Twelve years ago the Maple River Education Coalition was born around the center island in my kitchen. Today I am announcing that EdWatch is closing its doors. We do this with a deep sense of accomplishment and a conviction that, while the work is never complete, the time for this change is right. Let me give you a bit of background.
We came into being in 1998 over the statewide outrage about Minnesota's radical new education system, the Profile of Learning. Colleen Wogen, Julie Quist and I called the first meeting to order and elected each other officers. We had no idea that our newly established educational non-profit would not only go state-wide, but that five years later, under the name EdWatch, it would go national. There were years when the hits to our website would exceed a million. EdWatch has stood as an advocate for children, parents and teachers and always has been on the cutting edge of educational research and information.
Shortly after incorporating, Michael Chapman and Dr. Karen Effrem would join our board along with Ed Lethert and John Scribante. A few years later, David Thompson would become our executive director and we would add Dave Thompson (not the same David Thompson) and Larry Pratt to our board. Sue Peterson and Dave Jones would join as well.
For the last four years Julie, Karen, Mike, Dave Thompson, Dave Jones, Larry, and I have worked hard in the midst of many challenges to maintain the excellence for which EdWatch has been known. I don't think we ever let you down. However, as the peril to our nation has increased, and because the battleground is much broader today than when EdWatch was created, we have each been called to other, expanded areas of duty. Many of us now serve under or are publically-elected officials, or we are lobbyists, writers, speakers or everything mentioned. We sense the urgency of the hour in which we live. For this reason we have chosen to bring the corporation to a close to concentrate on our individual responsibilities to this nation.
Please accept our deepest thanks to our past board members, many volunteers, staff, and faithful financial supporters. EdWatch has been a gift and a remarkable journey that has touched numerous lives beyond education. Steadfast and powerful relationships have been forged with people we would otherwise never have met.
We accomplished much. They told us the Profile of Learning, once adopted, could never be repealed. They were wrong. We have been a bulwark against the ever-encroaching hand of government over the lives of our children by providing solid information, warnings, research and calls to act. Legislators, members of Congress, government staffers, and state/federal administrators have relied, spoken out, and acted on our material. We have published books, DVDs, and articles, posted, broadcast and been interviewed, as well as spoken at conferences around the country.
We boldly challenged the conventional wisdom regarding No Child Left Behind, International Baccalaureate, Early Childhood Education, School-to-Work, the federal curriculum, international education standards, education for world citizenship, earth-worshiping environmentalism, school mental screening and drugging, "comprehensive" sex education, Outcome Based Education, and a centralized federal workforce system. We reminded parents, teachers, and students that good education understands that truth exists and should first of all be about acquiring knowledge and understanding, not about inculcating government-approved values and beliefs.We knew and understood that American Exceptionalism is a foundation of our free nation. We promoted and taught the American Creed.
Fundamentally, EdWatch was about freedom. For everyone who desires to be free, this work will never be finished.
EdWatch's reputation has been and will remain sterling forever, as the name is retired as of December 31, 2010. Dr. Karen Effrem, with her excellent reputation in the areas of education, mental health, and early childhood development, is launching a new organization with much the same mission as EdWatch. That new organization is called Education Liberty Watch and the address is:
Education Liberty Watch
9601 Annapolis Lane North
Maple Grove, MN 55369
There is still much to be done as the threats to education liberty and liberty in general at every level continue. Stay tuned for how you may be able to be part of Karen's efforts beginning in January, 2011, as she continues the fight for freedom for the hearts and minds of children
It is with a sense of great honor and deep humility that, at the end of the day, EdWatch made a difference in the lives of many, many children, some of whom are now adults. Our work is not done. We all continue as watchmen on the wall and gatekeepers of a free society. May the Lord bless us all as we continue to stand as truth-seeking and freedom-loving Americans!
Renee T. Doyle,