105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
January 13, 2007
Professor Allen Quist will speak on this
subject at the
Coalition national education conference in St. Louis on Friday
afternoon, January 28, 2007. Call
314-878-4357 for details.]
Marc Tucker's New
December 14, 2006, Marc Tucker released his new education proposal,
Tough Choices or Tough Times. His plan reads like a bad novel. It
is mostly rhetoric, and the claims he makes are fantasy-land variety. If
America adopts his plan, according to Tucker, the following will happen:
No one will fail, he says; and, we can send almost everyone to college
and have them do well there, Tucker insists; and 95% of our students
will [be qualified for college], according to Tucker. Such wild
claims are not only unreasonable, they are bizarre. Any experienced
teacher knows they are utopian, at best. And does Tucker offer any real
evidence his plan can improve education? He does not.
By Allen Quist
Tucker up to? When reading his proposal, it becomes evident that Tucker
has bigger things in mind than merely helping kids learn. The heart and
center of his master plan is stated on page 1, paragraph 1, of his
Summary. Tucker there says that to compete in the world economy, the
United States must adopt internationally benchmarked standards for
educating its students and workers.
Internationally Benchmarked Standards
Education standards mean curriculum standards, also called content
standards. What would occur if our nation were to adopt international
education standards? It would mean that the United Nations decides what
our children will learn. Stated another way, it means the UN will
determine what our children will be taught, including specifying the
attitudes, values and worldview. Most every government has its own
education system. The Tucker proposal transforms our education system
into what is essentially a UN government system.
succeed in selling his radical system? He may. He is counting on business
to help sell the proposal. Many of them will see the plan as a way of
certifying the same basic job skills for all the workers of the world
with the training done at taxpayer expense, no less. This way businesses
can move skilled workers around the world the same way they move
minerals, oil and technology.
Tucker's new proposal, like his earlier one, also makes all education
vocational (Karl Marx saw education the same way). But will it work to
reduce education to being good for vocation only, to define education
merely as the provider of human resources for business? It will not.
Kids will figure out that their worth is being measured in terms of being
assets for large corporations. They will see that they have been reduced
to being cogs on impersonal economic wheels.
What Does It Mean To Be Human?
haven't viewed vocational programs this way up to now. Why will it
change? The reason it will change is that kids have had the freedom in
high school to choose either a vocational or a college-bound track. They
have been free to experiment, to try different things. Some in each track
change their minds and switched over to the other. That is as it should
be. Under Tucker's proposal, however, students who don't pass the 10th
grade test have no choice. They cannot go on to college. The door is
closed. No one will be educated beyond his or her station in life. Doing
so is seen as a waste of resources. Student freedom will be severely
limited, and Tucker's statement that 95% will pass doesn't help, because
fantasy offers no real solutions.
Tucker's plan even college is viewed as strictly vocational; college just
prepares one for different vocations. Tucker's plan won't work because it
severely limits our freedom and it defines people's worth only in terms
of dollars and cents, the utilitarian philosophy of education. Kids are
reduced to being resources whose lives will be directed by someone else.
Kids will realize the whole philosophy of education has changed, they have
become objects. Kids intuitively know they were made to be much more than
have other aspirations: aspirations like marriage and family, aspirations
like hobbies and entertainment, aspirations like understanding themselves
and the world in which they live, aspirations like music, art and
athletics, aspirations like freedom, aspirations like being loyal
Americans, like serving in the military, like being good citizens and
being good neighbors to those less fortunate. Kids have aspirations of
what it means to be human. Tucker doesn't understand that. He wants to
control people the same way we control iron and coal.
need to build on our strengths, not destroy them. The strength of our
economic and education systems has been the degree to which they have
been free, thus providing the opportunities for people to be innovative
and creative .You can't have freedom and innovation and reduce people to
being controlled objects at the same time. Why doesn't the Marxist view
of education work? It treats people as being less than human.
The Next Big Step from NCLB
earlier proposal in 1990, which he admits didn't work, provided the
framework for this new plan. That proposal was largely put into effect in
the Goals 2000/School-To-Work Acts passed by Congress in 1994.
School-to-work spawned the requirement that students be put in a
career track by
8th grade. Goals 2000 shifted the decision-making authority for
school content away from local school districts and states over to the
federal government. It did so by establishing a de facto federal
curriculum known as the national education standards. These
national standards were actually a national curriculum. (See the
Fed Ed: The New Federal Curriculum and How Its
For a detailed description of how the national standards have severely
damaged our education program, see the authors work
America's Schools: The Battleground
for Freedom, EdWatch, 2005.)
No Child Left
solidified the federal government's role in controlling the schools
academic program. It did so by (1) requiring all states to adopt state
curriculum standards (which are mostly based on the Federal Curriculum),
(2) requiring schools to eliminate achievement differences measured by
adequate yearly progress (AYP), an impossible Marxist objective, and
(3) requiring that the NAEP (National Assessment of Education Progress)
be given in all states to ensure that states don't deviate from the fed's
lead. (The NAEP is based on the Federal Curriculum.)
education radicals complained, however, insisting that states still had
too much leeway in defining their academic program. Not any more. That
already-limited freedom disappears under Tucker's new proposal because it
transfers the education-content authority away from local schools and states
and away from the federal government over to the United Nations.
Decision-making authority takes another giant step away from the parents
and local communities. The education branch of the UN (UNESCO) has
already been writing curriculum and has begun to write textbooks, much of
it taking place under the UN's education program known as
What content will the United Nations decide must be taught? The UN has
already made the content of its international standards perfectly clear.
Required content will include education for sustainable development, as
defined by its Earth
Charter, which includes abortion rights, gay marriage, indoctrination
in Pantheism, universal disarmament, income redistribution between
nations, and advocacy of all the UN environmental treaties, to identify
just a few of its doctrines.
required content will also include its
Declaration of Human Rights which says that people have no
inalienable rights but have only those rights the UN says they have.
(This is the same view of human rights as that of Castro's Cuba.)
This UN document also clarifies that education must promote the UN and
all its activities and says that the UN is the highest court of appeals
on all human rights issues, higher even than our own Supreme Court. The
UNs required content will also include the dictates of its Treaty on the
Rights of the Child which says that parents have no right to decide what
their children will be taught. That right will now belong to the UN.
The New Plan of the Same Old Gang
Who is Marc
Tucker? He founded the
National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE), a prime force
behind the 1994 federal
education plan, which culminated in the 2002
Left Behind Act. In 1992, Tucker described his plan as a
"human resources development system for the United States" that
"extends from cradle to grave." (This is the same view of
education as that held by Karl Marx.)
are the Tucker supporters for this radical plan? They are the same old
gang that gave us Goals 2000 and School-to-Work: former Michigan Governor,
John Engler; former Clinton Secretary of Education, Richard Riley; former
Clinton Under-secretary of Education, Michael Cohen; former Carter
Secretary of Labor, Ray Marshall; and Fordham Foundation President,
Chester Finn to name a few.
does Tucker propose to accomplish this massive shift of political power?
Tucker's cost estimate for his plan is as ludicrous as the claims he
makes for it. He says it will cost $7.8 billion per year more than we are
now paying. That estimate assumes that his goals, such as having 95% of
students perform so well they will succeed in college, actually happen.
If his fanciful objectives do not occur, the cost of the plan mushrooms
to $75 billion per year (EdWatch estimate).
- 1. Eliminate local school boards.
- 2. Shift teacher's employment and
compensation from local boards to the state.
- 3. Require that students pass 10th
grade tests, based on UN content standards, in order to be free to
continue in a school.
- 4. Make free college preparatory
education (based on UN content standards) available for all present
- 5. Establish universal pre-school for
all children (even though scientific research reveals that pre-school has
no academic benefit past 3rd grade. Other programs are inserting the UN's
curriculum into pre-school education, as well as child care).
- 6. Create regional development
authorities that will plan economic development as well as education in
areas larger than states. These authorities will be given the power to
tax and will take over what little authority the states have left.
- 7. Have states take over teacher
training which can be expected to require teachers to follow the UN value
system. (Private colleges that train teachers will be out of luck.
Private colleges will also lose their right to determine who may attend
their colleges and who may not, because admission requirements will be
dictated by, and measured by, the government.)
- 8. Establish merit-pay for teachers who
best meet the goals of the plan.
Giving Away our Freedom
Tucker's plan is the next big step. All of education will be geared to
international standards. That means the UN sets the standards. Since
the tests are geared to the standards, the UN will also dictate the
content of the tests. Do teachers teach to the test? Yes they do,
especially when they are paid more when students conform to the
international curriculum. Tucker puts it this way, the old saw that what
gets measured is what gets taught is essentially true.
adds that the course syllabi (content) and the content of any private
tests need to be controlled too. His new system dictates to teachers and
schools what they shall teach, and test makers, including states, are
told what they shall test. In addition, the states will be told what they
must teach the teachers. It will be one unified, controlled,
monolithic, worldwide education system.
The Tucker initiative claims to be about education, and in a sense it is;
but it is more about control. The plan is all about the question of who
will run our schools. Under the Tucker plan, business becomes the
customer and the UN sets the production standards and directs the show.
How about the rest of us? We are the worker bees, the drones who get to
provide the resources so the queen can exude her royal jelly.
Allen Quist is adjunct professor at Bethany Lutheran College in
Mankato, Minnesota. He served three terms in the Minnesota legislature
and has authored three books on education:
Web , Fed Ed: The
New Federal Curriculum and How Its Enforced, and
America's Schools: The
Battleground for Freedom
105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
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