Mercy!
I may not have my husband around to appreciate me, but by golly I’ve done enough to get noticed.
Yes. I am working hard, oh gods of the carry out. Thank you for noticing! Also, I’m hoping that a sacrifice of uneaten egg rolls and wonton chips will please you, because the leftover chicken will make a great lunch tomorrow.
So here we are, starting school again already.
Um, where did the summer go?
Happily, a new school year isn’t such a big deal, for the first time in, well . . . I guess ever. Let’s see . . . last year was our first in Tampa, and also our first without a State Approved Curriculum. The year before was our first and only in Kansas, and also our first year homeschooling. Before that was a new school in Norfolk because our prior school closed unexpectedly. This was Older Son’s third grade year, a.k.a. the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.
Before then was Older Son’s second grade year, which not terrible or horrible but still a big deal because it was a new school in a new country. Kindergarten and first grade were accomplished in a rural Church of England primary school, where problems abounded but were too easily chalked up to cultural differences and the sleep apnea Older Son suffered until we finally noticed that his overgrown adenoids were making him snore like an old man.
A quick recap certainly reminds me why I’m wound so tight.
The realization that Younger Son is starting third grade is a revelation, too. This was the very year it went so dreadfully pear-shaped for Older Son. Ach, the burden of being first-born. He seemed so grown-up, that third grader. Now, his little brother is the third grader, and he doesn’t seem grown up at all.
The good news is, I have realized that one must teach from a single core curriculum, if one is using Sonlight. I am amazed that we slogged through as much as we did last year, using two curricula simultaneously. Sorry, boys.
The other good news is, I am Taking Charge of Sixth Grade Math.
At least, I think that is good news.
After two years of Following Other People’s Plans For Math whilst simultaneously Listening To My Child Whine Nonstop About Math, I’m pretty sure I can’t do worse. Especially since this is a key year before teaching algebra is expected.
The whole idea of teaching without a guidebook is purty dang intimidating, but hell. I know how to ingest a large body of information. I have a graduate degree to prove it. I’ve been going round and round with my child over math for a while now, and I’ve noticed some repetition. It goes something like this: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. Add new twist, then learn to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. And new concept, then learn to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Et Cetera, Ad Nauseum.
Throw a few weeks in between concepts, and watch as your child miraculously acts as though he has never ever encountered the idea of adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing ever before in his life.
Well, not this year. We are going to commit each rule to memory before we move forward. There will be no distracting memorization of graph or geometry terminology. There will be complete memorization of things like:
- Commutative, Associative, and Distributive Properties
- Order of Operations
- Prime Factorization
- Using Lowest Common Multiple
- Using Greatest Common Factor
- Converting from Fraction to Decimal to Percentage
- Proportions and Ratios
- Mean, Median, Mode and Range
- Negative Numbers
And that’s pretty much it. Isn’t it? Am I missing something? Or is sixth grade math really this simple?
(P.S. I am only asking “Old School” people these questions. Any “New School” a.k.a. Common Core adherents need not reply.)
UPDATE: Instalanche! Whew. You ‘pundit readers know a lot about math. The highlights of what I’ve learned so far:
1. Saxon is the most recommended math curriculum.
2. Don’t neglect word problems!
3. Complete mastery of long division, fractions, and negative numbers is a must.
4. Many commenters confirmed my intuition about complete memorization before moving forward. This is comforting.
5. Some people teach their 5th graders calculus. This is intimidating.
Finally, I want to share a great comment from over at Instapundit:
I’m no elementary teacher, but I’ve taught some remedial math to people struggling with water treatment courses, which are engineering heavy. I can say this with 100% confidence. That bull crap about avoiding repetition is terribly destructive. If a kid doesn’t know the multiplication table so it is almost autonomic, he/she is fighting with one arm tied when they tackle algebraic problems. Trying to teach advanced math before a kid is automatic in basic math functions is like building a house without laying the foundation first.
Thanks all of you for your advice and encouragement! You’ve helped me feel that we are on the right track. Or, at least, we are not yet too far in the weeds.