Category Archives: The Nanny State

A Post List

I keep failing to link to my work over at the Da Tech Guy. So I’ve got quite the list.  As you will see, I am really stuck on the subject of education, but hey.  I’s kinda my raisin duh etra lately. I did throw in a little about food, and about introversion.

Dot Gov Sites for Children: We Make Propaganda Fun!

Our History, Gone Like a Dream of Yesterday

Common Core Standards:  The Measuring Stick with no Measurements

The Culmination of Progressive Education

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

The Post in Which the Introvert Navel-Gazes

Okay then, folks.  Click em and read em if you have the time and inclination.  I sure appreciate every single reader I get, now that I’m no longer as dependable nor sociable a blogger.





How to Ensure Every Child Gets a High-Quality Education: A Comparison

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?

New #6:

“removing barriers to, and encouraging state and local innovation and leadership in, education based on the evaluation of success and continuous improvement.”

New #7:

“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!

New #8:

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.

New #9:

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.

Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013

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:


To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.


  1. Short title
  2. Table of contents
  3. References
  4. Transition
  5. Effective dates
  6. Table of contents of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
  7. 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
  1. subpart 1–formula grants to local educational agencies
  2. subpart 2–special programs and projects
  3. subpart 3–national activities
  4. subpart 4–federal administration
  5. subpart 5–definitions & authorization of appropriations
  • Part B–Native Hawaiian Education; Alaska Native education
  1. 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.

Yuck, The Movie

A 4th grade kid wanted his parents to let him bring packed lunches to school.  The parents said no.  So the 4th grade kid violated school rules by secretly filming the meals he was served.  Then he showed his parents how reality compared to the fantasy menu posted at the Department of Education website.

He must have made an impression.  With the help of his dad, this 4th grade kid–Zachary Maxwell–has turned his footage into a documentary:  Yuck.

Of course, we’ve all known since before I was a 4th grader /cough cough! years ago/ that school lunches are generally mediocre at best.  But we also know that folks have spent lot of time, effort, and money at district, state, and federal levels in the past few years to Make It Better–nutritious, yummy, calorie-rationed food to nourish active, alert, non-obese children.

Word has got out about the sad reality of these Michelle-approved meals, here and there. However, we can’t expect the schools dependent on the National School Lunch Program to just get off their heroin federal money addiction overnight.

If the unwashed masses continue to reject what Nanny Government says is in Your Best Interest, whatever will the bureaucratic nannies do?

Ban bag lunches?

It has been proposed in England recently.  How many years do you figure are we behind Old Blighty on the progress of nanny statism?  And did anyone ever get around to slapping the hand of the North Carolina nanny that took a girl’s packed lunch away from her last year?

Anyway, this film is just dripping with Awesome Sauce, guys.  (PS. I found this movie via

UPDATE:  I’m having trouble embedding the video.  For now you’ll have to click on one of the links below.  Sorry!  If any of know a trick for embedding Vimeo stuff, let me know.


The Tragedy of The Commons, Children’s Edition

The whole “the kids don’t belong to you; they belong to the community” bit is just a less cagey way of saying “it takes a village,” so at least Melissa Harris-Perry gets points for honesty.

My favorite part of the “All Your Children Are Belong To Us” MSNBC Promo comes at the end:

“Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.”

I marvel at the sheer act of willful blindness required in order to believe such a complete load of male bovine manure.  I mean, let’s all apply this to our front yards, shall we, and then hold our breath while we wait for the neighbors to come mow ours?

You know, corporations are a kind of microcosm of the larger society.  Corporate-y type folks who make their living ensuring that a corporation “makes better investments” have noticed that the truth is exactly inverse to Ms. Harris-Perry’s statement:

When everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.

And haven’t the sociological/psychological types done study after study and pretty much come up with the same truth regarding human nature?

I wonder if Ms. Harris-Perry, being a good collectivist and all, would respect Garrett Hardin‘s belief that human overpopulation is a serious global threat?  If so, maybe she could also put some merit into his concept of The Tragedy of the Commons:

“In 1974 the general public got a graphic illustration of the “tragedy of the commons” in satellite photos of the earth. Pictures of northern Africa showed an irregular dark patch 390 square miles in area. Ground-level investigation revealed a fenced area inside of which there was plenty of grass. Outside, the ground cover had been devastated.

The explanation was simple. The fenced area was private property . . . .”

Yeah.  Let’s all ignore a truth so obvious that even a Malthusian human ecologist with totalitarian tendencies can see it, and let’s “break through” the private idea that kids belong to their parents.  Let’s engage in an experiment called The Tragedy of the Commonly Cared-for Children, because Miss MSNBC Lady says things’ll turn out just peachy.

Good grief.

I haven’t seen a more sure sign of the decline of our society since I first saw somebody pushing one of those dog strollers through the park.

Yeah, that's right.  I'm hating on the cute dog's stroller.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m hating on the cute dog’s stroller.

A Presidential Proclamation

As a public service, I thought I’d share one of the latest releases from the White House:  a presidential proclamation on National Stalking Awareness Month:

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2013 as National Stalking Awareness Month. I call upon all Americans to recognize the signs of stalking, acknowledge stalking as a serious crime, and urge those impacted not to be afraid to speak out or ask for help.”

Ha!  We are called upon to recognize the signs of stalking?  Duly recognized and noted.


If You Have a Problem, Consult 10th Newspeak Dictionary

Via The Corner at NRO, I’ve learned that “common core state standards in English spark a war over words.”  The Post article I’m quoting is currently a page not found, but it’s still up at The Independent:

“The Common Core State Standards in English, which have been adopted in 46 states and the District, call for public schools to ramp up nonfiction so that by 12th grade students will be reading mostly ‘informational text’ instead of fictional literature. . . .

Proponents of the new standards, including the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, say U.S. students have suffered from a diet of easy reading and lack the ability to digest complex nonfiction, including studies, reports and primary documents. That has left too many students unprepared for the rigors of college and demands of the workplace, experts say.”

A “diet of easy reading” is one of the big problems in schools these days.  Huh.  The problem’s nothing to do with the dog’s breakfast already known as public school textbooks.  Well never fear–we’ve got our Little Helpers In DC to straighten out the problem:

“The new standards, which are slowly rolling out now and will be in place by 2014, require that nonfiction texts represent 50 percent of reading assignments in elementary schools, and the requirement grows to 70 percent by grade 12.

Among the suggested nonfiction pieces for high school juniors and seniors are Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” “FedViews,” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (2009) and “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” published by the General Services Administration.”

Notice the little bit of chaff used to throw us off:  de Tocqueville.  Nothing wrong with a more vigorous curriculum that requires some classic foundations of political philosophy, is there?

Maybe I’d be sold, notwithstanding the fact that de Tocqueville belongs in history, social studies, or some kind of government or civics class, not english.  When the de Tocqueville example is immediately followed by stereo instructions from a Federal Reserve Bank, and then a bureaucratic, Dilbert-inspired double-speaking document full of fluffy non-action action plans and catch phrases (Caveat:  I haven’t read that particular executive order.  Does anybody want to check my description for accuracy?), I can’t help but wonder exactly what kind of “workplace demands” for which these educators are preparing our young people.

A particular movie scene comes to mind.  Requiring students to read excessive amounts of tedious legalese might prepare them quite nicely for that cozy little cubicle in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, as seen at 6:00:

crossposted at Disrupt the Narrative