the slightest bit of legislative discussion in either chamber, the Obama
administration quietly slipped $4.35 billion of education funding into the
stimulus ("porkulus") bill passed last year for a program called Race to the
the nearly one trillion dollars spent for the stimulus as well as the trillions
spent or proposed for the federal budget, health care, and cap and trade
legislation one might reasonably wonder why a few billion dollars for more
federal education spending is any big deal.
The answer is that federal government is using this program to bribe
states to accept even more federal control of education, a constitutionally and
traditionally state function. This
dangerous trend of more federal control of education was greatly accelerated by
the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. However because of the intense opposition engendered by NCLB from all
points on the political spectrum and the difficulty that the Obama
administration has run into trying to implement its expansive and statist
domestic agenda, RTTT is accomplishing more of that same federal control without
having to go through the messy process of reauthorizing the controversial NCLB.
Components of Race to the Top
Race to the Top has several components, but there are
several that are extremely dangerous for state sovereignty in education,
parental rights to control the raising and education of our children, and
1. Education Reform that Requires National Standards - The
absolute requirement of RTTT is that states must adopt national standards. Forty-eight of the fifty states, with Alaska
and Texas being the only exceptions, have signed on to the Common Core
Standards Initiative. This initiative is
funded and promoted by the National Governors' Association (NGA) and the
Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
They are developing common core standards in math and English that are
Although touted as "state-led" and "voluntary," all of these
severely cash-strapped states (41 as of the January 19th deadline)
that hope to receive RTTT funds MUST adopt these standards (national curriculum). Part of the competitive application process
requires states to show the largest number of school districts agreeing to take
on these national/international standards. That is not voluntary. Rather, depending on one's point of view, it
is either bribery or economic and ideological blackmail.
It is also important to note that these same two ostensibly
state government-associated groups (NGA and CCSSO) developing RTTT also
produced America 2000 under the Bush 41 administration that morphed into Goals
2000 in 1994 under President Clinton.
Goals 2000 and that year's reauthorization of the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act combined for the first time to require that states and
school districts comply with federal standards listed in Goals 2000 in order to
receive federal education dollars. Those
standards include expanding government schooling into the preschool years and a
much greater emphasis on the mental health or social and emotional aspects.
Many would rightly deem this psychosocial meddling indoctrination, instead of
what parents want and expect as the traditional academic aspects of education -
reading, math, history and civics.
In fact, as explained by Professor Allen Quist, the only
comprehensive "internationally benchmarked" standards are those produced by the UN's educational
and cultural arm UNESCO and the International Baccalaureate Organization
(IBO). These standards will promote the
documents and principles of the United Nations over those of the United States:
American schools used to teach the
fundamental values of the United States--including the
inalienable, God-given rights of life, liberty and property, as guaranteed by
our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Not any more. Now our
students will be indoctrinated in the UN's definition of human rights. As
clarified by the UN's UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights], our rights
now may not "be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the
United Nations" (Art 29:3). Our children will be taught that they have
only those rights the UN says they have.
The UNESCO standards also include the UN's Earth Charter, which further defines
internationally benchmarked standards. The Charter says these standards must
entail what it calls "sustainability education" (Art 14:b). The
Charter explains that "sustainability education" entails the
"promotion of the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and
among nations" (Art. 10:a), nuclear disarmament (Art. 16:d), gay marriage
(Art. 12:a), legalized abortion (Art. 7:e), adoption of an "international
legally binding instrument on environment" (The way Forward), and
indoctrination in pantheism (Art. 14d and Art. 16:f).
All of these harmful trends were accelerated under NCLB, but
still there was the veneer of state developed and written standards and
assessments. With RTTT, all veneer of state and local control of education will
This concern is echoed by Texas
education analyst and activist Donna Garner in an Austin American Statesman
The media has reported that 130 people have signed up to
testify to the SBOE about the Social Studies standards. I ask you: "Just where
would common, everyday people
go to testify about national standards?"
"Just where would parents go
to complain if their son or daughter came home from school after having been
taught some outrageously biased and/or erroneous curricula built upon the
2. Promoting Preschool - One of the "invitational" priorities of RTTT is "enhancing
the quality of preschool programs." The US Department of Education information
states that there is particular priority on "practices that improve school
readiness (including social, emotional, and cognitive)..." This shows the
continued efforts of the federal government to implement Goals 2000 that promotes
both preschool and the socioemotional (mental health) aspects of education as
It is bad enough that the federal
government is inserting itself into K-12 education outside of its
constitutional purview, but subverting and supplanting the parental role in the
care and education of young children in the name of making them "ready to
learn" nanny state government principles before they even enter school is
appalling. This indoctrination includes using
federal Head Start and state preschool standards to turn impressionable
children into activists for the radical environmental
and homosexual agendas to name just two.
There is no evidence of academic
effectiveness of preschool or daycare.
The federal Head Start program just released the results of yet
another taxpayer-funded study (of more than 600) showing that the 45-year-old
program has no lasting results by the time enrollees reach the first
Not only are these programs
ineffective while being expensive, there is strong
evidence of academic and emotional harm as manifested by lower test scores
and emotional and behavioral problems compared to children raised at home.
3. Longitudinal Data System - Another "invitational" priority of RTTT is further developing,
adapting, and integrating longitudinal data systems. The federal Department of Education wants
data on every aspect of a child's school life beginning in preschool. This includes:
programs, English language learner programs, early childhood programs, at-risk
and dropout prevention programs, and school climate and culture programs, as
well as information on student mobility, human resources (i.e., information on
teachers, principals, and other staff), school finance, student health,
postsecondary education, and other relevant areas..."
This has been opposed by the teachers unions
who do not want to be accountable for the results of their teaching and by conservative
groups and Republicans due to privacy and other concerns.
4. Cradle to College Control -This
last priority integrates all of the concerns described so far. It is the coordination and alignment of every
program affecting every aspect of life and work for all citizens. The federal government wants to control our
children's lives from "early childhood programs, K-12 schools, postsecondary
institutions, workforce development organizations, and other State agencies and
community partners (e.g., child welfare, juvenile justice, and criminal justice
agencies) [so that the government] will coordinate to improve all parts of the
education system and create a more seamless preschool-through-graduate school
(P-20) route for students."
Sadly, despite the many
problems with RTTT, far too many otherwise constitutionally minded and
levelheaded governors, state legislators, and members of Congress have blindly
signed on to support this dangerous program.
This support is apparently due to the severe fiscal problems that most
states are facing due to the recession and profligate deficit spending as well
as the token nod to more conservative education ideas like charter
schools. Hopefully, with the public
becoming increasingly and actively disenchanted with out of control government
spending, regulation, and intrusion, officials from all points on the political
spectrum will wake up and reject the statist education proposals in RTTT. States need to assume the rightful place of
control and authority over education policy and spending. This assault on local control and state
sovereignty as well as the indoctrination of our children in principles that
are intrusive, harmful, and anti-American should be making opposition to RTTT
an issue in every state legislative, gubernatorial and congressional election
contest in the nation.